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Are You Respecting Consumer Privacy?

Whether your marketing campaigns include print, email, or mobile, one of the most important topics these days is the need to maintain customer trust. This means respecting customer data privacy, not just in how you use the data, but in how you collect it in the first place. Direct Marketing News released a white paper with ideas and best practices from some of the best in the business. Here are our top five takeaways that you need to know.


1. Be Transparent

When collecting data through surveys or online forms, be transparent about how the data will be used. Notes Brian Pearson, president of LoyaltyOne, “When organizations explain their intentions for data use in straightforward language and spell out the benefits to the customer, that customer is more likely to engage with the brand.”


2. Give Customers a Choice

Let your customers and prospects choose how and how much data they want to share with you. By letting them make their own choices, providing data when and how they want, you can get their all important buy-in.


3. Give Them Value In Exchange

If customers provide their private information, what do they get in exchange? What is the value, not for you the marketer—but for them? A Harris Poll on behalf of Transera, Inc. found that 67% of U.S. adults would be willing to give companies access to basic personal information in exchange for better service or products. “Data collected must benefit both consumers and marketers,” says Steve Kerho, CSO, Meredith Xcelerated Marketing. “The benefits to marketers are obvious: enhanced targeting, effective messaging, and offers that deliver superior performance. The advantages to consumers are often missing from the conversation.” Make sure that in your print and email communications those advantages are front and center.


4. Protect Their Privacy

Let them know that you will not share or sell their data. This is critical to establishing trust.


5. Make Opt-Out Easy

Let your customers know they can easily opt out of your communications at any time. While this sounds counter-intuitive, it goes a long way toward keeping trust. Knowing they can opt out easily creates the sense that their communication with you is voluntary (as it should be). Even if customers do choose to disengage at some point, if that process is handled with trust and respect, it maintains a positive brand perception that benefits you in the long run. “Don’t be afraid of losing a customer,” says Len Shneyder, director of industry relations, Message Systems. “If the experience of disengagement is painless, there’s a chance they’ll return.


* Source: “Use Data to Build, Not Bust, Customer Trust,” Direct Marketing News, March 2015.

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