Implementing Privacy into Your Marketing Strategies
Digital consumers are sharing their information in more places than they may realize. Countless websites and mobile apps are accumulating users’ most valuable data on a daily basis, using the power of cookies to process behavioral data and audience insights.
But with great power comes great responsibility. As consumers become more aware of the fact that their information is widely available on the internet, marketers are faced with the difficult task of cultivating trust.
It starts by being transparent. Brands need to let customers know exactly what types of information are being shared to ensure there is an appropriate level of expectations set at all times. Although companies try to gather as much information as possible, not every piece of data is valuable. Brands can go a long way towards building trust with consumers if they mitigate the amount of useless info being collected about them.
The issue of privacy and customer safety will only get magnified as more elements of daily life become digitized. Whether you’re looking to improve direct privacy marketing, email privacy marketing, or social media marketing concerns, all marketers need to begin adapting to these standards sooner rather than later.
Why Privacy is Important in Marketing
Customers don’t base their purchasing decisions solely on the quality of the products, they also decide to purchase from companies that they trust. Companies that adhere to safety concerns and are forthcoming with privacy information will automatically be perceived as more trustworthy.
People want an answer to the simple question, “what is this brand planning to do with my data?” Companies that can answer this transparently will get rewarded.
Oftentimes we see brands make the mistake of overdoing their data collection. They cast too wide of a net, which does two things: a) gives them more data than they know what to do with, and b) makes it harder for customers to trust what’s being collected. Customers don’t want to feel rushed or pressured to associate with any brand, and it’s dependent on that brand to put their minds at ease.
Think about marketers as being the gatekeepers of a brand’s image. If they ignore their customers’ privacy concerns, the brand becomes devalued.
It’s not just about cementing trust, it’s also about personalizing the experience for your target customers. Some marketers make the mistake of gathering customer information without properly segmenting the data, causing them to lose out on the opportunity to properly nurture their customers which also causes those prospective customers to lose faith that your brand is acting in their best interest.
Why Marketers Need to Care About Privacy?
Successful marketers know that their efforts are futile if they can’t get their audience interested. Obviously most prospects don’t want to be considered ‘prospects.’ It takes nurturing to eventually get prospective customers into the sales funnel.
Many customers today are wary of sharing any personal information with brands, fearing that their data will be improperly collected and sold without their express permission. Brands need to adapt to these expectations by making every layer of data collection completely transparent prior to the customer’s first interaction.
For businesses who offer a subscription or account login, it’s especially important to give customers the option of two-factor authentication (2FA). This requires customers to authenticate their account whenever they attempt to login by having an email, phone call, or text message sent to them. As time goes on, more businesses are incorporating these mechanisms to make their customers feel safer. Two-factor authentication is quickly becoming a digital standard to make the login process safer and more streamlined.
Encouraging Safe Data Collection
Sometimes the best way to procure data is by offering an incentive, like a discount code or special offer in exchange for the customer completing a survey. This is a fun, engaging method for websites to gain customer information without it feeling extremely invasive. Customers can easily opt out of these surveys without hassle.
Providing Disclosures at Every Turn
We keep mentioning the word ‘transparency’ because it’s pretty darn important. There’s no such thing as providing too many disclosure messages to your customers. Each step of the way you should grant them the opportunity to opt in or out, depending on the requirements that are being asked of them.
This works both ways as well. Brands should constantly be checking that their customers are legitimate, not bot traffic. Useful tools for this qualification include a captcha, two-factor authentication, and multiple security questions.
New Laws Take Privacy Seriously
If it didn’t make sense to cater to your customers’ privacy needs before, new laws make it even more essential.
Remember when third-party cookies were a thing? Well, now with sweeping federal legislation in both Europe and the United States, those cookies are starting to become relics. The issue with third-party cookies is that they oftentimes make it quite challenging for web visitors to control information about them, which means that companies struggle with adherence to privacy laws.
Privacy, California, and GDPR Law
67% of internet users in the United States alone are not fully aware of their country’s privacy rules. But as laws become increasingly ubiquitous across nations and markets, there is no question that we will begin seeing their impacts on brands who don’t obey.
Not only will consumers favor the brands who are most compliant, but the brands who don’t comply will be levied with heavy fines. The brands that used to get away with this level of invasiveness won’t be able to anymore.
Here are the most impactful, new regulations that are changing the way brands and customers interact with each other online.
The General Data Protection Act was implemented in the UK in 2018, applying to anyone who is responsible for using personal data. This includes all businesses who conduct business in the United Kingdom.
Out of most American businesses, ecommerce stores would likely be most affected by these rules.
There are essentially seven key principles established by this legislation. Even if you don’t think these would apply to your business operations, they are still some good rules of thumb to consider when establishing your own data privacy standards.
Data minimization: only information that is relevant to be processed should be processed. Extraneous data should not be collected.
Lawfulness, fairness, transparency: information must be processed within the letter of the law and done so in a transparent manner.
Accuracy: data that is collected should be maintained and updated accurately. This essentially prevents businesses from mass storing data and letting it age out to the point of uselessness.
Purpose limitation: data should be collected only for express purposes, not for anything else. This also ties into the idea of transparency. Brands must be forthcoming in the manner that they will be processing all data and the data will not be further processed in a manner that deviates from the stated purpose.
