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The personalization privacy paradox


Apr 15, 2015, By Duff Anderson

Marketers are constantly watching consumers to personalize the experience but is this an invasion of privacyEvery day marketers walk a tightrope between creating highly personalized experiences for their customers while ensuring they don’t take too many liberties with their customers’ data. This balancing act creates a paradoxical reality for marketers. On the one hand they have more and more data to drive personalization while on the other they need be conscious not to breach consumer privacy. Accenture reported that 73% of US consumers prefer to buy from brands that use their information to deliver more relevant shopping experiences. While on the privacy side, TRUSTe reported that data privacy concern is at an all-time high, with 92% of US internet users worrying about their online privacy. This places marketers in a tough position. According to Econsultancy, 41% of companies are prevented from personalizing customer experiences as much as they would like to due to privacy concerns. The question marketers are asking themselves is how do we create unique and tailored experiences without over-stepping our customer’s concern for privacy?

First party data

One of the best data sources to create a personalized experience is first party data. First party data is data you own and collect from CRM data to web analytics data to customer feedback. It can be made up of concrete facts, such as a visitor lives in San Francisco or it can be descriptive of a visitor’s intent. It comes in many forms such as purchase history and customer feedback. However when it comes to personalization and privacy, customer feedback stands out since it is information the customer voluntarily provides. By asking for the information directly and providing opt-out mechanisms, customer feedback is uniquely suited to address many of the privacy concerns of today’s customers.

Intent driven personalization

Too often personalization focuses more on the person and less on the visitor’s needs. This creates discomfort for the visitor without helping them accomplish what they came to do. One way to create a personalized experience that is effective and relevant is by recognizing a visitor’s intent. Using first party customer feedback to collect intent, personalization can shift from visitor focused to visit focused. Marketers can design a personalization flow around key visit types to ensure they are proactively meeting visitors’ needs. Tailoring the experience based on the intent of the user instead of personal information or previous web history is not only more effective but doesn’t intrude on the privacy of the user. One way iperceptions is helping companies personalize the experience without intruding on a visitor’s privacy is our Active Recognition Technology. The technology recognizes the intent and experiences of anonymous visitors in real-time to inject directly into dynamic Content Management Systems (CMS) and start personalizing the experience on the visitor’s goals.

Meaningful customer experiences

Personalization does not need to be intrusive and it can be effective without relying on sensitive personal information. By leveraging opt-in information such as customer feedback and shifting you efforts towards the visitor’s purpose you can execute meaningful personalization strategies while not over stepping the privacy mark.

Duff Anderson

Duff Anderson is a visionary in Voice of the Customer research with over 20 years’ experience. As SVP and Co-founder at iperceptions, Duff is responsible for providing expert advice to organizations on how to gain a competitive advantage across the customer lifecycle and improve the customer experience.

The personalization privacy paradox


Apr 15, 2015, By Duff Anderson
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Marketers are constantly watching consumers to personalize the experience but is this an invasion of privacyEvery day marketers walk a tightrope between creating highly personalized experiences for their customers while ensuring they don’t take too many liberties with their customers’ data. This balancing act creates a paradoxical reality for marketers. On the one hand they have more and more data to drive personalization while on the other they need be conscious not to breach consumer privacy. Accenture reported that 73% of US consumers prefer to buy from brands that use their information to deliver more relevant shopping experiences. While on the privacy side, TRUSTe reported that data privacy concern is at an all-time high, with 92% of US internet users worrying about their online privacy. This places marketers in a tough position. According to Econsultancy, 41% of companies are prevented from personalizing customer experiences as much as they would like to due to privacy concerns. The question marketers are asking themselves is how do we create unique and tailored experiences without over-stepping our customer’s concern for privacy?

First party data

One of the best data sources to create a personalized experience is first party data. First party data is data you own and collect from CRM data to web analytics data to customer feedback. It can be made up of concrete facts, such as a visitor lives in San Francisco or it can be descriptive of a visitor’s intent. It comes in many forms such as purchase history and customer feedback. However when it comes to personalization and privacy, customer feedback stands out since it is information the customer voluntarily provides. By asking for the information directly and providing opt-out mechanisms, customer feedback is uniquely suited to address many of the privacy concerns of today’s customers.

Intent driven personalization

Too often personalization focuses more on the person and less on the visitor’s needs. This creates discomfort for the visitor without helping them accomplish what they came to do. One way to create a personalized experience that is effective and relevant is by recognizing a visitor’s intent. Using first party customer feedback to collect intent, personalization can shift from visitor focused to visit focused. Marketers can design a personalization flow around key visit types to ensure they are proactively meeting visitors’ needs. Tailoring the experience based on the intent of the user instead of personal information or previous web history is not only more effective but doesn’t intrude on the privacy of the user. One way iperceptions is helping companies personalize the experience without intruding on a visitor’s privacy is our Active Recognition Technology. The technology recognizes the intent and experiences of anonymous visitors in real-time to inject directly into dynamic Content Management Systems (CMS) and start personalizing the experience on the visitor’s goals.

Meaningful customer experiences

Personalization does not need to be intrusive and it can be effective without relying on sensitive personal information. By leveraging opt-in information such as customer feedback and shifting you efforts towards the visitor’s purpose you can execute meaningful personalization strategies while not over stepping the privacy mark.

Duff Anderson

Duff Anderson is a visionary in Voice of the Customer research with over 20 years’ experience. As SVP and Co-founder at iperceptions, Duff is responsible for providing expert advice to organizations on how to gain a competitive advantage across the customer lifecycle and improve the customer experience.

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