Even the Skeptics Want Personal Attention

As we barrel toward a future where personalization extends to our wearable technology and our home appliances, there's always that nagging industry chatter about consumers who are holding out and unwilling to share personal data. As marketers, that population can seem like a stubborn, self-quarantined no-man's-land of anonymous hermits.

But a recent study by Accenture found that the privacy holdouts aren't actually that untouchable - they're after the same personalized shopping experiences that everyone else is getting. They might be wary, but they're still more than willing. Of those that expressed concern that their data was being tracked, 99 percent of that subset of consumers acknowledged that their personal data made it possible to experience customized interactions with a brand.

In fact, that same study indicated that doing business with brands that utilize personal data is a priority for 73 percent of consumers across the board. That means if you're not talking to your customer, sorting her data, offering her ideas based on prior purchases, remembering her birthday and contacting her through preferred channels, but your competitor is - you've lost her.

Customers, even the cautious ones, are looking for companies that can engage them because that personalized experience is vastly better than an anonymous, cookie-cutter transaction. Moreover, with preference management, you have the tools to both reach out and reassure customers on all comfort levels.

Preference management, the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication is not only the first step to learning more about your consumers, but the only way to create the experience they expect, whether they like to admit it or not. 

About the Author: 
Eric V. Holtzclaw is  Chief Strategist  of PossibleNOW. He's a researcher, writer, serial entrepreneur and challenger-of-conventional wisdom. His book with Wiley Publishing on consumer behavior - Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior - hit bookstores last summer. Eric helps strategically guide companies with the implementation of enterprise-wide preference management solutions.

Follow me on Twitter: @eholtzclaw | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Holtzclaw

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