The experience customers have with your brand should be fully integrated, delivered seamlessly across any and every device they are using to engage with you. Right? That has been marketing’s doctrine for most of this decade, with chief marketing officers using the idea of a connected customer journey as the leverage for greater investment into marketing technology.
But what if this is not what all customers want? What if one impact of GDPR and the need to get granular consent (in some cases) is to introduce a new variety pack of experiences, ranging from the vanilla version with little or no personalisation right through to the tutti frutti flavour where everything is personalised, location-aware and customer-centred?
25% of consumers expect their experience to be different on each device.
There are important precedents for enabling individuals to be anonymous when they choose or to be recognised with a simple click. The revised ePrivacy Directive in 2012, best known as the “cookies law”, was introduced as a direct result of a group of UK consumers being tracked online without their knowledge or consent, for example. Some of the European Commissioners who framed GDPR view the internet as “toxic waters” for unsuspecting consumers and want them to be able to withhold their data and identity until they choose to share it.
Consumers are also becoming more confident in expressing their desire for choice. In the GDPR Impact research carried out by DataIQ among a panel of 1,005 consumers representative of the UK population, 25% said they expect their experience of brands to be different depending on which device they are using. This is higher than the proportion - 21% - who expect their data to be used across all devices, creating a seamless journey.
If that seems surprising in today’s mobile-first world, there is even more to consider - among the group of consumers who say they are happy to share their data with brands they trust, fully 30.9% want a differential experience between devices, although exactly the same number (30.9%) want it to be the same.
So what are marketers and customer experience managers to make of this? One obvious response is that it will require even more martech and, additionally, regtech in order to respond to the wishes of consumers as well as meet the demands of GDPR. Being able to express consent at channel-level, for example, and then seing that reflected in the delivery of an experience which is not the same on a mobile phone as it is on a desktop or laptop machine is likely to make consumers feel they are both being understood and having their rights enabled.
Peter Galdies, techical director at DQM GRC, points out that the key piece of technology in this approach is the preference centre. He says: “Providing a single point of access for data subjects to be able to modify consents is regarded as best practice by the legislators – and for good reason, as it puts power of control over personal information back in the hands of individuals.”
"Having a ‘single source of truth’ in the form of master data on consent will be vital."
He explains that a well-architected preference centre will extend this even further and give access to all elements of a data subject’s rights, including requests for erasure, subject access requests and the right to data portability. The solution should be accessible to consumers across all of their devices and to all of the operational units in the business (call centres, physical mail handling and other customer contact points) so they can all benefit from direct access.
“For organisations, having a ‘single source of truth’ in the form of master data on consent will be vital. And, of course, this data has to find it’s way into all the relevant operational systems as seamlessly as possible, otherwise it’s worse than nothing,” says Galdies.
For many brands, ensuring the customer experience is the same across every device as a result of tracking customers along their journey has been a difficult challenge to meet. But just as the law now says those customers should have a choice - and consumers themselves say they do not always want an integrated journey - it may be time to focus instead on a consent-driven, data-enabled options that can be anonymous, fully-personalised or everything in between.
This article is the third in a ten-week series by DataIQ in association with our GDPR partner, DQM GRC. For more information on the solutions it offers, visit dqmgrc.com.