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Making the Case for Preference Management: Moving From Discussion to Action

Preference Management Video Series

Are you at the point where senior leadership has recognized the need for better and more efficient customer engagement? Are they interested in a sophisticated preference management solution as a means of achieving that goal?

Let’s say they’re taking next steps like feasibility and cost studies, but it doesn’t pan out as planned. Maybe it’s too costly, maybe infrastructure is hampering progress. If the outcome is undesirable, try a different tack: Oftentimes moving the goalposts allows leadership to see the power of preference management in smaller, just as valuable ways. By creating manageable goals based on smaller initiatives, you allow decision-makers to see the achievements of preference management.

More modest proposals include offering opt-down functionality in email marketing, installing a website preference center, and expanding your preference collection with a limited starter program.

Would one of these tactics make it easier to earn organizational buy-in? We can help you make your case as best you can.






In the following weeks, we’ll continue to roll out videos to guide you through making the case for preference management. If you haven’t yet explored our Resource Center, you can download the Making the Case for Preference Management whitepaper here




Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace. 

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 

Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda

Avoiding Pandora’s Inbox

Ahhh, the email inbox. A modern marketer’s potential Pandora’s Box. The drive to personalize and grab a reader’s attention is par for the course when it comes to contacting consumers. But you’ve been there too – staring at the screen in disbelief at what’s come out of Pandora’s inbox. The subject line that screams: “Is this you? I hope so!”

Bieber Tickets Now on Sale!
Minivans Priced to Move!
BOGO Espadrilles!


In case you were wondering, I’m not interested in any of those emails, though I’m sure they were well-intentioned. Those cringe-worthy moments are brought to you by poorly crossed marketing wires. And the unfortunate attempts at one-to-one marketing aren't just a head-shake for those of us already focused on personalized communications, it's also a watershed moment in the customer's experience with the brand.

According to a recent Gigya survey, 67 percent of respondents unsubscribe from an email list after receiving irrelevant information. Equally frightening - 43 percent of consumers ignore future communications, and apparently 20 percent are so incensed that they stop buying products from the company entirely! That means a single wrong email can, in theory, lose you a swath of customers who dispense punishment by dispensing with you.

Preference management - the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication - is a proactive way to understand your customer's wants and needs, as well as whether they would be interested in emails about teething rings or not.

When you can communicate with your customers on a personalized basis, you're able to focus on sending out the emails that best relate your brand to that particular customer. That means fewer opt-outs, more sales, marketing bliss. 




Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace. 

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 

Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda

ICYMI: Preferences, Privacy and Personalization in the News


Facebook launched a way to solve the Internet's impossible problem: Taste

Simplified controls now allow customized homepages for Facebook users. The new changes to Facebook’s News Feed make it possible for users to prioritize updates from particular friends and Pages by using a cool called “See First.” The same tool allows users to de-prioritize content or put friends and page “on pause.” Click here to read more. 

Unhappy at Work? Swipe Right to Tell the Boss

Companies are flipping the script. In addition to using data from customers to improve companies, they’re utilizing apps to measure their own employees’ happiness—asking for periodic check-ins and measuring satisfaction with everything from internet connectivity to cleanliness. Studies have found that engaged workforces boost productivity, profit, safety and employee retention. Click here to read more. 

Hacking of Government Computers Exposed 21.5 Million People

A “colossal breach” affected over 20 million people, says the administration. Every person given a background check in the last 15 years was likely affected, said investigators. Sensitive information including addresses, health and financial history and even fingerprints were at risk. Click here to read more. 

MasterCard, Parkeon Team up to Enhance Customer Engagement, Customer Experience

Parkeon and MasterCard’s new parking meters have been revamped into communication channels for cities by using existing infrastructure in engaging ways. Local businesses get promotional content in front of consumers when location-based offers are presented to consumers. The initiative started in Las Vegas but eventually plans to go global. Click here to read more. 

TextStyle: Nordstrom innovates the buying experience with new text shopping program

A new app from Nordtrom, TextStyle, provides shopping recommendations in real time and has buy-now functionality built-in as well. The retailer’s technologies lab has been in operation for five years and the new app is one of the outcomes of the lab that combines customer service, sales and technology expertise. Click here to read more. 



Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace. 

