Blog April 15, 2021 |

How Consent Management Platforms Fail Marketing

Consent management platforms (CMP) entered the tech landscape at the perfect time.

Companies operating in the EU scrambled to comply with the game-changing General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (GDPR) in 2018. A nearly identical scenario ensued before the similar California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) officially became law in early 2020.

The primary solution many enterprise brands invested in to aid their new (or revamped) consumer privacy-centric strategies? Built-for-purpose consent management platforms.

And these tools were (ostensibly) the best choices for these brands at the time.

After all, standalone CMPs are built specifically to help businesses meet the legal obligation of informing visitors of consent opt-out options in a user-friendly manner and, in turn, help enterprise marketers amend their data collection and governance processes.

But, as recent Gartner research indicates, consent management platforms have now reached the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” point of the marketing technology hype cycle.

Why? Because many CMPs haven’t quite lived up to the hype since their inception.

They’ve assuredly helped innumerable organizations ensure GDPR and CCPA compliance — and steer clear of hefty financial penalties — but they haven’t helped these businesses truly transform their consent-focused strategies or streamline their marketing efforts.

The (numerous) unfulfilled promises of consent management platforms

Onboarding a consent management platform that is compliant with IAB’s Transparency and Consent Framework and has proven to help brands manage the consent statuses for all contacts in their tech ecosystems has been a top priority for enterprises in recent years.

But many CMPs have made certain claims that simply aren’t true, including:

  • Seamless integration with other tools in companies’ technology stacks

  • Ease of use for non-IT personnel (see: everyday marketing professionals)

  • Hands-on assistance to advise CMP ‘owners’ regarding data governance

  • Consent messaging design guidance to ensure a quality CX for site visitors

Each of these overpromises has left the leaders at large-scale companies who’ve invested considerable money in these platforms unimpressed — and searching for answers.

Speaking with AdExchanger, Gartner VP, Distinguished Analyst Andrew Frank noted the biggest issue organizations run into with built-for-purpose consent management platforms pertains to knowing what to look for in a CMP and how to best use such a solution:

  • “Data governance and integration requirements are seldom fully understood at the outset, so companies often wind up over budget, yet still lacking critical capabilities.”

Put another way? Standalone consent management platforms explain their value well. But too often, CMPs leave brands to learn how to master the technology, connect it with their other systems, and make the consented data stored in them actionable on their own.

That means marketers whose companies have invested in CMPs are left to sync the platform with their email service provider, campaign management tool, and adtech, among other solutions and determine how to liberate CMP-updated data across channels.

And that means missed opportunities across their marketing programs, including:

  • Inadequate (or nonexistent) one-to-one marketing to target prospects and customers

  • The inability to implement high-converting customer lifecycle orchestration activities

  • High churn (and lost revenue) due to customer engagement efforts that miss the mark

Thankfully, enterprise marketers and their leadership teams have another, more viable option for collecting consent and sending consent updates to their core technologies for activation.

Moving from a traditional CMP to tech with consent management functionality

The best consent management technology available to your organization today is a solution that helps you put customer identity at the center of your marketing and tech stack.

For instance, certain customer data platforms (CDPs), like BlueConic, have built-in consent management functionality. Technology like this is your best bet for handling core tasks associated with CCPA and GDPR compliance (e.g., processing personal data and data subject requests) and properly utilizing your consented first-party data.

Specifically, the beauty of a CDP with consent management functionality is:

  • It’s entirely owned and operated by marketing — meaning you don’t have to rely on assistance from IT or an external agency to access and activate your data.

  • It connects with every system in your stack — meaning you can process data for contacts in real time and send consent updates to those solutions in real time.

  • It normalizes and resolves customers’ identities in complete profiles — meaning their consent statuses are accounted for (and 100% accurate) at all times.

  • It offers robust features like multi-dimensional segmentation — meaning consent updates for all contacts inform which segments to enter or fall out of dynamically.

  • It enables marketers to test different types of consent messaging and design formats across their websites and even personalize them to specific visitors — meaning you can deliver bespoke experiences to individuals.

