• With the era of new privacy laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S., consumers have a number of new rights that companies must abide by, including the right to have access to and delete data, and opt out of processing. Under these new laws, companies need to create methods for individuals to make these rights requests.

    To the average consumer, however, these new rights became known to them through one main channel—email. When GDPR took effect, many inboxes were deluged with emails attesting to the senders’ compliance with the new regulation, although some took a more creative route. This shows that many companies still think of email as a primary channel to communicate with their audiences. So why do they make it so easy to unsubscribe?

    The origins of the unsubscribe button

    Simply put, adding an unsubscribe button was the easiest way to comply with laws such as the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003; the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), known as one of the toughest email marketing laws in the world; GDPR, and many more. 

    When a user decides that they no longer want to receive marketing messages, they’re usually only given one option—an all-or-nothing unsubscribe option. What about the middle? The customer might actually want to stay in touch and keep receiving messages, but not at the current frequency. 

    Centralize consumer communications

    Enter the need for a preference center. Having a central place for an individual to manage their privacy creates a positive user experience. Privacy laws are steeped in principles such as transparency and choice. Making audiences jump through hoops to indicate their privacy choices or only giving them an all-or-nothing option negatively impacts the customer relationship. 

    Yet the majority of businesses don’t provide their customers with the chance to customize their experience. According to an eMarketer study, 69% of U.S. internet users wanted control over the branded emails they receive, yet just 10% of retailers say they meet this expectation well.

    The companies that go above and beyond the law to create a central portal to make it easy for people to make their communication preferences known have a higher chance of retaining that customer. 

    Building a better preference center

    Let’s take a look at examples of preference centers in action. Xfinity provides many different categories for customers to personalize, and gets very granular while still managing to be clear and understandable from a user-experience perspective:A complete privacy dashboard, explanation of its privacy commitment, and individual product privacy settings are available for customers at Microsoft:However, you don’t need to get that detailed to provide extra value for your customers—allowing them the opportunity to downgrade communications can go far. 

    Bed, Bath, and Beyond allows customers to select from a range of email communications, from opting into receiving offers and coupons to in-store offers only to no emails at all. What works especially well about this is that they spell out how many emails the customer can expect with each option.

    Putting the individual in control of the communication messaging creates a greater sense of connection and ultimately loyalty to the company. Loyalty turns to trust which equates to a long-term relationship and ultimately sales. 

    Privacy isn’t only about creating a consent box, privacy notice, or cookie banner as required by GDPR or CCPA. At its core is trust—will the company treat the individual as a data point, or will it engage with the customer or prospect on their terms? When done right, privacy can foster a relationship where the customer is at the center of the marketing ecosystem. 

    To learn more about how privacy can be a brand-building experience—and other trending topics—register for the RampUp: Worldwide Virtual Summit. It’s free!

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