Getting Relevant Without Getting Creepy – 3 Keys to Driving Offer Relevance Without Losing Trust

As my friend Jamie Tedford wrote last week, it’s becoming increasingly tricky to find balance between relevance and trust in marketing and advertising. Customers want targeted offers, but they don’t want “creepy” offers. It’s an important topic for every Communications Service Provider (CSP) I work with, and not just for moral reasons. They’re incredibly conservative about using customer data in marketing because, simply, every dollar of their revenue depends on consumer trust.

So I wanted to share how some of our CSP customers have managed to get more relevant in marketing without getting creepy. It’s less about the data, and more about re-imagining their overall approach to take advantage of digital channels. Here are three hallmarks of those transformations:

1. A pivot from “offer-centric” to “customer-centric” thinking

They realized if they tried to personalize using traditional segments and offers they’d end up with a completely unmanageable matrix of millions of low performing offers and segments. So they now start instead with the customer as an individual, and then use technology to rank hundreds of offers in real-time based on their relevance at the moment of truth.

2. Incorporating real-time context in offer decisions

Since there’s nothing creepier than making your pitch at the wrong time or in the wrong place, they all now incorporate real-time context into offer selection. Here, they started with the easy channels (e.g. inbound, retail, web, IVR) and are building out from there to give customers contextually-relevant offers.

3. Improving cross-channel consistency

As computing power increases, it is no longer a requirement to make trade-offs between volume and relevance. Many are now using a single marketing “brain” that drives offers consistently across ALL the required channels, even high volume ones, and delivers cross-channel consistency.

You can hear more about one set of results here. But the punchline is relevance and accept rates are way up, and even customers that decline offers are happier – a critical indicator that trust is intact. Customers feel more understood and do not feel their privacy has been compromised. These CSPs are improving relevance without getting within a country mile of creepy. And in a world increasingly consumed with privacy issues, they look smarter every day.