Think about the last time you scrolled through any social media platform. Now think about the kinds of adverts that popped up. It’s safe to assume these weren’t run-of-the-mill, generic adverts. Big Data has created an information ecosystem in which advertisers use personal data to show consumers specific, targeted, and personalized ads online.
It’s common to see an advert about something you may have talked about, searched for, or even thought about when you scroll through your social feeds. But delivering highly personalized experiences requires collecting sensitive information, so data privacy has become more crucial than ever. It’s not surprising then that around 76 percent of users believe companies must do more to protect their data online.
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The struggle with staying private
It may seem intuitive to live a private life in the digital sphere, but it can be tricky to execute. The whole thing feels messier when you bring consumer safety and rights into it.
As a business, offering consumers personalized experiences can improve your customer service, ensure customers feel valued, and make your company feel more relatable. But it’s impossible to create a personalized service without asking customers for sensitive and personal information.
But with more companies requesting personal data and data breaches on the rise, consumers have become more aware of the importance of data privacy.
For this reason, they might be reluctant to hand over certain kinds of information as quickly as they used to. It makes for a tricky dilemma in the PR world as customer personalization has become essential to comms.
Let’s say your business already uses personalized text messaging to interact with customers. You may use a VoIP SMS service to send, organize, and consolidate these texts. This is a convenient way to tell customers about deals specific to their interests or inform them of relevant updates.
However, in order for the personalized element to work, consumers must enter details like their name, number, and email when they sign up. If they’re reluctant to do so, it’ll affect your communications and essentially how your business and service operates.
Consumers know that their online activity is being monitored and it can be difficult to downplay the importance of data privacy in some cases. Companies that don’t inform consumers where and how their data is being used risk losing customers who are reluctant to hand over their details. So, how can you strike the balance between data privacy and personalization in today’s world?
How to balance the importance of data privacy and personalization
It can be scary to leave a digital footprint, especially when your movements are recorded across platforms. Consumers have numerous fears such as bank fraud or wondering what to do if your identity is stolen. While legitimate, these concerns shouldn’t stop brands from being able to offer personalized experiences. Here are a few ways to strike a balance.
Keep it transparent
Consumers want to deal with businesses that are transparent and trustworthy. Gaining trust is also how you can retain existing customers and ensure they remain loyal to your brand. Keep the importance of data privacy in mind when you ask consumers to enter their information at any of your touchpoints.
For example, if you use a phone system for small business Toronto, you can be clear on call with consumers. Let them know exactly what information is required, how it will be used, and assure them of their privacy.
It’s reassuring when someone addresses privacy concerns as it makes consumers feel like the business is serious about keeping their personal data secure.
One way to increase the level of security of personal information would be to consider blockchain storage, which also offers greater accessibility and transparency.
Focus on relevance
It can be irritating when you subscribe to updates from a brand and suddenly your inbox is flooded with messages. As a business, it’s one thing to reach out to consumers when there’s an interesting offer or sale, but it’s another thing entirely to bombard them with spam texts and emails. The importance of data privacy can be balanced with personalization, but only if the personalized messaging is relevant to the consumer.
For example, you could send promotional alerts about a new brand launch if and when a consumer has signed up for texts of that nature. You can also use the information you’ve collected to check whether the consumer still requires those updates before sending them. Reassure the consumer that you understand the importance of data privacy by creating highly personalized experiences that feel worth it to them.
There are plenty of issues around the kind of consumer information you collect. You never know when a customer will raise questions about the importance of data privacy as it pertains to them and their information. In these cases, you need to make sure that you have all your legal, digital, and business ends covered.
It’s also important to check that you’re asking consumers to give only necessary data rather than random information. Consumers might issue a complaint if they feel they’re having to provide data that they don’t deem relevant. If you do have to deal with this issue, it’s good to have legal on your side so your brand image isn’t negatively impacted.
The bottom line
It can be easy to find the balance between the importance of data privacy and personalization if you understand how consumers think.
Considering that the nature of PR involves networking, building connections, and gathering consumer data to guide messaging, personalization is a crucial component of a successful campaign. And in today’s digital world, it’s a concept that creates more impact among consumers.
But personalization requires obtaining sensitive information that many people may be wary of. For this reason, it’s vital to build trust so people continue to engage with your work. By being transparent about how you use data and giving people the option to manage their personal details, you can ensure you adhere to data privacy while delivering an exceptional experience that puts clients first.