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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Implementing Preference Management: Moving From Discussion to Action

The final post of a five-part series about making the case for preference management

Implementing Preference Management: Moving From Discussion to Action
Here's an all-too familiar scenario: senior leadership recognizes the need for better, more efficient customer engagement and understands that a sophisticated preference management solution is a necessary prerequisite to achieving that goal. Preference management is listed as a priority and handed to IT for a feasibility and cost study. The study reveals significant challenges and results in a gloomy report that it is prohibitively expensive, requires an unreasonable timetable or is deemed impossible given the enterprise’s current infrastructure. Discouraged by the result, senior leadership shelves the initiative, only to return to it during the next budget/planning cycle.

It's an unfortunate pattern but one than can be broken. The key, in many cases, is creating a smaller goal and letting the preference management initiative prove itself prior to larger investment or broader expansion. Here are three simple preference management actions (offered in order of complexity) that can actually be proposed, piloted, budgeted and achieved quickly:

  1. Offer opt-down functionality in your email marketing: Instead of presenting customers with an all-or-nothing engagement, give them the power to tailor communications to suit their interests. Offering an opt-down option drastically reduces opt-outs and helps marketers focus messaging on topics of interest. 
  2. Install a website preference center: Create an easy-to-use portal where prospects and customers can create individual profiles, select topics of interest, preferred delivery channels and pace of communications. Preference centers provide the ability for customers to maintain their preferences as their interests change over time.
  3. Expand your preference collection with a limited starter program: Preference management should be present at every interaction point between brand and customer, such as mobile, social media, in-store, contact center and more. However, these initiatives require approval from many stakeholders and can quickly become bogged down or even abandoned. Identify a specific brand or line of business to use as a starter program to prove preference management ROI and gain momentum before seeking company-wide application. 

Approaching preference management as a series of actionable steps makes it easier to plan and earn organizational buy-in.  The challenge of making the case for preference management in an enterprise environment can be complex and multi-faceted. In many ways, it quickly becomes a process of simplification - clear delineation of what it is, why it is important and how to begin.

Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace. 

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 

Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda

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