Balancing Privacy and Personalization

Since people first began creating commerce through trade, such trade has been governed by an unspoken principle: the perception of equal value exchange. We must achieve this same balance between privacy and personalization. More changes to third-party and first-party cookies are upon us. What the marketing industry as a whole does next must properly balance consumer choices including privacy, with personalized and relevant consumer experiences including content and marketing.

Based on the industry’s direction which is sure to continue, there’s only one way to move forward and build durable relationships with consumers for the sake of personalization. This can only be achieved by providing a transparent way for consumers to declare their identities.

It is not necessary to ask consumers to create an account and log in to every website they touch. Instead, there could be a more lightweight way for consumers to raise their hands. For instance, in a digital world, what’s the equivalent of a consumer walking into a brick-and-mortar store to browse and shop? It could be as simple as a brand asking the consumer for an email address, not to sign up for a newsletter or create an account, but to bring the consumer back to the product pages last viewed. This hand raise is the best way to replace cookies and walled garden owned device identifiers.

Let’s also be real, without giving consumers a viable way to raise their hand and control this, if the marketing industry does not give consumers a way to raise their hands and control their identity and privacy choices, the industry will look for alternative solutions. Probabilistic solutions, third-party data vendors, and others are here to help fill the gap. That may work for now, but longer term, this approach will lead to more privacy concerns and regulations as we continue to spiral.

The transparent declarative hand raise, in the form of I give you an email, you personalize my experiences, not only supports the consumers desire for personalization, but also gives the consumer clear means to control privacy. A consumer wants to end the relationship can rescind that declaration and revoke consent, knowing by doing so, personalization will be lost.

This kind of quick entry provides the consumer with the ultimate choice. Remember, 72% of consumers don’t want to lose that personal experience. If consumers find default irrelevant experiences unpleasant as I do, then consumers will happily and quickly raise their hands and identify themselves. Once they do that, they’ll be treated with personalized experiences that are free of all the cookie and identifier madness we’ve created for ourselves.