Understanding consumers expectations and the implications of data regulations can help marketers successfully (and legally) create better customer outcomes.
More brands are adopting an experience-driven approach to meet consumer expectations, and martech platforms are prioritizing experience in their development strategies. Companies are also adopting martech to help manage the complexities of privacy regulations. GDPR and the upcoming CCPA are designed to restrict how companies collect and use consumer data. As we come upon the one-year anniversary of GDPR, companies continue to grapple with making the most of their data to customize their customers’ experiences in a compliant manner.
Closing the experience vs. expectation gap
Customer Data Platforms (CDP) such as Lytics, SAP’s Customer Data Cloud and Segment have aggressively entered the martech space over the past two years, offering a variety of solutions for importing customer data from multiple sources to unify customer records. The data is integrated into the platform, cleaned and organized and gives marketers a better view of their customers. Additionally, CDPs allow marketers to externally activate their data by pushing it out to other martech platforms, enabling the delivery of highly-personalized, seamless, targeted digital experiences.
According to Ben Jackson, general manager of SAP’s Customer Data Cloud, we’re far from creating the seamless experiences that customers expect. Many organizations struggle to keep up with managing the volume of data they have and how to apply it to create meaningful experience-driven campaigns. Add in the intricacies of managing data in compliance with laws like GDPR and CCPA, and digital marketing efforts could be easily disrupted.
In addition to the new laws, Jackson believes a common challenge that organizations face is an unacknowledged disparity between consumer expectations and what a brand actually delivers.
“There is a gap between the experience organizations think they are delivering and what customers and consumers actually feel they are receiving from those organizations,” said Jackson. “When we look at the experience economy, organizations will find it hard to compete on product and pricing – the traditional methods of competing — they will instead have to compete with the experience level.”
Capitalize on regulation to gain competitive advantage
Jackson indicated that organizations should use GDPR and CCPA to their competitive advantage, and incorporate the laws into the framework of best practices. Consent should be a standard for organizations regardless of where they are located — and should allow your customers to control their data. Consent management tools and many CDPs support consent mechanisms for customers to control their data.
“The customer has control to access, delete accounts, or ask to be forgotten,” Jackson said. Giving customers access to their own data gives them more control over their digital experiences.
CCPA is coming. Are you ready?
Mana Ionescu, founder and chief executive officer of Lightspan Digital, a digital agency that provides strategic guidance to its clients, has noticed the topics of experience-driven marketing and CCPA and GDPR coming into play more frequently. Ionescu points to a knowledge gap around these topics and their effects on US-based businesses.
“A lack of understanding of how vendors have adapted to new regulations, coupled with CCPA going into effect in January 2020 has caused businesses to struggle with these issues,” she said. “For example, a retailer in Chicago with an e-commerce store that doesn’t meet CCPA criteria, may not realize they are affected by CCPA because they operate exclusively in Illinois. However, the CCPA covers California residents who make transactions outside of the state as well.”
With CCPA just around the corner — the law goes into effect in January 2020 — marketers should be leading conversations at their companies about how the CCPA will impact their data collection processes and how compliance can help deliver better, more seamless digital experiences for their customers.