Consumers crave customised comms, but prize privacy

Companies are facing the dilemma of customers expecting personalisation during every brand interaction, but not trusting brands to keep their personal data secure and to use it responsibly, according to new data from Twilio.

The customer engagement platform’s State of Personalisation Report 2022 found that 62% of consumers expect personalisation, saying that a brand will lose their loyalty if their experience is not personalised.

Meanwhile, 49% will become repeat buyers if personalisation is offered. Yet, only 40% of consumers say they trust brands to use their data responsibly and keep it safe. 

The report is based on a consumer survey and a business survey that were conducted by Method Communications between April and May 2022.

There were a total of 3,450 respondents from Australia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom and United States, with at least 250 respondents from each country.

Twilio’s report shows lack of trust is increasingly affecting consumer buying decisions — 60% of consumers say trustworthiness and transparency are the most important traits of a brand, up from 55% in 2021. 

According to the Twilio report, 63% of consumers say they are fine with personalisation, as long as brands are using their own data and not data purchased or rented from third parties. 

Companies have long “rented” customer relationships from advertisers and social networks. These companies collect behavior and demographic data and then resell it as targetable audiences. 

However, sweeping privacy regulations — at both the government and corporate levels — are forcing companies to shift from renting to owning their customer relationships. 

Half of the companies Twilio surveyed said recent changes to data privacy regulations have made personalisation more difficult. 

On the other hand, with Google set to join Firefox and Safari in banning third-party cookies by the end of 2023, the shift to first-party data is no longer optional. 

Many companies are already responding to these changes in consumer preferences, regulations, and technology, with 43% of business leaders embracing first-party data because it provides better privacy for customers. 

Tech giants have fleets of data scientists and massive budgets to achieve personalisation at scale, but Twilio’s report shows the majority of businesses are still struggling to achieve omnichannel personalisation, despite three out of five respondents reporting increased investment in personalisation in 2022. The most common barriers include lack of technology, unclear ROI, lack of accurate data, and organisational impediments. 

Technologies such as customer data platforms give businesses the tools they need to achieve compliance while managing first-party data for personalisation. Customer data platforms collect first-party data at every customer touchpoint to create a single, unified view of the customer. 

Business leaders are embracing such technologies, with 53% investing in better technology to manage customer data. These companies are equipped to build deeper customer relationships.