When you open up an app or website, you want it to remember you. What products you’ve looked at previously, relevant content you might be interested in, items you put in your basket – but all of this comes somewhat at a cost.
Consumers are more aware than ever before about data privacy – one of our recent research reports found 76% of respondents worry that their online data is not secure.
So, marketers are faced with a tricky balancing act between providing consumers with a frictionless, contextual online experience, without overstepping their personal privacy boundaries.
By finding the right balance between personalization and privacy, marketers can deliver on consumers’ expectations, gain their trust and create tailored experiences that drive better brand loyalty. Only then will they be able to unlock the full potential of personalization and solve the paradox.
The key is to start by listening to – and understanding – customers’ needs to build a meaningful relationship with them.
Marketers should move away from transactional tactics and towards an intelligent approach to personalization that makes sure customers are respected while allowing them to benefit from what personalized content can offer.
This is a challenge that all marketers need to face in order to keep up with consumer expectations, drive engagement and build customer loyalty. With the right balance of privacy and personalization, it’s possible for everyone to come out ahead.
“Organizations are losing their best chances to create great customer experiences due to needlessly risk-averse privacy ideas that limit the use of personal data,” says Penny Gillespie, VP Analyst, Gartner. “The key is to bring value to customers and keep data use in context.”
What if brands can’t solve the personalization and privacy dilemma?
Getting the balance wrong with the personalization and privacy paradox can have far-reaching consequences. It can lead to a lack of trust in a company, hamper innovation, and potentially incur heavy fines or legal action for noncompliance with data protection laws.
For users, it can mean that they are subject to intrusive profiling based on their information, as well as a lack of choice over how their data is used. If companies don’t get the balance right between privacy and personalization, consumers may find themselves at risk from malicious actors who take advantage of weak security measures around user data.
Organizations must take a proactive approach to tackling the personalization and privacy paradox, investing in resources and strategies that will ensure they are compliant with data protection regulations whilst also providing personalized user experiences.
It is essential that companies have comprehensive processes in place for monitoring customer data usage, ensuring adequate security measures are applied across all aspects of their digital presence, and engaging with customers about how their data is being used. By taking this balanced approach, companies can ensure they remain within the limits of the law while still delivering a positive user experience.
4 key actions brands must take
Once a brand has decided to pursue personalization, there are key actions they must take to ensure their efforts are successful while still protecting customer privacy.
1. Collect compliant first-party data
First, you need to develop a user experience strategy that focuses on the data needed to provide personalized experiences without sacrificing privacy. Brands need to understand how first-party data is collected and used in order to be able to determine what information is necessary for personalization purposes while maintaining ethical use of consumer data. By creating a user experience strategy that aligns with consumer needs and expectations around personalization, brands will be better equipped for success.
2. Invest in the right technology
Brands need to invest in technology solutions that automate the process of collecting and using customer data for personalization purposes without compromising customer privacy. This includes leveraging technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide custom experiences that are tailored to the individual customer without collecting unnecessary data.
3. Collect and enforce consent
Customers should be able to control what type of information they want to share with a brand and how it is used. Organizations should implement a Consent Management Platform (CMP) that allows customers to easily adjust their privacy preferences at any given time.
4. Provide transparency
Businesses need to be transparent about their personalization efforts and communicate clearly with customers on how their data is being collected and used for personalization purposes. By openly communicating why certain types of customer data are necessary for personalization, customers will feel more secure knowing that they can trust the brand with their data.