Integrity and confidentiality: data must be processed with an ‘appropriate’ level of security standard. This should include protections against unlawful processing as well as against accidental loss or damage.
Storage limitation: restrictions on the length of time that data subjects are stored, as well as processing time for personal data. Personal data is permitted to be stored for longer periods of time just as long as it is processed for archiving purposes that match the public interest. The aim of GDPR with these measures is to effectively safeguard the public interest.
California Privacy Laws
The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), colloquially known as the California data privacy law, was a GDPR-like legislation aimed at giving consumers more control over the personal information that businesses collect about them. This includes stipulations like the amount of personal information a business collects about them and how that information can be processed or shared.
Users are also permitted to delete the amount of personal information that’s collected about them, plus they can opt-out of the sale of their personal information. All the while the brand is not allowed to discriminate against any customer than exercises their CCPA rights.
As far as digital brands are concerned, these rules apply to any brand who conducts some level business in California and either a) grosses an annual revenue of $25 million or more, b) buys, receives, or sells personal information of 50,000 or more California residents, households, or devices, and c) derives 50% or more of their annual revenue from selling the personal information of California residents.
This will likely apply mostly to American ecommerce companies since they do business with customers in any state. Any information that identifies, relates to, or could be reasonably linked with a customer or their household is defined as personal information by the CCPA. Basically, anything that could be used to cultivate a persona about you is deemed personal info.
Businesses are required to deliver certain pieces of information in what’s called a “notice of collection.” This material lists all the categories of personal information being collected about specific consumers and the purposes for using such categories. Notices are usually found on a website’s homepage as well as most transaction pages where customers go to place an order. Mobile apps might have this literature in their settings menu.
While these heightened restrictions make it more challenging for ecommerce companies to conduct retargeting campaigns towards their audiences, it allows consumers to have more control over the information they share and businesses collect.
Data Privacy vs. Data Security
The main difference between data privacy and data security is that the former relates to the safe, responsible processing of consumer data, while the latter relates specifically to malicious threats and attempts to thwart a company’s security apparatus.
Both data privacy and data security fall under the umbrella of safety, but they target different sources. Security is all about preventing unauthorized users from accessing customer information and preventing data breaches that could be potentially dangerous. Companies use a variety of technologies to protect users from these external threats, ranging from firewall software to multi-factor authentication measures.
Data and privacy are intrinsically connected whether it falls within the context of data security or its the mere collection of user data to begin with. In other words, there’s always a push for data privacy compliance in marketing and in other digital channels regardless of whether there’s an imminent external threat.
Customers obviously want all companies to act responsibly towards their data, but they also expect a modicum of data security that adds a deeper layer of enhanced protection. The aforementioned pieces of international regulation help encourage companies to take compliance more seriously throughout the customer lifecycle.
Data privacy in marketing adds layers of protection for both brands and their consumers, making the entire process safer for all involved. Whether it’s specifically social media marketing privacy, email marketing privacy, or paid ads privacy, the notion of data privacy and security remains important across all marketing levels.
Keeping Data Safe
Beyond the basic concept of data privacy, how does a business keep its customers’ data protected throughout the relationship?
Data privacy begins with accountability. Brands must know exactly where every piece of customer data is stored and for what duration of time. Once this data lifecycle is identified, it becomes easier to spot the security measures that will be needed.
Larger organizations will likely rely on more advanced, enterprise level technologies to manage sensitive data, but it’s up to all sizes of organizations to determine what processes work best.
Regardless of size or budget, any company can use encryption to protect customer data. This includes encrypted hard drives, smartphones, and USBs that protect the data prior to the point of transferring it to the cloud or elsewhere.
Encryption is a valuable measure to protect customers, but it also adds a layer of safety for those who work within the company. Nowadays, with employees and contractors constantly on the go, and fewer people working directly from a physical office space, the need for encryption has never been greater.
Devices are routinely taken outside of the friendly confines of a company network, making it increasingly difficult to protect their stored data. Encryption provides a safeguard in the event of theft or loss.
Clarifying Policies on Data Management & Retention
Data is a critical component of any marketing agenda, but establishing proper guidelines and data management policies is a key step towards better transparency.
Companies face serious risks for not adhering to the right data privacy compliance measures. Whenever they collect, store, or share data, the organization faces the possibility of receiving a lawsuit. Plain and simple.
This is why the planning process is not to be taken for granted. Protecting a business from data breaches is the start, but it should also correspond to an overall safer usage of customer data throughout the lifecycle.
Understand The Risks
Every entity should perform research on the current laws and regulations governing any area where they do business (or plan to do business). If not all the information is crystal clear, it could be wise to consult a business lawyer.
Set Up a Policy
Make Sure it’s Implemented
Add Data Privacy to your Marketing Efforts
It’s relatively simple to start implementing comprehensive data privacy measures to your digital marketing efforts while still collecting appropriate amounts of customer information.
Privacy Marketing Trends
Although privacy issues exist in the digital marketing world, you can shine brightly by remaining transparent throughout every campaign.
Privacy marketing trends are encouraging businesses to abide by new legislation in both Europe and the United States, and it’s changing the expectations among would-be consumers. Businesses will be successful if they can weave these new expectations with data collection tactics that are safe and effective.