Precision marketing can quell privacy fears

Tools able to push customized marketing messages allow customers to specify privacy level and choose preferred channel of communications so businesses can send most relevant content, says exec.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Armed with the right tools, businesses can use precision marketing to send relevant messages to their customers who, in turn, are able to fine-tune the level of privacy and communication channel they are most comfortable with.

In interview with ZDNet Asia, Rohan Vaidya, Asia-Pacific South general manager at InfoPrint Solutions, said privacy will play "a very big role" in driving the adoption of precision marketing, which is the customization of marketing messages to fit individual customers.

"Based on the privacy level requested by the customers, precision marketing will allow business rules to be defined very clearly and all channels of communications to the customers can be controlled," Vaidya said.

He noted that customers are more likely to follow up on a marketing offer if it is relevant to them.

Such targeted marketing are best suited for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies, which in the course of their business are able to to accumulate a fair amount of data on their customers and map their behaviors, he explained. B2C companies are typically from industries such as telecommunication, banking, hospitality and insurance, he added.

Vaidya noted that while the concept of direct marketing has been around for many years, it never really caught on due to the effort businesses will have to invest to integrate software and services, in order to achieve the desired results.

In addition, companies will need business intelligence or business analytic tools to profile customers, he said. Some also lack sufficient understanding of business processes, IT infrastructure, domain knowledge and the right tools to manage such marketing campaigns, he added.

Within the organization, conflict may further arise over which department should be responsible for the cost of acquiring and maintaining such tools, he said, noting that this can prove challenging.

"The marketing team believes it is the IT department that has to invest, while the IT department thinks it should come from the marketing budget," he said.

Uniformed marketing for mobile devices
According to Vaidya, the emergence of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets presents a unique opportunity for companies. He explained that these devices are personalized and allow companies to talk to customers on a one-on-one basis.

Enterprises should take note that customers want a uniformed user experience when accessing content sent by a company, he said. For instance, customers will be confused if the physical copy of their bill is not presented in the same format as the copy that is accessible online, he noted.

Market players such as InfoPrint are looking to provide tools designed to help companies address such issues and deliver consistent marketing messages. For example, Vaidya said his company's Advanced Function Presentation Architecture can repurpose electronic documents so that the look-and-feel of the output--whether it is a printed copy or an electronic copy--looks the same on any device.

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