How Marketers Can Prioritise Consumer Privacy

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Stop staring in your customers windows. Give them a little privacy, please. Now look, you've trampled all over their peonies 😓 🌷🌹🌻. 

According to Cisco, 45% of Americans have had their personal information compromised by a data breach in the last five years. So, it's safe to say consumers are concerned. 

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Businesses have a responsibility to protect their consumer's data, and this is how customers see it too.

92% of consumers say companies must be proactive about data protection, with 64% saying they would blame the company, and not the hacker. It's you vs a 2000s trench-coat-wearing, sports-glasses-sporting, computer hacker. And we all know how fast they can type. 

Data privacy is becoming increasingly more important to consumers, and is now part of the complete customer experience. And this experience requires data. 

It's all about maintaining customer trust, whilst providing a personalised experience that doesn't involve you bringing up their first pet, mother's maiden name, and the colour of the t-shirt they're currently wearing. Plus, with consumers spending more time online during the pandemic, increasing their shopping activity and online data presence. 

But remember, along with consumer expectations of a relationship of trust between them and their favourite brands, comes the risk of that trust being broken. It has been found that people are now less likely than ever to forgive data abuses and leaks.

Businesses are having to deal simultaneously with three separate aspects; data monetisation, data privacy, and consumer trust. Consumers want tailored, personal experiences, but fear their data being mishandled.

80% of consumers say they are comfortable with sharing their personal info directly with a brand if it leads to a personalised marketing message. However, 63% say they think most companies aren't transparent enough with how their data is used, and 54% say it's actually harder than ever for companies to earn their trust. 

Consumers need a level of 'digital trust'. 

"Many brands may appear to be saying the right things in principle but are less forthcoming about the detail. When vague and trite mantras are all they are offered, it becomes hard for consumers to trust the organisation they are dealing with," says Shallu Behar-Sheehan, Chief Marketing Officer at Truata. 

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"And so, consumers have little choice but to carry on being wary, even to the point of avoiding brands where they cannot easily verify the reputation for, or commitment to, privacy. There has to be a level of responsibility for ensuring data privacy."

The scope of GDPR

The European Privacy directive, the General Data Protection Regulation, includes:

  • More rigorous consent requirements
  • Data anonymity 
  • The right to be forgotten

Violations of GDPR can lead up to fines of up to €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover for the preceding financial year – whichever is the greater. For other breaches, the authorities could impose fines on companies of up to €10m or 2% of global annual turnover. So, it's not just about creating trust!

Give a little, get a lot. 

Understanding your customers is vital, especially now that people are increasingly engaged across multiple devices - marketers must keep track of their consumers' behaviour. 

Consumers respond better to your marketing when it's not random and thoughtless. Any data provided should drive more relevant content and targeted messages, instead of just being hoarded in unorganised databases and being used for interruptive and irrelevant ads. 

You also have to be transparent. Have an intention for every touchpoint. If you're asking for personal information, be clear and reasonable - it'll make everything far less painful.

For example, don't ask your customer their height and weight, first dog's name, their favourite subject at school etc. if you're trying to sign them up for a marketing newsletter. People don't like to provide too much information without seeing the clear purpose. And make sure you give consumers a clear opt-out choice -  no-one likes to feel like a hostage. 

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Now, let's get into marketing.

Privacy can be good business.It's also better for your staff - 82% of senior execs said they would consider leaving their job, if they felt their employers data practices were unethical.

More than 40% of organisations see benefits of at least twice their privacy spend. What's more:

  • 97% of companies have seen benefits, such as a competitive advantage, or investor appeal, from investing in privacy
  • For every dollar spent on privacy, the average company receives $2.70 in associated benefits.

So it's not just about the ethics of it all, it's about the dollar dollar bills, y'all. 💵💸

You have the opportunity to demonstrate a fair value exchange between you and your client, and give them the choice about how their data is used. So, first-party data is the best information to help you navigate the recovery in a privacy-first way. This is due to the transparency between the two parties. 

Tech Time

Okay, so it's not all on your shoulders. You can put some responsibility on your tech, too. 

In order to build trust in your own marketing efforts, you have to assess the security of the tech used to gather, store and analyse that data. 

Automation is the go-to with data, in order to prevent human intrusion. This tends to help in avoiding personal information falling into the wrong hands. 

But this leads to marketers being held to account with investing in privacy policies for their technology. In this data-driven world, they are responsible for the tech that serves as the hub for all consumer information.

If you secure your platform, you can have full confidence in your data collection, storing and analysis, with which you can build your audience and campaigns. Because remember, the average company has 534,465 files containing sensitive data, and a hacker attack happens every 39 seconds. 😱

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