Rajesh Kurup
Mar 30, 2023

The importance of delivering a personalised experience in times of privacy

Privacy can no longer be a business afterthought; it must be a strategy from inception, says Cybage executive.

The importance of delivering a personalised experience in times of privacy

Data privacy and personalisation are often spoken of as two separate entities. But when it comes to a world that has moved towards becoming cookieless, they don't have to be. Instead, this amalgamation is a symptom of industries moving towards a more human-centred approach to marketing. 

The uptick in digital consumer experiences during the Pandemic could not have been predicted, even as businesses with digital platforms catering to consumers saw sales and profits skyrocket. Moreover, it forced other companies to digitise their marketing efforts, coinciding with the industry's transition to personalised marketing.  

Consumers are looking for personalised messaging and targeted ads. And understanding their mindset is paramount to delivering personalisation.  

These statistics have led most businesses to try and establish that precious balance between personalised experiences and adequate data privacy. The added business value is extensive for those that do find it, with almost 80% of consumers choosing companies that offer this dual combination. [1.]

The relation between personalisation and privacy

So why should personalisation and privacy not be seen as two separate entities? This is because, despite their different definitions, both concepts are often interdependent within the digital tech spectrum. Most businesses today offer one or the other, i.e., personalised experience at the cost of privacy or privacy at the expense of customised experience. 

The critical point to be considered in today's landscape is the value exchange personalisation provides. So, how can businesses continue to reach and engage customers, delivering personalised experiences while respecting consumer privacy? They can empower the consumers to choose if, when, and how they participate. This can only be achieved through a robust first-party data strategy that comprises consent management and governance from the very start. This data can then be open and privacy-conscious, improving usability. 

The importance of a first-party strategy in today's scenario

  • The first-party strategy offers a more consumer-centric and efficient approach to customer data than cookies.  
  • Consumers who bring transactions through cookies are considered inefficient as they can look like three different people on three other devices. But, brands using known customer data to buy media should drive significant efficiencies in reaching people that only buy once. 
  • This provides an extensive customer base and a better way of operating. Marketing to known customers remains relatively unchanged even in a cookieless world. 
  • When brands have consent, they can still send emails, personalise online experiences, and tailor offers to their known attributes. What will change is how brands transform unknown users into available customers online. 
  • The ability to re-target unknown individuals when they visit other sites utilising third-party cookies disappears, and so do the behavioural and demographic insights into those audiences. 

How can brands update their first-party strategy to be effective in a cookieless world? 

Switching to first-party data is expected to be disruptive in all domains. Large organisations such as banks, MNCs, telecom & retail businesses already have the consumer's attention. They also have the means to attract new customers and retain existing ones. But to be effective, brands will have to: 

1. Unify Data Management: Decision-makers can bring all the consumer data under one platform via a data management platform or a unified customer experience platform. 

2. Ensure Data Compliance: They can ensure appropriate governance and controls for using individual consumers' data only according to their consent. This can be achieved by labelling the data on entry points, ensuring uniformity and ease of understanding for everyone. 

3. Deciding how the data will be used: Brands can strategise to improve consent levels, offering customers a more profound personal experience. They can also match unified customer ids against other brands & publishers under a second-data strategy. This allows them to attract new customers with traits similar to their competitors. 

Rajesh Kurup is the executive vice president for media and advertising at Cybage.

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