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Preference Centers 101

A major part of building relationships with your customers is setting the tone for interactions with your communications tools within your organization. While it may seem basic to consider allowing your customers to select the desired frequency, content, and communications they receive; it is in fact, an area that is often overlooked and has potentially high impact on the perception your customers hold of your brand. 

When you understand what preference centers are and how to use them strategically, the tone a preference center can help you set with your customers can be hugely impactful and lead to the retention of your most valued customers. 


What is a preference center?

A preference center allows customers to set and adjust their communications preferences for content, format, frequency and other options. It provides subscribers more control over the communications they receive while allowing companies to deliver relevant and more personalized messages to their customers. A preference center manages much more than just email communications, it includes secure account alerts via multiple channels to make it a digital communications center.

The most important benefit of a preference center is the control that it grants your customer. Customers are willing to provide information known as Zero Party Data if they have some control over what happens to their personal data and if they receive something in return such as relevant content.


What are the different types of preference centers?

At Lev, we have four different types of preference centers we can build for our customers based on their immediate and longer term digital marketing needs. 

Basic Configurable: Based on a list-model, it simply allows customers to select whether or not they want to receive up to 5 different communications from you as well as unsubscribe. It is built using a predefined mobile-responsive template allowing for logo, color and verbiage changes.  

Moderate Customization:  Building on the framework of the mobile-responsive Basic Configurable preference center, this option provides a little more flexibility but isn’t quite a custom solution. Going beyond the list-model approach to incorporate some customization, this option allows your customers to experience the benefits of a custom preference center using preferred subscriber data, but keeps your organization out of the heavy lifting when it comes to relational data needs. It can be scoped for web access via iFrame.

Advanced Customization: A customized center allows marketers to personalize the page and brand it to look and feel similar to your company website and brand. A custom preference center can support subscriber data, relational data and supports multiple data sets. It can also support multiple languages including self-selection. Consolidated data management provides corporate-wide 360° view of subscribers and supports regulatory compliance. This preference center is also mobile-responsive.

Fully Dynamic: This center is a fully customizable preference center with custom design and verbiage, with dynamic content driven by Salesforce Marketing Cloud.   It can support multiple channels and provides CRM object updates as needed.  Another bonus is that it can support progressive profiling.  This type of preference center is perfect for brands who have very distinctly different audiences who have very different communication and content needs.


Determining Preference Center Strategy

When building and customizing your preference center, there are a couple questions you should take into consideration.

  • Are you giving the customer plenty of control over the personal data they share, the frequency of communication they receive and the channel in which they receive communication?
  • Have you given customers the option to share more than one point of contact, such as multiple email addresses or a phone number to receive SMS messages?
  • Are you highlighting the value proposition of your marketing programs and setting clear expectations on the frequency in which a customer would receive it?
  • Does your preference center feel like an extension of your website? Is it easily navigable and mobile-friendly?
  • Would you gain benefit from collecting your subscribers’ social media handles?

Having a well-executed and highly-strategic preference center can level up the ways in which you maintain touch points with your customers. A well-built preference center builds your trust as a responsible company, who cares about its customers. By creating a permissions-based relationship, you’re showing respect for your email subscribers and enabling two-way communication between you and your audiences.