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 

Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda

Days Of 'Spray And Pray' Marketing Are Done

Too much marketing communication and too little targeting has been behind a sharp uptick in brand damage.

In a recent study on Millennials, the Aimia Institute coined the term “High Volume Sensitive Consumers” for those segments across all generations most likely to permanently disengage with brands if they receive high volumes of generic email communications.

Of this group, Millennials are the generation most likely (44% more likely) to permanently disengage.

"Millennials are the 'always on' generation, but it is a mistake for marketers to make assumptions about their communications preferences. Just because a person shares their details with a brand does not mean they want to be inundated with lots of generic messages," said Martin Hayward, senior vice president, global digital strategy and futures, at Aimia. "Marketers must work harder to listen to individual customer preferences and tailor communications appropriately."

Additional insights from Aimia also reveal that High Volume Sensitive Consumers, across all generations, have the same willingness as others to share their personal data. However, they are 2.3 times more likely to disengage when bombarded with large numbers of irrelevant messages.

High Volume Sensitive Consumers will only engage if the content they receive by email, for example, is tailored to them. If it is not personalized and too frequent, they will:

  1. Block numbers (80%)
  2. Close accounts and unsubscribe from email lists (84%)
  3. Delete apps because of push notifications (82%)
  4. Unfollow brands on social channels (86%)

Regardless of which generation you're targeting, it's imperative to understand that cohort's content and media preferences when segmenting your database for marketing communications. Let's take a look at two successful brand examples.


Malibu Meets Millennials Memorably


Malibu Rum recently ran a mobile-only video campaign to target 18- to 24-year-old men and women for National Pina Colada Day. The campaign ran solely on video for smartphones with time-specific, location-based feeds in a ticker format for brand interaction.

The campaign drove more than 8 million views across four months. According to Adam Boita, head of marketing at Pernod Ricard UK, “With pinpointed audience targeting, the campaign successfully cemented mobile as a vital component in making Malibu synonymous with summer for our target audiences.”

Swanson Health Products Connects With Boomers Online

Many marketers assume that Baby Boomers are not tech savvy and limit digital messaging, but this is wrong because:

  • According to Google, 83% of Boomers use the Internet to find information before any other medium.
  • Forty-nine percent of people over the age of 45 have made a purchase on their smartphones and even more use mobile devices to gather information about a product or company.
  • The number of Boomers using social media has tripled to 43%.

Swanson understands that firsthand. "We own the Baby Boomer market for vitamins and supplements," said Swanson chief executive officer Ken Harris.

Approximately 93% of Swanson's new customers are acquired on the Internet, thanks to its Web marketing programs geared to acquire Baby Boomers.

"Baby Boomer women know how to use the Internet," Harris said. So the company targets its marketing to Baby Boomer women because, it says, they are interested in maintaining heart, joint, and digestive health.

3 TakeAways

Consumers' tolerance for "spray and pray" marketing blasts is at an all-time low. Sending quantities of irrelevant messaging is an invitation for key segments of your file to opt out, causing damage to your brand. So keep in mind:


  1. When segmenting your database for marketing communications, be sure you understand the generational segment's content and media preferences. Identify the High Volume Sensitive segment within your customer base, across all generations, and track their expectations and tolerance levels for marketing communications.
  2. Understand that too much irrelevant messaging could be the tipping point for those who would rather opt out than wait for marketers to learn their preferences.
  3. Consumer's tolerance for "spray and pray" marketing blasts is at an all-time low. Sending quantities of irrelevant messaging is an invitation for key segments of your file to opt out and cause damage to your brand.






About the Author:
Ernan Roman Direct Marketing's Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for their clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based guidance, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with their clients' customers and prospects, to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships.

The results achieved by ERDM's VoC-based strategies earned Ernan Roman induction into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

Visit his blog at: http://ernanroman.blogspot.com/

Navigating TCPA’s Sharks

As we recently mentioned, PossibleNOW has always helped companies maintain compliance in the face of changing regulations. Contacting consumers has become a delicate dance of respecting privacy while obtaining consent. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), first enacted in 1991, was a groundbreaking move to limit unsolicited, often automated, telemarketing calls. The act was amended in 2013 and continues to addresses loopholes with modifications. Today marketers must obtain prior express written consent from a consumer before delivering a call or text message that uses an automated dialing system. The TCPA allows for actual damages or statutory damages ranging from $500 to $1,500 per unsolicited call or text message.

