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The Personalisation Paradox

Article by
4th May 2023 in

Marketers face a paradox of delivering meaningful digital interactions whilst their audiences are demanding greater privacy. How can we establish strong, loyal connections whilst meeting conflicting expectations?

Consumers are demanding personalised experiences in an era of rigorous data privacy expectations.
49% of Australian customers feel frustrated when brands deliver them irrelevant content. Yet 62% think cross-site tracking is creepy.

How did we get here?

Facebook’s leak to Cambridge Analytica, TikTok’s misuse of data, Uber’s “god view” tracking scandal, LinkedIn’s data breach. These scandals made the industry pivot. Apple gave iPhone users the choice to opt out. Google rolled out GA4 to address privacy concerns and announced Chrome’s cookie departure.

Optus and Medicare have recently brought these fears closer to home for Australians. The threat of stolen identities and ransacked bank accounts scares customers away from sharing their data. These breaches have dismantled the trust that took these brands years to build up.

Balancing personalisation and privacy

Think of personalisation as a way to deliver your customers what they want to see, whilst respecting their privacy. So, how do you balance customisation and data security?

This is what we recommend you do:
• Recommend what they might like from their previous behaviour on your site
• Send tips and tricks on how to use their previous purchase
• Offer exclusive content and VIP access in exchange for more information
• Use AI to automate repetitive tasks to ensure consistency
• Use data protection technologies such as firewalls, encryption, and endpoint protection.

This is what we recommend you don’t do:
• Track their journey after they leave your site
• Retarget customers excessively
• Purchase data from third parties
• Transfer unhashed data

Conduct marketing research to help you understand your consumer’s priorities. Send out a survey asking what data your customers are comfortable sharing and how it makes them feel. Listen to what they say and apply their feedback. Whatever data they do share with you, we would advise using judiciously. Consumers expect personalised suggestions from details they have shared with you, not from cross-site tracking. They will thank you for it.

97% of companies have seen benefits from investing in privacy.

55% of consumers will share their data in exchange for a better customer experience.

24% of consumers are loyal to brands who treat consumers’ data with respect.

Strive for transparency

If you’re doing good things, tell your customers:
• How their data is safe
• What security protocols are in place
• How you source data
• How you store data
• How you use data.

If you have some things to fix:
• Let them know if there has been a data breach
• Clarify how you will amend these issues.

Personalisation and privacy don’t have to be separate entities. To deliver tailored experiences with data privacy in mind, you need to communicate, listen, and be transparent with your customer. With consent, you can still maximise personalisation efforts including EDM, tailoring, and targeting.

At the end of the day, you need to think about your customer and what value they are getting. Acknowledge that to gain access to consumer’s data, there must be a value exchange.

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