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Heidi Bullock: Balancing Customer Data Opportunities and Privacy

5 minute read
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In our DXS leaders Q&A, Tealium's Heidi Bullock says the most successful companies balance privacy with personalization and bring value.

When navigating digital platforms across devices, customer data platforms (CDPs) step in to unify the customer touchpoints and create a personalized customer experience. 

“CDPs give companies the ability to deliver the best possible customer experience by always knowing the full picture of their customers across all channels,” said Heidi Bullock, Chief Marketing Officer at Tealium

Privacy is of utmost importance, though, creating a sort of paradox as companies aim to collect data while also protecting their customers. Heidi suggested that companies create reciprocal relationships with customers, balancing data use and privacy in order to build loyalty. 

Tealium is a customer data platform that uses tag management to connect your data and manage digital properties, and is a sponsor of Simpler Media Group’s recent DX Summit (DXS) Conference. To follow up on Heidi’s session, SMG spoke with her about how CDPs enhance customer experiences while also balancing privacy.

Gathering Data, Curating Journeys

Simpler Media Group: What makes an “ideal” digital experience? 

Heidi Bullock: The best digital experiences deliver what the buyer expects. That means meeting the buyer where they are in the journey and providing them with relevant, trusted and timely messages. 

For example, if a buyer has been researching a trip to Europe and they recently purchased a ticket, it would not be a great digital experience to then receive discount ads from an airline, after the purchase. Alternatively, it would be helpful to see an ad that highlighted a beachfront hotel in the same city. 

SMG: What role does a CDP play in customer experiences?

Bullock: A customer data platform (CDP) gathers every data point about a customer's interactions across channels (e.g. mobile app, website, call center, in-store, advertisement interactions, etc.), unifies it into one single customer profile and pushes the data back out through the next interaction with the customer, all in real time (microseconds). CDPs give companies the ability to deliver the best possible customer experience by always knowing the full picture of their customers across all channels. 

In a challenging business climate, CDPs open up more opportunities for companies to achieve business goals through advanced personalization, creating new audiences or suppressing irrelevant ones, seamlessly weaving privacy consent management into the experience, as well as leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict future customer preferences. 

SMG: Tell us about your favorite use cases of CDP. 

Bullock: It has been really rewarding to see the results of ABN AMRO’s program to create a personal bank in today’s digital age. Banks are a highly regulated industry that face extra scrutiny when it comes to compliance with privacy and security regulations. With this in mind, the bank uses its 360-degree customer views enabled by its CDP to improve customer experiences and thus, marketing campaign results. 

Platforms Versus Privacy

SMG: How do organizations gather and use data while maintaining privacy? 

Bullock: Knowing a customer’s preferences for privacy should be a top priority for businesses today. CDPs collect and store customers’ privacy preference indications in real-time and help companies propagate those preferences across their channels, like mobile, web, etc. 

The most successful companies balance privacy with personalization and understand this is an opportunity to exchange value with their audiences. Instead of prompting them to opt-out immediately upon entering the site, offer them something of value in exchange for them opting in to share their information with you. 

In today’s world, privacy consent management is a huge opportunity for businesses to build deeper connections and loyalty with their customers. 

Learning Opportunities

Illustration with a headshot of Heidi Bullock of Tealium to the left, a "DX Leaders" logo to top left, the words "Heidi Bullock Tealium" to the top right and the quote, "The most successful companies balance privacy with personalization and understand this is an opportunity to exchange value with their audiences," to the bottom right.

Opportunities for Optimization

SMG: Where do you see the biggest gaps between the optimal customer experience and reality? Why are companies missing the mark, and how can they do better?

Bullock: Call center management. If someone is calling in, they’ve likely got a problem. Everyone can easily recall a negative experience with a customer call center. These leave a mark on that customer’s perception of that brand for a long time. 

It’s essential that companies enable their call centers to know their customers when they’re calling in and use that interaction to convert that person into a brand loyalist. 

SMG: In your daily life, where do you see CDP and tag management arise? 

Bullock: The best CDPs collect data, unify it and activate it in real time. Tag management is a core component of data collection. 

When tag management is married with server-side data collection (cloud delivery), organizations have the ability to enrich that entire data set into a single view of the customer in real time to ultimately deliver more personalized, compliant experiences.

SMG: What are you watching or reading these days? TV, movies? Books, Audible? Which ones?

Bullock: Our marketing team just read “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor. It’s a fascinating book based on the science of positive psychology and how it can improve not only your professional life, but your personal life too. We got together as a team in San Diego and discussed what we learned and changes we want to make. I highly recommend it to anyone! 

Watch Heidi’s full Digital Experience Summit session on-demand here.

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