Data Rules: Humanizing the customer experience in light of new data privacy laws

Five states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, and Virginia — have enacted comprehensive consumer data privacy laws, with Massachusetts expected to pass its Massachusetts Information Privacy and Security Act (MIPSA).

In addition to state-led legislation, the U.S. seeks to pass the Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act at the federal level, following in the footsteps of the EU.

Major tech companies are also announcing new measures to strengthen consumer privacy. Apple caused marketers to panic last year with its Mail Privacy Protection news, and Google has announced a slew of new privacy updates that are forcing marketers to again adjust their tactics.

While these regulations appear to hamper marketers, using data consumers give willingly has advantages: it allows one-to-one personalization and gives consumers more control over their online shopping interactions without sacrificing privacy. That’s why zero- and first-party data will grow increasingly important for marketers’ efforts to humanize digital interactions that drive long-term customer value.

Personalization with consent

Just like personal friendships, companies that get to know their customers will have more meaningful conversations and forge longer term relationships.

According to the Audience of One 2022 report, two-thirds (68%) of consumers said they’re likely to be a loyal customer or purchase more of a brand’s products if that brand is engaging and building personal relationships with them. On top of that, more than half of respondents (58%) agreed that they share more personal information with the brands they are loyal to.

Humanizing digital experiences requires the same effort as understanding friends’ and family’s wants and needs. Zero- and first-party data, which is shared voluntarily or collected through behavioral patterns, can create a personalized marketing experience without sacrificing privacy. For instance, with voluntarily shared information, marketers are able to develop campaigns that showcase relevant content, such as the closest physical store’s hours, abandoned cart reminders, or product suggestions that align with their needs and interests.

Leveraging data in this way makes customers feel like they’re more than just a number and fosters genuine connections, without being intrusive.

Recreating social proof in the digital environment

Social proof is a powerful force in cultivating human connections and influencing consumer behavior. When a friend recommends a new clothing shop or television show — in other words, provides social proof — that is valuable information that can influence others in their social circles.

Marketers can use social proof in digital experiences, as well. Ratings, reviews, and information on the number of shoppers engaging with a product are all examples of social proof in the digital realm. When consumers experience these social proofs throughout their journey, they’re able to connect their behavior to others, making the experience feel more personal.

As the consumer purchasing journey becomes less linear, brands that maximize social proof, supported by zero- and first-party data, will be able to deliver winning experiences.

Humanizing the digital world with omnichannel marketing

While social proof strengthens relationships, inconsistent or siloed engagement erodes them.

Imagine you and a friend are texting each other to confirm a time to grab coffee, but when you call her later, she has no idea what you’re talking about. That’s equivalent to the experience many consumers endure in dealing with brands that lack a seamless omnichannel strategy.

With 74% of consumers using multiple channels to start and complete a single transaction, consumers want to easily engage with brands across platforms, including email and social. Each touchpoint needs to be joined up and consistent, and taking the extra step to show you’re looking out for the customer goes a long way toward delivering value. Simply sending consumers a follow-up email suggesting additional items based on their recent viewing behavior or offering a free shipping incentive after they’ve abandoned a cart across platforms are great ways to strengthen consumer loyalty and ultimately drive them to purchase.

Embracing the legal landscape with zero- and first-party data

The marketing landscape is constantly changing, but the current push toward greater privacy is beneficial for consumers and marketers. Brands will have to earn each customer relationship. For years, Movable Ink’s most successful clients have been personalizing content from zero- and first-party data via internal APIs, CDPs, and CRMs, solving the content bottleneck to provide the one-to-one personalization that consumers have come to expect.

At the core of marketing is data. Yet, now that third-party data sources are faltering and more consumers are privacy-conscious, it’s time for a smarter approach. As privacy regulations evolve, the next two years will be pivotal to how marketers develop personalized campaigns and collect data.

Instead of focusing on the limitations associated with the new regulations, this is an opportunity to evolve how brands interact. Combining personalization with consumers’ demands for more privacy can lead to more personalized, scalable campaigns that drive revenue and build a community of long-lasting customers.

About the Author

Rachel Eisen is Associate Director, Strategy (Retail) at Movable Ink. Rachel Eisen joins Movable Ink from the client-side with six years of experience managing marketing strategies across email, mobile push, in-app, and site. Most recently, at Sephora, she owned their automated and transactional email program and served as a key stakeholder in major company initiatives such as Targeted CLV promotions, In-Store Services, and standing up Same Day Delivery. She also served as the Retention Activation Lead on the SCRUM Agile Marketing team to lead testing initiatives that drove CLV behaviors and optimized owned channel performance, resulting in an incremental $17M in revenue. Rachel is passionate about scaled personalized communications and creating marketing content so good it’s a client service through agile marketing and test and learn cultures.

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