One unintended result of the TCPA has been the uprising of a cottage industry of plaintiffs who find opportunities to bring lawsuits – both individual and class action – against marketers and debt collectors.

PossibleNOW maintains a database with the phone numbers of known plaintiffs to help marketers mitigate compliance risk in TCPA and Fair Debt Collections Practices Act-related communications. We’re able to offer a litigator list, comprised of public records, that identifies the phone numbers of  plaintiffs and attorneys who have filed class action lawsuits against telemarketers, collection agencies or credit issuers, sometimes to take advantage of the TCPA’s damage scheme (which does not require proof of actual damage).

Offering this database with the phone numbers of known plantiffs in conjunction with our leading cloud-based do-not-contact application, DNCSolution, helps marketers ensure compliance with current consumer privacy legislation while protecting their organization from potentially damaging lawsuits. Because the database research is focused exclusively on lawsuits that might impact telemarketers, call centers and debt collectors, marketers avoid over-suppressing the number of prospects for a calling or texting campaign.

Do the limitations of TCPA make you nervous? We’ve been there, done that. Let us lend a hand.






Rob Tate
As Vice President of Sales, Rob is responsible for growing the client base and market share and helping his sales team achieve their goals. He also develops partnership opportunities and industry relationships. Rob focuses on generating consistent results, utilizing sales and opportunity management tools and implementing best-of-class sales methodologies all of which have enabled him to build a scalable sales organization. He continually studies how metrics, leadership, culture, and innovation drive business value in the SaaS and marketing automation fields.

Human Data: The Powerful Differentiator

Human Data
“We believed that with tighter targeting we could increase engagement. By acting on insights from Voice of Customer research, we were able to go far beyond our previous segmentation strategies and now use in-depth self-defined life stages and attitudes toward certain product categories. As a result, we are seeing significantly improved responses in a category that has low consumer engagement and inertia.” Kris Gates, VP, Consumer Experience Marketing, MassMutual Retirement Services.
True Personalization is a 2-Step Process: Listen & Respond

Findings from the latest B2B and B2C VoC research conducted by our firm, ERDM, indicate that the key drivers for achieving deep customer engagement are self-defined life stages and attitudes toward the company and the product categories. So, today more than ever;
  • Marketers must listen to customers, understand their individual needs and build experiences and products that are competitively differentiating.
  • Use customer insights to understand how your different customer segments define engagement and positive experiences. Then put those insights into action to improve the customer experience across every point of contact with your organization.
  • High quality experiences must be maintained and experientially adjusted throughout the relationship to remain relevant across the individual’s ever-changing life stages. This applies to B2B and B2C customer life cycles.
Here's an important insight from Mike Rude who is responsible for innovating the freight solutions customer experience at FedEx, including FedEx Freight and FedEx Express Freight. He co-authored the original article upon which this blog is based, “Human data: The powerful differentiator for FedEx, MassMutual and Gilt.” The article appeared in the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing, Vol. 3 No. 1. Download the article by clicking here.
According to Mike, “We work hard to first understand the needs of the customer. This enables us to ensure that technology deployment will focus on delivering the optimal customer experience at every point of contact and every channel important to our customers. Focus on understanding what the customer wants and how to use technology to deliver on those expectations.”
Gilt, a respected online retailer, also uses customer insights to drive deep personalization across all channels and all touchpoints. Results of these efforts have netted the company increased orders, decreased unsubscribes and higher repeat-purchase rates. “Gilt's commitment to a personalized experience [starts at] the home page of the web site or mobile app ” states Welington Fonseca, former VP of marketing and digital analytics. He continues, “All communication is personalized…Sales [are presented according to] the highest affinity to a consumer's past behavior and preferences (browse, purchase, favorite brands, wish list) with all other sales ranked according to relevance based on previous shopping behavior and collaborative filtering.”
Elements of Human Data and 4 Levels of Trust
Factors in acquiring actionable human data include the following B2B or B2C opt-in self-profiled information regarding;
  • Key issues, needs, expectations of that individual.
  • Decision-making process, roles and titles of influencers and decision makers. This applies to B2C and B2B customers.
  • Messaging and media preferences.
  • And critically, self-described personality types, attitudes, life stages.
However, in order to acquire the precious human data necessary to achieve true personalization, your company must be seen as worthy this information. Four Levels of Trust emerged from the VoC research:
  1. Do what you promised: Deliver on your fundamental brand promise.
  2. Treat me fairly: Fair and customer focused pricing and customer service policies.
  3. Protect my information: Explain the reasons for the opt-in information requests and assure me of the privacy and safety of my data.
  4. Improve my experiences: Use my stated preferences and aversions, to dramatically improve my experiences.
In Summary
A deep understanding of how different customer segments define high-value, personal experiences with your specific company and products will enable you to learn what human data customers want you to use to significantly improve their customer experiences.
The numbers from MassMutual say it all. Following are the results from initial pilots run by Kris Gates and his team using human data versus the control groups;
  • 94 per cent higher open rates
  • 1,062 per cent higher engagement with content
  • Zero Unsubscribes
  • 100 percent deliverability
  • 400% increase in response.

