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Ken Magill

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Responsys Claims First-of-its-Kind Preference Center

4/30/13

By Ken Magill

Email service provider Responsys yesterday unveiled what it claims is a first-of-its-kind preference center that provides clients a unified view of customer permissions and preferences across marketing channels.

Dubbed Responsys Interact Preference, the new service allows marketers to “gather preferences everywhere customer relationships exist. Whether they’re shopping in a store, engaging with a brand on Facebook, or browsing a mobile site, consumers can … share how they’d like brands to communicate with them,” the company said in a release.

Marketers are required to honor email opt-outs by law. Some go a step further and allow subscribers to express preferences, such as “email me once a week.”

According to Responsys, most firms have their customer preferences stored in multiple databases that have been “stitched together” by their IT departments.

“Preference centers have been around since the beginning of email marketing,” said Kyle Christensen, Responsys’s vice president of product marketing. “What’s changed is that marketers have started increasing the channels they communicate with people through, so it’s not just a database of email addresses. You start to have databases of people you’re allowed to send SMS messages to, or people you’re allowed to contact via social networks. What’s more, you have customers who are interacting with companies across different touch points.”

He added: “You might have somebody who goes into a store and says, ‘yes I want to hear from you’ after a purchase and then goes home and tries to change their preferences on your website. What’s happened is marketers have these silos of preference data and you’re left with an incomplete picture of who you’re allowed to contact and when.”

When asked if the service was simply a multichannel suppression file, Christensen said: “I would say it’s more than that. One the one hand, yes, it is a multichannel suppression file. I can use this to make sure I’m not sending messages out to the wrong people.

“On the other hand it gives you an audit trail that that layers your suppression information with when you’re actually sending these cross-channel communications out so as a marketer you’re protected from someone lodging a complaint against you. So if someone says: ‘I got an email from you and I have opted out on your website from receiving that communication,’ because [the new service] is multichannel, we can go back and say ‘yeah you did opt out a month ago, but when you went into our store a week ago, you opted back in.’ So you have this source of truth that spans your website, your physical locations and your mobile devices and your point of sale.”

Responsys Interact Preference was created in a partnership with preference management firm PossibleNOW, a company that had been offering the service as a standalone.

According to Responsys, the deal with PossibleNOW is exclusive.

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