Overcoming Privacy Pitfalls in Cross-Channel Marketing

Marketing Cloud

There’s some pretty cool technology available for today’s digital marketers. Such technology allows us to utilize both anonymous and authenticated information to develop a revolutionary high-definition customer view, essentially kicking the outdated 360-degree customer view to the curb.

It’s easy to see why marketers would be enthusiastic about the various ways data can be used to enrich the customer experience for both anonymous and authenticated users. But it’s also just as easy to run into some serious data-usage issues that can result in jaded consumers who are suspicious of your brand and its intentions.

Most digital marketers just want to provide their customers with the best possible cross-channel experiences they can offer, but to do that, it’s important to avoid a barrage of stumbling blocks caused by mismanaging anonymous and authenticated consumer data across the customer life cycle. The below addresses the privacy challenges your organization must avoid with a cross-channel engagement strategy, along with the strategy’s immense benefits when handled effectively.

Data Transparency

When deploying a cross-channel marketing campaign, you know how important it is to reach the right customers with the right offers at the right time. This focus on personalization creates immense value for marketers seeking optimal engagement—as long as they follow two basic rules. Otherwise marketers risk being perceived as creepy.

Firstly, digital marketers should center most personalized experiences on first-party data—that is, data captured by properties you own, such as email addresses submitted through your landing page or information given to your brand through a social media channel. In contrast, second-party data is data acquired from a partner, and third-party data is information you might purchase or rent from an external provider. The further you get away from the direct connection between the brands you’re representing and the customers you’re marketing to, the creepier personalization efforts have the potential to become.

Second, your marketing department should establish a policy of transparency when communicating what you are doing with the collected data. Marketing transparency means letting your customers know what type of data you are collecting, what you are doing with their information, and how it will help your brand provide a better customer experience.

Navigating Questionable Data

Tremendous value lies in a deep understanding of the three core types of data, but leveraging it correctly is crucial. For example, let’s say a marketer proposes targeting a customer segment in an email campaign leveraging third-party cookie-based data like browsing behavior to enrich the personalization. But using third-party data for your email campaign is not enriching the customer view—it’s corrupting it. Combining third-party data with personally identifiable information (PII) to deliver offers is a huge violation of consumer trust, and enterprises should have automated controls in place to prevent involuntary integration of these data types.

But just because certain data sets shouldn’t be combined, don’t throw so-called questionable data out with the bathwater. Third-party data is perfect for creating segments based on anonymous traces of individuals, and then syndicating those segments for use in other digital channels, such as display advertising. In other words, using anonymized segments helps you target customers while respecting consumer privacy.

Data Responsibility

The customer creep-out factor is a result of data being used irresponsibly. At the end of the day, the primary objective should be to do the right thing with data and to be aware of when you are over-stepping customer boundaries.  Consider how your organization manages the data you collect. In this context, doing the right thing means never combining third-party data with PII.

Another way to ensure your brand is doing the right thing is to give your customers outbound-marketing-frequency options. Are you letting your customers choose how often they receive emails, direct mail, or text messages from your company? Allowing customers to specify their channel preferences and contact frequency builds their confidence in your organization while letting them know you have their best interests in mind.

Giving customers the power to decide when and how they want to hear from you, while never using questionable data in objectionable ways is all about doing right by your customers. The most successful digital marketers today never lose sight of their primary goal—to provide real and intrinsic value for every customer while delivering the best customer experiences possible.

Use the data you collect responsibly, maintain absolute transparency with your customers about the data you are collecting, and put control in your customers’ hands. You’ll be doing the right thing for your customers and enriching the customer experience for both anonymous and authenticated users, while avoiding some of today’s most common privacy pitfalls in the process.

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