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How marketers can turn consent from a compliance challenge into a business opportunity


“Click here if you wish to unsubscribe.” “Not the intended recipient? Click to be removed from our database.” Sound familiar? Consumers are being inundated with marketing emails they haven’t signed up for. It’s an irritating problem exacerbated by complicated processes that make it difficult for them to withdraw their consent. Even worse, they often continue to receive unwanted marketing emails after withdrawal. Is it any wonder that they lose their trust in companies? It’s why so many consumers want to exercise their rights with regards to processing their personal date in order to carefully choose the type of personalized marketing content they receive and from whom?

Finding stored customer consents

It’s not just unwanted mail shots that are a problem for marketers. The storage of captured personal data is also a matter of compliance. As an example, a consumer filling in a physical form to gain entry to an event is, essentially, giving their consent for their data to be used in the future. Even if that form is simply stored in a filing cabinet somewhere after the event, it’s the responsibility of the company holding it to safeguard the personal information it contains (email address, telephone number, etc.). We have heard instances of a customer suddenly realizing they’ve inadvertently given their consent in this way and asking to have their information removed, only for the company to have no idea which cabinet it’s in, where it was collected, and for how long they’ve had it.

We live in a data-rich world so this challenge of how to manage its consensual use is only going to get bigger and bigger. But is there another way of looking at it? At Capgemini, we believe that rather than consent being a problem, it can be turned into a business opportunity. Legitimate consent management ensures honest, compliant marketing. But more than that, it offers the potential for new revenue as customers who have legitimately consented can be targeted with relevant, timely offers and messages, which is, after all, what all marketers want to achieve.

The starting point for this is typically a positive customer experience (CX). A good CX rests on three drivers — effectiveness, ease, and emotion. Get this right at every step of the customer journey and it is likely they will be more willing to give their consent.

As an example, we analyzed the customer journey around engagement with an automotive OEM. The company had a large number of existing customers who had never given their consent. Data regulations meant that the company could no longer legally target these customers, thus losing out on the potential to inform them about new model launches and value-added services. We looked at the customer journey and found multiple points at which incentivization could help boost the volume of consents. Some were physical and some digital, from the customer arriving at reception, through events and discovery tours, to financing, after sales, and more. A poster with a QR code in the showroom (digital); a game of chance or raffle at an event where the customer has to give personal information (physical); agreement to receive regular updates on a car’s functionalities (digital and physical); a test drive, requiring a form for insurance (physical and digital via a digital signature).

Bringing together compliance and sales success

As the above illustrates, the list of entry points on the customer journey offers boundless opportunity to request and receive consent. And by increasing consent volumes, you reach more customers and sell more product.

What’s important is the customer experience at each of the touchpoints. A warm welcome at reception as a customer fills in their personal details is a great starting place. And remember that with consent comes compliance. This makes a solid business case for focusing on legitimate consent management. One facet of this might be investment in a central consent management engine. This could offer a single view of a customer’s consent status, whatever the entry point or whether it is physical or digital. If the consent is physical, a process by which forms are digitally scanned as an agreed best practice will enable them to be transferred to the central repository to ensure a single source of truth.

At Capgemini, we don’t believe transforming your approach to consent should be just another compliance-driven project. Rather, it should be a profit-orientated project with the added benefit of increasing compliance. That’s why designing an individual target picture and calculating the business case (efficiency) is always part of any consent project we help to implement. And we begin with an assessment of how your company treats consent management — Where are consents stored? How does this influence marketing processes? How is withdrawal handled?

Compliance is often viewed as a necessary evil and rarely as an enabler of sales. As the above suggests, we have a different viewpoint. Complying with the requirement to gain consent offers marketing teams a legitimate opportunity to send targeted and willingly received mailshots, offers and social media content. All of which can drive sales.

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