Modern technology has created a problematic paradox for marketers today. Customers want personalized experiences, but they also want their data to be kept under wraps. So how can a marketer adhere to privacy laws without sacrificing the client experience? The answer lies in being as proactive as possible during these transitioning times.
Compliance and Transparency
According to consumers, personal data sharing needs to be rooted in consent and transparency. Nearly 70% of consumers in one survey said that they wouldn’t engage with a brand if they felt their data usage strategies were too invasive. However, 73% of survey participants said that they would actually share more data if the brand was transparent on how they used the information.
In addition to consumer preferences, the laws for data privacy and regulation are by no means loosening their hold on marketers. In the wake of events like the Cambridge Analytical scandal, it’s clear that everyone is waking up to how information is being traded online and off.
Marketers have to ensure that they’re being upfront about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, and careful not to bury the worst language of their policy in the smallest print on a page. Consumers (and regulators) look well upon companies who are taking measures to protect their consumers and start conversations with them about how and why their data is being used. It’s a practice that everyone appreciates (and it’s also proven profitable for companies who make the effort from the get-go).
Consumers Expect It
The good news is that the actual practical concerns aren’t really as murky as they might first appear to be. A consumer doesn’t want the data from a fun survey on social media being sold off to the highest bidder. That same consumer might be perfectly happy taking a similar survey if they knew the data would be used to curate a more personalized experience for them.
When Uber can send an instant message to a consumer’s phone letting them know that their ride is in front of their location, it raises the bar for personalization across the board. Consumers don’t want to be told about every sale or new product offering anymore — they want to be told only about the ones that affect them the most.
This is not to say that consumers always know exactly what they want or that they’ll never be interested in a service or product outside their given wheelhouse. Only that marketers have a duty to connect with the customer on a much deeper level than they might have, say, 20 years ago.
What Should Marketers Know?
There have been arguments in the recent past that the marketing profession should travel back to a simpler time of data collection, much like it was before the digital revolution. But this approach would essentially throw the baby out with the bathwater.
The answer is not to simply avoid all potential conflicts but to lean into the problems at hand. Marketers that recognize the opportunities every bit as much as the potential hiccups will have the unique ability to get more from every interaction with the consumer.
What’s Likely to Happen?
We’re going to see more questions arise in the future, and those questions are going to evolve in complexity before they begin to work themselves out. Depending on the technology that continues to debut, it could be a while before we start to see any kind of homeostasis achieved in the market.
But as frustrating as this may seem to marketers who want answers, it’s not nearly as daunting as failing to change with the times. The marketers who find innovative solutions right now are the same professionals who can keep adjusting their strategy to give customers what they want without infringing on their rights.