Best wishes for success with your customer experience innovation.



About the Author:
Ernan Roman Direct Marketing's Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for their clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based guidance, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with their clients' customers and prospects, to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships.

The results achieved by ERDM's VoC-based strategies earned Ernan Roman induction into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

Visit his blog at: http://ernanroman.blogspot.com/

Don’t Source Data: Go to the Source

Over the years I’ve watched many companies grow their customer outreach, so I know what that track is like. And I know that when brands start to see the benefits of personalization, it’s a game-changer.

That’s why I’m so heartened to check in on VentureBeat’s ongoing survey on personalization, which enhances high-value customer behaviors like loyalty and lifetime value. Personalizing service and content increases critical key performance indicators like click-throughs, open rates, conversions, retention and revenue. And of the many ways to personalize along the customer journey, the survey found that most invest in email – nearly 80% – by doing as little as personalizing the greeting with the recipient’s name.

Yet their results also show that the data sources marketers resort to in order to customize channels include ordinary categories like “search” or “on-site activity” habits, followed by “social,” “communication activity” and “transactions.” Know what’s missing? The customer’s actual voice.

Though you think you may be personalizing communications for your customers, chances are you’re missing out on an even more crucial one-to-one conversation. Preference management, the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication allow consumers to guide you in having the most successful and engaging conversation possible. Get to them on their terms instead of assigning some generic persona based on surface-level “research” that presupposes a customer journey.


Personalization can happen on every channel and at every step of the customer’s journey, but by empowering consumers to share their own preferences, you’re guaranteed better intel than measuring their on-site clicks and social media behavior. Today we have the capacity to reach consumers in more ways than we ever imagined. So why settle for simple and vague data sources when you can go straight to the source? Even if you’re taking baby steps down that path, realize that personalization isn’t a quick pit-stop, it’s a grander destination. 




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

Making the Case for Preference Management: Fostering Internal Consensus

Preference Management Video Series


Once an enterprise launches into a decision-making model for the integration of preference management, there are key questions to address.

Consider the following:

  1. How does your brand already collect, maintain and distribute preferences?
  2. What does the leadership think the company is doing to collect, maintain and distribute preferences?
  3. Who are the partners for preference management implementation, even on a limited scale?

This video from Rob Tate, Vice President of Sales, can walk you through the process and help you identify the factors that will affect your company’s decision. Once you’ve got a clear idea of how your business currently operates and how it will begin to utilize preference management, you’ve paved the way for a smooth transition.






In the following weeks, we’ll continue to roll out videos to guide you through making the case for preference management. If you haven’t yet explored our Resource Center, you can download the Making the Case for Preference Management whitepaper here





Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace. 

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 

Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda

The Wary Are Still Willing

As we barrel toward a future where personalization extends to our wearable technology and our home appliances, where our fridge might talk to the grocery store or the laundry detergent supply gets replenished automatically, there's always that nagging chatter about consumers who are unwilling to share personal data. As marketers, that population can seem like a stubborn, self-quarantined no-man's-land of anonymous hermits.

But study after study has shown that privacy holdouts aren't wearing aluminum foil hats and passing notes on parchment. They’re not even untouchable; they're modern shoppers after all. 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, 93 percent of consumers acknowledged that sharing their personal data was necessary to receive customized offers and interactions with a brand, and in fact, that was preferable.

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, even despite her initial hesitations.

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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