What is a Preference Centre and why do you need one?

Marketing innovation is moving at a rapid pace.

AI, personalisation, automation. It’s a very exciting time to be part of the industry.

However, it’s also important that brands don’t forget the essentials.

If they do, they risk the foundations of their marketing activity. And if the foundations are shaky, more advanced tactics soon begin to feel the impact.

Preference Centres are part of that essential marketing mix. Not only do they allow you deliver more relevant communications, they allow you to give some data control back to the the consumer.

But even so, some brands are not yet familiar with Preference Centres. Or at least don’t understand the benefits.

At Pure360, we are big fans of Preference Centres. So in this blog post we will introduce you to them, and talk you through just some of the benefits.

What is a Preference Centre?

A Preference Centre refers to a form which allows email recipients to choose the emails and communications that a brand sends to them.

This could include different categories of email, the frequency that they receive these emails, the channels, and whether they want to opt out.

It is also a space where the recipient can keep their details up to date, such as their name, email address, and even birthday.

Preference Centres are particularly popular for brands offering a wide variety of communications, such as newsletters, promotions, and company updates.

Below you will find some examples of Preference Centres from different brands:

ASOS

The Guardian

 

Tails.com

Made

 

Why do we need Preference Centres?

Hopefully by now you’re beginning to understand what a Preference Centre is. You may even recognise some of the above examples.

But what is the big deal with Preference Centres? And why do brands need one?

Give subscribers control

One of the main reasons that brands need a Preference Centre is because it gives their recipients more control.

Marketing has advanced to such levels of sophistication that brands have a lot of influence over the next steps that a consumer takes in the buying journey.

And while this is an incredibly useful tactic for both brands and their consumers, it is still important that the customer ultimately has control over their journey.

That’s because the inbox is a largely private space. It is part of the user’s online world. And morally, consumers should have the option to easily control what is in this space. Whether that be the amount of emails, or the content within those emails.

Brands can even include the option to opt out for specific emails that feature themes that could be delicate or upsetting for some. This could include emails and promotions around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, for instance.

Reduce unsubscribes

Unsubscribes aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

If a recipient really doesn’t want to hear from a brand anymore, it’s best that they are no longer on the email list. Then the brand can focus their efforts on recipients who really want to hear from them.

However, it’s important that brands lose email recipients for the right reasons.

Often, recipients may want to hear from a brand a little less, or may be receiving emails that aren’t relevant to them. If their only way of managing this is to unsubscribe, then this is the action they will take.

By offering a Preference Centre, brands can provide another option. Recipients can tailor frequency and relevancy of their communications, without having to unsubscribe.

So the brand keeps an important subscriber, and can improve their relationship by offering them the content they actually want to receive.

Gather important data

As well as giving control back to the recipient, Preference Centres are also useful for brands in understanding more about their audience.

Preference Centres gather key information about recipients, such as their name, demographics, and interests. This can help brands to increase the personalisation of their communications via segmentation.

For instance, a brand could send different clothing range promotions to male as opposed to female recipients. Or based on their location, a brand can send out store-specific updates and sales.

And segmentation has been proven to achieve 100.95% higher click-through rates than non-segmented campaigns. So it is a tactic worth implementing.

This data isn’t only useful for segmentation. It helps a brand to gain a higher-level view of who their audience are to help inform strategy and overall marketing campaigns. Understanding your audience is an essential part of being a marketer. And Preference Centres can make the initial data gathering process much simpler.

Promote your communications offering

Last but not least, Preference Centres provide an opportunity for brands to promote other emails in their offering.

Because Preference Centres aren’t only for recipients who want to receive less emails. Instead, if a brand has multiple email lists and categories, they can encourage recipients to check in on their own Preference Centre and opt-in to receive a wider range of communications.

And this isn’t only relevant to email. Brands can promote other channels such as SMS and mail. Which the recipient may not have been originally aware of.

This is further useful information for brands to tailor their communications with. For instance, if they notice more of their recipients signing up to SMS updates, they may choose to put more time and resource into getting these communications spot on.

Meet the author

Komal Helyer

VP Marketing