With BlueConic’s consent management capabilities, in particular, customers’ profiles are updated instantaneously to feature their most recent consent statuses. Something many standalone consent management platforms don’t offer companies.

Simply put, you lose the speed to understand contacts’ consent in the moment with a consent management platform that lives siloed from your principal database technology.

Aside from the above benefits of switching to more robust tech with consent management capabilities, the cost savings of eliminating a redundant CMP (or one that’s difficult to integrate in your stack) can provide much-needed flexibility for your business.

Individualizing your consent management approach essential for a high-quality CX

Even with advanced technology with consent management functionality like a CDP at the heart of your stack, you still need an end-to-end consent strategy (an integral component of your front-end CX management) to make the most of the solution.

Specifically, you need a concerted strategy that individualizes consent messaging to each prospect and customer, provides a high-quality experience for them, and refreshes their consent preferences in their persistent customer profile dynamically.

You may not think personalization plays a role in consent management.

But tailoring consent messaging to each contact who merits such messaging (e.g., first-time visitors, visitors returning to your site for the first time after cookie expiration) is a must to deliver a premier CX while maintaining compliance with data and privacy regulations.

In its 2020 marketing predictions report, Gartner offered some insightful recommendations to brands looking to enhance their personalized marketing, including this gem:

  • “Grow personalization efforts from a set of tactics or tools to a capability by focusing on strategic planning, use case development and consent management as part of a personalization roadmap.”

Too many organizations think they can get by both compliance- and CX-wise with static consent messaging and generic consent designs on their homepages. The downsides of failing to experiment with this content, though, can lead to failure on both fronts.

(Just look at the 88% of EU-based companies with CMPs whose websites fail to comply with GDPR due to confusing consent designs and “implied consent” messaging as a prime example of what not to do with your consent management strategy.)

It’s best to present custom-tailored consent messaging to each website visitor in a compelling, appealing format (e.g., a clear, on-site message upon the start of a site session) that simplifies the opt-in and opt-out process for your audience.

It’s this kind personalized approach that’s impossible with a standalone CMP that doesn’t sync in real time with your customers’ profiles (i.e., to account for their attributes and engagement behavior) and activation systems — like a CDP.

Building a scalable, end-to-end consent management strategy with a leading CDP

Beyond the specific system functionality of marketing technology with consent management capabilities, like BlueConic, it’s how everyday marketers such as yourself take advantage of these capabilities that enables an efficient, end-to-end consent approach that and gives them the confidence and utility to connect with customers.

There are certainly some companies that are happy to stick with their consent management platforms of choice and simply connect them with their activation systems.

But if you want a legitimate real-time consent management strategy — not a near-real-time one that could lead to ill-informed and -timed messaging to contacts — investing in a customer data platform such as BlueConic is your best avenue for marketing success.

Take BlueConic customer’s end-to-end consent management strategy, for instance — one that augmented its already-strong personalization efforts:

  • The Netherlands-based tourism brand needed to develop a new consumer privacy plan and consent management approach as GDPR rolled out back in May 2018.

  • Despite abiding completely by pre-GDPR cookie privacy laws in the EU, there were adjustments the business was forced to make to ensure total compliance.

  • To ensure it was compliant but could still offer personalized experiences to visitors,’s marketing team leveraged behavioral data stored for all contacts in its BlueConic tenant to develop and deliver bespoke consent dialogues to each visitor.

The result: A 75% consent acceptance rate based on said dialogues, which translated to a 2.5x increase in the acceptance rate prior to GDPR going into effect.

The proactive efforts by the brand means its marketing team (and C-suite) can rest easy, knowing their first-party customer data quality is always accurate, updated in our CDP, and available for activation (a.k.a. liberation) whenever and wherever they need it to be.

Following the company’s lead and implementing your own consent strategy will help with both your compliance and customer experience management efforts in the long run.

Watch our video to learn how you can confidently activate your consented first-party data and provide compelling, cross-channel experiences for your customers with a CDP.

Videos Overcoming Barriers to Cross-Channel Customer Experiences Watch Now

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