Are you confused about the difference between customer consent and preference centres? You’re not alone. While some use the terms interchangeably, there are differences – in what we mean by ‘consent management’ and ‘preference management’, as well as in the technology solutions to support each.
However, consent and preference management are both critical components of creating a privacy-first, customer-centric strategy. Moreover, they also are key parts of user experience.
Customer consent is when marketers ask users for their permission to collect, process and store data. This data is used for things like personalised advertising and email communications. Some also refer to consent collection as ‘opt-in, opt-out’ or ‘subscribing’.
Preference management is all about allowing users to make choices about communication frequency, topics, and channels. You can also ask users to answer custom questions or volunteer information about their intentions, motivations and interests.
Firstly, consent management is closely tied to compliance with privacy regulations. Secondly, preference management helps you build on your investment in compliance to collect critical data about your customers, offer an alternative to unsubscribing, and more. Above all, customer consent and preference management support each other in building customer trust and driving engagement. We’re covering what marketers need to know to execute in these two areas.
Under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), there are six legal bases for processing data. Two of these bases are key for marketers, consent and legitimate interest. Legitimate interest can be leveraged for things like employment data processing and product research.
Otherwise, customer consent must be used for things like ad targeting cookies, sensitive data processing, and direct marketing. Marketers must gather detailed records of opt-ins including who, when, what users were told, and by what method users consented when consent is required.
One of the main items marketers must address with consent management is cookies. A banner can be used to notify website visitors you’re using cookies to track their behavior and keep that information for future use. Users must give you explicit, unbundled and informed consent to take these actions.
Another part of gaining customer consent is maintaining accurate consent details across channels, including apps. Just-in-time consent can be a lifesaver when it comes to asking for consent across many different devices. Implementing just-in-time consent gives users information about their data collection and usage at the exact moment they need it, on whatever devices they happen to be using.
Geo-targeting based on each user’s region is also an essential strategy. You only serve cookie consent banners, just-in-time consent notices and collection points that apply to the regional regulations they fall under. With geo-location, you can tailor your messaging to each user, improving their experience with your brand and increasing opt-in rates.
It turns out today’s consumers want to receive more personalised information. They’re more than willing to tell their favorite brands just want content they want to see, as long as those brands deliver. More than two in five Americans (42%) say that if a company doesn’t provide them with a personalised experience, they’re likely to switch brands.
When you invest in building a preference management strategy, you can drive up customer engagement and customer loyalty. A preference centre is at the heart of this strategy. Also, an advanced preference centre should include these features:
- Topic and content choices
- Frequency options
- Custom customer data questions
- Privacy policies, programmes and certifications
- Access to privacy rights information
Instead of offering only an unsubscribe or opt-out mechanism, create options for users to ‘opt down’ instead of opt-out. In addition, provide a variety of different content options for subscribers to choose from. And give customers a place to leave personal feedback about their interests, providing you with first-party data about your customers.
If preference management is focused on providing users the opportunity to willingly give you information about their intentions, motivations, and interests, a preference center is a way to help you accomplish that goal.
A thriving marketing strategy
The way we market has fundamentally changed. Because of new privacy laws, marketers’ have been forced to operate with customer consent and customer preferences at the core of their strategies. Those who embrace this new way of thinking won’t just survive but thrive in the world of modern marketing.
For more information about customer consent and preference management, we’ve got a webinar you need to watch. You’ll learn the stages of driving a tactful customer journey by leveraging a preference centre. In addition, we cover reducing global unsubscribes and utilising opt-in best practices. To learn more about the OneTrust PreferenceChoice preference management solution, schedule a one-to-one meeting to talk to an expert today.
Claire Feeney serves as director at OneTrust PreferenceChoice — part of the number one most widely used privacy, security and marketing user experience technology platform.