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The Future Of Personalization: Incorporating Customer Preference Data Into Your Digital Marketing Strategy



The marketing world is in constant flux, especially with recent announcements from tech giants like Google and Apple that end the era of third party cookies. Rather than rely on these cookies to personalize their customer journeys, brands are now having to pivot toward alternative data collection strategies. The most successful of these pivots incorporate what we call customer preference data, also known as zero and first party data, depending on whether the information is shared directly by a customer or acquired through a consumer’s interactions with your content.


So what does it mean to collect customer preferences, and how can a brand use that information to stand out in the market and develop more meaningful, lasting relationships with their customers? We attempt to answer that in this blog.


Let’s dive in!


Personalization and Consumers


Personalization adds to the consumer experience and lets customers know that they aren’t just another number to your brand. The amount of personalization can vary with each interaction, but the most basic form is the “hi, [first name]” message we’ve all seen in newsletters, pop-ups, emails, etc.


It’s when a brand goes above and beyond with its personalization that their relationship with consumers can truly shine. That’s where the title of this blog comes into play. The future of personalization lies in the “above and beyond” customer-centric approach to marketing and is shaped by the collection of consumer preference data. In particular, the collection and digitization of customer preferences that are enforced across every interaction after the time those preferences are shared.


The shift toward greater personalization isn’t an unexpected one. In fact, a study from Accenture found that 73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use their preference data to make recommendations and shopping experiences more relevant. Those numbers continue to grow, and the number of consumers willing to do business with brands that don’t personalize is only getting smaller. That’s why it’s more important than ever for customer preferences, and their digitization and enforcement, to become a cornerstone of every brand’s digital marketing strategy. Doing so creates an understanding with consumers, strengthens your relationships with them, builds trust, and enables your brand to keep your data as up-to-date as possible without needing to rely on third-party tracking to do so.


Let’s look at an example.


The Future of Personalization


Imagine that you’re on your favorite pizza restaurant’s website to order delivery. If this is the first time you’ve ordered online instead of over the phone or in person, you likely won’t expect the website to have your favorite order (e.g. your customer preferences) saved. Fast forward to the fiftieth or even hundredth time you’ve ordered, though, and those expectations are likely to have changed.


Now, imagine that the restaurant started sending you coupons or additional product recommendations. How would it impact your spending habits if the offers were standardized versus personalized for your exact order? If you’d be more likely to make another purchase with the customized offers, you aren’t alone.


According to Infosys, personalization plays a role in more than 86% of consumers’ purchasing decisions. That’s an opportunity that too few brands take advantage of, and if you can incorporate it into your own marketing strategies, you’ll be sure to stand out. The following five steps can help you get started.


Incorporating Preference Data into Your Marketing Strategy


1. Be thoughtful about each interaction

Just like in conversations, the best time to ask consumers for their preferences varies. Make sure any data requests you make are contextual to the interaction and don’t come out of left field. If, for example, you’re the pizza brand we mentioned earlier and a customer is in the process of customizing their pizza, the more opportune moment to ask who they’re ordering the gluten free crust for would be after they click confirm, rather than the second they select their crust. When you’re asking customers to share their preference data, it’s all about timing and thoughtfulness.


2. Be transparent

If your plan is to use the preference data your customers share for a specific reason, let them know! 94% of consumers are likely to purchase from and be loyal to brands that practice transparency. If you can do so across your marketing strategies, you’ll be well on your way to future-proofing your brand against the end of third-party cookies.


3. Embrace progressive consent

Don’t expect customers to share everything about themselves at the first interaction. Instead, embrace progressive consent and ask for information as your relationship with each customer grows over time. As consumers complete each transparent, thoughtful, personalized interaction with your brand, they’ll be more likely to share additional information and update what they’ve already shared.


4. Personalize

When a customer shares information with your brand, they’re doing so with the understanding that it will make future experiences better in some way. Your job as a brand is to follow through on that expectation. Looking back at the pizza restaurant scenario, a good example of this would be if you prefer gluten free crust due to an allergy. After sharing that with the brand, they could improve your experience by sharing updates for new gluten free options as they become available.


5. Repeat

Customer preferences aren’t something that you collect once and consider a done deal. Just like relationships, they’re constantly evolving and require regular updates. If you stay consistent and use each new interaction to build upon the last, your brand’s opportunities to collect and digitize consumer preferences for personalization will continue to grow.


Step Into the Future


If you walk away from this blog with anything, let it be this. Each customer is unique, and so are their needs. If brands want to conquer the Digitization and enforcement of preference data helps you get to know your customers with thoughtful questions and interactions while building compounding trust through personalization. Good luck!

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