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What to Consider When You're Considering Preference Management

operations planning preference management Aug 21, 2023

Preference management -- or the practice of letting your audiences decide how they want to engage with you -- is great. And oftentimes, it provides a vehicle that allows you to opt people down from a level of communication with you instead of opting them completely out.

Operationalizing this comes with a set of several considerations about which I talk with clients frequently. (And you should be sure you also know the difference between preference management and consent management.)

Take a look at the starter list of conversations I encourage you to have as you're building your plans:

  • Are you going to allow audiences to simply opt into less frequent communication, or are you going to also allow them to decide which content they want to receive from you based on a topic or subject area? If the former, what will "less" mean for you? If the latter, is your content already easily organized by these topic areas? If getting to either answer feels cumbersome, look for a way to present audiences with options that are less logistically overwhelming. 
  • Where will the option to self-select preferences be presented? Will it only be available every time you're offering the option to unsubscribe (such as in your email footer), or will you allow audiences to select their preferences right after they sign up for your email list? There are strategic advantages to either choice that should be considered.
  • Who decides what content is priority? If you're allowing audiences to opt into less frequent communication, someone needs to make the call on what content is most critical for receipt. Designate a decider and create the operational buy-in to ensure all teams who send communications will honor it.
  • Are your systems set up to ingest these preferences and integrate them throughout your entire tech stack? If you're going to give audiences choices, you need to be sure you can honor them. Operationalize your planning practices to do so. In today's world, I recommend looking into dedicated preference management systems and making solid tech and operations investments to retain your most valuable constituents instead of losing them.


Need support in untangling all of this? Take next steps to be prepared for the impact of privacy and preferences from both the legislative and tech response perspectives. Get customized support for your team.


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