Jun 02, 2023

Leverage AJO to Protect Customer Data, Maintain Trust

Matt Szwerc

Matt Szwerc

Leverage AJO to Protect Customer Data, Maintain Trust

Data privacy is a hot-button issue that’s increasingly gaining attention around the world. In the past five years, governments — including in the European Union and the state of California — have imposed stringent requirements on how businesses use and protect the consumer data they collect, with significant financial penalties for non-compliance.

The business impact of an incident goes well beyond any fines imposed. An IBM study of U.S. companies found that direct costs of a data breach, including lost revenue, added up to $9.44 million on average.

Losing customer trust can indirectly extend the fallout of an incident, as 55% of consumers will never repurchase from a brand after a breach in trust according to Adobe. Businesses obviously need to follow strict data privacy and governance practices to build trust and retain customers, however, only 41% of executives listed that as a top priority for 2022.

This disconnect between customer needs and company goals provides an opportunity for brands to distinguish themselves through transparency, security, and responsible use of data.

While this requires an organization-wide focus to do so effectively, companies using Adobe Journey Optimizer (AJO) can leverage a few features to simplify the process for their marketing efforts.

Real-Time Customer Profile

Adobe’s research revealed that 72% of consumers believe that poor personalization decreases their trust in a brand. Meanwhile, today’s businesses collect data from a huge number of sources. IDG Research found that enterprise teams draw from an average of 400 data sources, with 20% drawing from 1,000 or more. Data silos and bad data stemming from these sources can lead to inconsistent experiences across channels, alienating your customers.

AJO utilizes Experience Platform’s Real-Time Customer Profile to unify the data from each of those sources and stitch it together to form a singular view of the customer. Even better, this data is actionable for segmentation and personalization as soon as it enters the database.

Users can view the Identity Graph to understand how customer identities are linked across devices and channels to ensure that every touchpoint is associated to the customer profile and factored into personalized experiences.

Transparency and Control

Maintaining trust also depends on whether data is used in the way companies say it will be. Transparency and control over how data is used is the No. 1 way to maintain trust. Subscribers should understand what content they will receive, through which channels, and how often they will receive it. They should also be able to adjust each of those factors based on their own preferences.

In AJO, these can be managed using the Consent schema, custom actions, and required marketing actions. It’s important that the Consent schema factor in both organizational policies as well as the opt-in/unsubscribe status in relation to the locale in which the customer is located. When managed correctly, proper consent controls and transparency reduce risk, increase customer trust, and improve the performance of marketing campaigns by messaging only the customers who want to receive that content.

Email unsubscribes in AJO can be handled in three different ways. The first option is to host a form on a  third-party landing page and implement an API call when recipients submit the form. You will then insert an external link directing to this page in the Email Designer. This gives you control over the experience and allows visitors to fine-tune their preferences instead of opting out entirely.

The second option is to insert a one-click unsubscribe in the Email Designer. This link will update the opt-in attribute and send the user to the “thank you” page defined in the email.

A final option is available with email clients that support unsubscribe links in the email header. The header link gives users a straightforward method to unsubscribe, discouraging spam complaints and keeping your database engaged. Because this doesn’t have universal support across email clients, it should be utilized in conjunction with one of the first two methods.SMS opt-outs are handled differently depending on the type of message. Long code messages recognize standard replies, such as STOP and UNSUBSCRIBE. Your provider will send a standard reply and AJO will update the profile status in real time. Keywords for short code numbers are not handled by AJO, so opt-out will need to be handled by the third-party provider. Ultimately, companies are responsible for their own compliance, so it’s important to proactively confirm how this is handled.Opt-outs for push notifications do not need to be addressed with AJO – users can manage their own permissions within their device settings. It’s still often beneficial to give users further control over the notifications they receive by allowing them to update their preferences based on their own interests. This should be handled within the app, then sent to AJO for segmentation.

Data Governance

Establishing data governance policies and safeguards minimizes the chances of an incident and prevents catastrophic customer experiences. In AJO, this is done by creating labels, actions, and policies to prevent specific fields from being transmitted to third-party systems.Review each field in the data model and apply a “sensitive data” label for anything that should not be shared outside of AJO. Then create a custom action and a governance policy that will restrict the use of sensitive fields in those actions. While this is just one part of a successful compliance program, it will reduce the odds of some of the most harmful data breaches.Businesses should carefully consider how much access a user needs to do their job. Providing more access than necessary creates a risk of accidental breaches and may be in itself a violation of data privacy laws. Access can be controlled at multiple levels. Organizations with multiple sandboxes should consider which sandboxes a user needs access to based on how the sandboxes are differentiated.

  • Users who only need to view assets and provide feedback should be assigned a Journey Viewer profile, as that is read-only and won’t let them create anything.

  • Users who will build content will need a Journey or Message Manager profile, depending on whether they will create journeys or just assets that will be used in the journeys.

  • Journey Approvers, Journey Data Managers, and Journey Administrators should be used carefully, as these carry the highest risk.

Within each profile, admins can modify individual permissions to further tailor what users will be able to do. If necessary, additional profiles can be created to meet the needs of your organization. Access levels reduce the chances of negative events that will harm customer trust.If an issue does occur, Journey Optimizer records the metadata for every update, and these audit logs can be viewed in Adobe Experience Platform. By reviewing the actions that led to the event, businesses can identify updates to policies and training to prevent further occurrences. These logs are also accessible to comply with data protection regulations.

The Bottom Line

Customers increasingly expect businesses to responsibly handle the data that they provide, and failing to do so has significant financial and reputational costs. Journey Optimizer users should take advantage of the settings, controls, and features that help respect the privacy of customers and maintain the hard-earned trust required for strong results.

Conversation Icon

Contact Us

Ready to achieve your vision? We're here to help.

We'd love to start a conversation. Fill out the form and we'll connect you with the right person.

Searching for a new career?

View job openings