BY HYTHER NIZAM
Personalisation is becoming more critical for fulfilling customer expectations. But a changing consumer mindset about privacy makes the necessary data acquisition a difficult and expensive process.
It has been proven that personalisation increases sales, customer loyalty, and client lifetime value. Amazon’s quarterly sales increased by 29 percent after implementing targeted recommendations, and 80 percent of customers are more inclined to make a purchase when provided with a personalised experience.
But how can brands balance the benefits of personalisation with the privacy concerns of their customers? The most effective strategies employ zero-party data to drive marketing and sales, give customers power over how their data is used, and incorporate transparency and privacy into every department’s processes. Zero-party data is the data a customer provides voluntarily.
By relying solely on zero-party data, you can avoid public relations disasters and increase the trust clients have in your brand. What’s more, businesses that practice ethical and transparent data collection often collect more—and better quality—data. When customers feel their data is managed ethically and responsibly, they are more willing to provide useful information.
Customisation: the optimal solution
Companies can demonstrate a commitment to privacy by outlining the ways consumer information is collected and used, and by allowing consumers to manage their own advertising settings. Giving consumers more control over their data often results in more effective targeted advertising.
Customised advertising creates a space where customer and company interests intersect. When brands empower customers to create their own experiences, they are more equipped to anticipate and address their demands. Perhaps this is why customised solutions are preferred by 36 percent of consumers, and one in every five is willing to pay at least a 20 percent markup for them.
Creating a company culture that values privacy
Apart from providing role-based security and privacy training, some businesses have developed positions for business information security and privacy officers (BISPOs). BISPOs ensure that security is taken seriously by ensuring employees remain aware of security and privacy practices.
To provide a safe and comfortable user experience, some companies have established a “creep board.” This is an internal team tasked with regularly evaluating the company’s policies and processes regarding the use of personal data. They make certain that nothing the company does is overly “creepy.” These teams exist for a reason: over 40 percent of consumers will stop doing business with a brand if they believe its personalisation is obtrusive.
Understand the distinction
Consumers are collectively defining the line between desirable and undesirable personalisation. Crossing the line can be detrimental to the brand-consumer relationship, but successful businesses know how to anticipate consumer reactions and work within them.
Hyther Nizam, who studied electronics and communications at the University of Madras, is president, Zoho Middle East & Africa, and vice president, product management, Zoho Corp.