Lead with data transparency to create personalized customer journeys

Lead with data transparency to create personalized customer journeys

It can be tempting to collect a lot of customer data and figure out how you want to use it later — and even more tempting to collect data without informing customers due to fear of scaring them off. But today’s customer-centric businesses are transparent about data collection. So, leaders need a clear understanding of not only how their team uses customer data but also why data transparency is important for building trust.

Transparency in how you collect and use data to personalize experiences is crucial to gaining the trust of your customers. It also makes them more likely to share useful information with you. It might sound like an additional layer of complexity, but transparency is an essential part of data personalization.

Moving forward, data transparency is a requirement for doing business. Marketers and executives need to understand how being open and honest in the ways they collect and use information can create personalized journeys and improve customer relationships. Read on to learn what data transparency is and how to incorporate it into your marketing strategies.

In this article, we’ll cover:

What is data transparency?

Data transparency is the practice of using data intentionally and honestly, according to both the law and business ethics. Data transparency helps customers understand how businesses collect, use, store, and protect their data.

Companies collect an increasingly overwhelming amount of customer information. Instead of veiling their data practices behind a curtain, data transparency encourages businesses to be open about how they manage that information. This includes:

Keep in mind that this isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s the law. Data privacy legislation like GDPR and CCPA require businesses to practice data transparency.

More states and nations are rolling out their own privacy laws, so it’s only a matter of time before all businesses will need to embrace transparency for data and personalization.

The importance of transparency

Transparency is an essential element of customer trust. In fact, 62% of people trust businesses — which makes businesses more trusted than the government. But even so, customers have good reason to question how companies are using their data.

Most people don’t know what data they’re sharing with the companies they buy from. Only 25% of consumers knew they were sharing information about their location, and just 14% knew they were sharing their internet history. But 94% of consumers say it’s important to have control over the information they share and how companies use it.

Both regulated and unregulated industries need to care about transparency. Whether you’re beholden to industry regulations or not, it’s never been more important to ensure you’re transparent with customer data.

Data transparency statistics

Security breaches, credit card fraud, and identity theft are all too common, so consumers are becoming more familiar with the impact of sharing their data. In the last five years, 45% of Americans were the victim of a data breach and, as a result, 46% of consumers feel like they don’t have control over their information.

Transparency is the antidote to declining customer trust. Your business needs to be honest about how it collects, processes, stores, and destroys consumer data.

This isn’t just good for your bottom line — it can also help you better understand your customers. Violating trust can turn customers away for good. But if you can earn their trust from the start, they’re more likely to stand by you through thick and thin.

Plus, the more trusted the brand, the more willing consumers are to share their data. That’s going to make your data personalization efforts much easier. If customers aren’t sure whether they want to share data, you can always highlight the benefits of personalization to help them decide whether they want to share or not.

Best transparency practices for creating personalized journeys

You know you need data transparency, but it isn’t easy to do at scale. Before you embrace best practices for data transparency, it’s helpful to know who’s involved in collecting customer data in your business.

This usually includes:

You need departments to work together to figure out how to balance data transparency with personalized customer journeys effectively. Follow these best practices to embrace data transparency at every phase of the customer journey.

Be open about the data you collect and how it’s used

Don’t try to hide the fact that you collect customer data. Informing visitors about the types of information you collect and how it’s used will build trust.

At a minimum, this means you should add a privacy disclosure to your website and feature it in a prominent place. Many websites also add popups for this, but you need to ensure this doesn’t hurt the user experience.

For example, you might clearly display opt-out language in your email templates or create a preference center where customers can sign up for the types of communications they receive. You can also display a quick message that tells customers you know their location when you ask them to turn on location services in a mobile app.

You don’t want to scare people away, though, so highlight the benefits of sharing their data. Offering discounts, services, products, or content can encourage consumers to share their information.

Transparency is the antidote to declining customer trust. Your business needs to be honest about how it collects, processes, stores, and destroys consumer data.

Have consistent data collection processes

Consistency is the best way to ensure you remain ethical and compliant. It also reduces the possibility of losing or corrupting data.

Ask your IT department to help you create a consistent system for data management. The less manual effort required, the easier it will be for your team to stay compliant.

Of course, data regulations change, so review your data collection processes with IT and legal to stay on the right side of the law.

Don’t gather more than you need

Some businesses think that more data is better, but that’s not necessarily true. Key data points can help you create personalized experiences more quickly, but you don’t need to know everything about your audience. Data is a precious resource, but it can also become a liability.

Only track essential information for data personalization. Less data also means cheaper storage costs, which makes it easier to manage customer data at scale.

Make sure transparency is ongoing

You should be transparent throughout the customer journey. If customer data is going to be used for purposes other than what people agreed to, they should know about it.

It’s also a good idea to ensure new products, services, or back-end processes account for data transparency too. Consider forming a data transparency committee to conduct an annual review of your data transparency policies.

Build trust and create personalized customer journeys

Being transparent with how you’re collecting and using data helps build trust with customers and can help improve the quality of the data you collect.

When you’re ready to get started, review the data you’re currently gathering to figure out if you’re collecting the information you need to send your customers the right offers at the right time. You can also make sure you’re not collecting too much irrelevant data that slows down your marketing efforts.

Data transparency doesn’t have to be difficult. Solutions like Adobe Journey Optimizer help you turn data into personalized experiences for your customers, allowing you to share the right offers across the entire customer journey.

Learn more about how Adobe Journey Optimizer can help you deliver personalized experiences that adapt to customer behavior in real time.