People today are more connected and informed than ever before and expect an always on, personalized experience with the brands and organizations that they trust.
B2C marketers make considerable investments in big data analytics for educated guesses at the communication channels most likely to get the best response. Preference management provides the opportunity to "just ask" your customers and prospects for their interests as well as preferred channel(s) of communication. Forrester Research indicates that 77% of consumers say companies should let them decide how a company communicates with them — making preference management an even wiser investment.
And, preference management is even more relevant in B2B marketing because the lifetime value of the customer relationship is generally higher. Preference management helps marketers avoid the corporate mailroom concept where all communications (print and digital) are delivered to the same contact — whether for billing, promotional offers or special events. PossibleNOW's MyPreferences® gives customers the ability to correct this conversation, directing what types of communications should be delivered to what types of contacts based on their role in the organization.
Companies who adopt a permission marketing strategy soon learn that consent management goes well beyond data collection. And, new regulations both in the US and abroad require that certain permissions or consent are obtained from the customer before conducting any marketing. This consent must be maintained, validated and updated as necessary. In addition, industry regulations and best practices require organizations to have record keeping and reporting on all permission and data activities to establish a defendable position.
The proliferation of mobile adoption adds to the compliance complexity. A significant number of people choose to engage with an organization via mobile, yet mobile communications, specifically SMS and automated dial, require an opt-in per the Federal Communications Commission's amended TCPA rule. New TCPA rules require companies to allow consumers to revoke consent more easily and if a phone number has changed hands, companies will only get one chance to stop calling the new user before facing penalties.
PossibleNOW's MyPreferences® provides the capabilities to collect and manage consent as well as help ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. Our DNCSolution® do not contact technology helps mitigate TCPA compliance risk by identifying consumers who have provided consent to call them on their mobile devices. And, our Mobile Scoring service helps validate that the person who provided consent to contact them on their mobile device is still associated with that phone number.
Companies must engage their customers through the channels where customers are most comfortable. Innovative companies are finding ways to serve up relevant preference options not only in direct communications, but in product as well - including authenticated environments such as software applications or geolocation devices.
This fosters a more open communication loop because customers are often more willing to share details about themselves and their preferences based on a company's unique opportunity to deliver a highly personalized and relevant experience.
Progressive profiling represents the best practice of collecting information throughout a customer's interactions with your brand or company instead of all at once. This includes not only profile information like name and contact data, but customer preferences as well. In order for progressive profiling to work, a persistent preference profile must be available and accessible in real time so that relevant preference information is requested and collected. This is a powerful strategy that allows companies not only to push information that they think is relevant, but also pull information from customers when they are ready to provide it.
In order to maintain basic email compliance requirements, many organizations adopt a general or global unsubscribe as the only option for email recipients who no longer wish to get a specific communication. Limitations within existing processes, vendors, and data management capabilities contribute to this problem, resulting in channel closing opt-outs when, in fact, customers may still wish to receive other content or at a different frequency.
The reality is that 65% of opt-outs occur because the recipient does not perceive the email communication as relevant or timely - not because the recipient never wants to hear from you again. An effective opt-down strategy provides more granular opt-down options by category, product, or frequency while maintaining compliance with email opt-out regulations. Expected conversion rates from general opt-out to a more specific opt-down start at 50% and improve based on a company's ability to deliver relevant preference options.
In addition to collecting opt-in and opt-out choices which are generally driven by the communication channel, companies can enhance customer experience and engagement by collecting lifestyle or profile preferences. A survey-style response helps visualize this concept. Rather than a simple subscribe or unsubscribe or yes/no answer, customers can select from a list of relevant choices. These choices can vary by industry. For example, in the travel & hospitality industry, these may be preferences such as pillow type, room view, or amenities required.
Use preference management to increase profitability in operational areas by delivering communications based on servicing or transactional preferences such as service outages, shipment notifications or account statements. This reverses the view of these servicing functions as operational cost centers where ROI may not be as high of a priority as it is in marketing areas.
Preference management gives customers choice which in turn increases satisfaction and lifetime value. Preference management also contributes to cost-saving opportunities like green initiatives that convert recipients of costly postal mail to less expensive digital channels.
Pilot programs and proofs of concept allow organizations to trial preference management within a single brand, line of business, channel, or customer segment before deploying to the entire enterprise. A pilot program provides the opportunity to align with business and industry success metrics driven by measurable ROI. Using a pilot program gives organizations a scalable solution that easily accommodates changes related to new customer expectations or business requirements.
By limiting the requirements and integration points, your organization realizes speed to value in deploying a preference management solution, while proving its value to the rest of the enterprise. Using surveys can help gauge the success of the pilot program and provide valuable insights into preference center engagement and customer adoption.