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Approach to Data Privacy for Brands

05 Mar 2019 Marlea Clark

in Digital

Since the EU’s implementation of GDPR in May 2018, the conversation around how companies store and use consumer data has been prominently in the spotlight. Some advocate for stricter regulation, while others are wary of the harsh penalties that may come with it. And what about consumers? Media coverage adds a fear factor to the average person who may have never given any thought to the matter, or at the very least wasn’t particularly concerned about what happens to their data when they share it. When companies that consumers have a day-to-day relationship with come under harsh scrutiny, such as Facebook, red flags start to appear everywhere—especially when paired with a lack of leadership action.

A recent survey indicated that 73% of consumers are more concerned about data privacy than ever before; 67% expect the government to take action and start regulating what they can’t do themselves and 83% would like the right to tell an organization not to share or sell their information. It’s clear that brands who treat consumer data with care will be favored over the reckless.

Increasingly, brands are scrambling for the right strategy while trying to maintain the competitive advantage that data has given them, especially the DTC brands that grew quickly by reaching consumers directly, often through social platforms.

Additionally, we’re seeing the demand for a more cohesive approach to data governance and a deep need for guidance. While each company will have specific data needs, here are three things brands must consider regarding privacy laws and data governance within their organization.

What Data Do You Have?

This may seem obvious, but that’s not the case for a lot of companies, especially start-ups and hot DTCs brands that have grown quickly. When data appears to support your strategy, there’s a feeling of validation that comes with it, but not without strings attached. The marketing high may quickly wear off without proper monitoring. What does this mean? Your brand can engage the consumer—and collect their data—through multiple touchpoints, including social media, CRM, and sales channels. When numerous channels are managed by different teams, it isn’t always easy to paint a clear picture of what consumer data you have. The solution: take the first step of identifying where these siloes are. Then, make sure all teams—including the C Suite—are aligned in terms of KPIs and touchpoints. Having a single operational layer that looks at the information from a birds’ eye view can avoid siloed data governance and develop a smart strategy communicated across employees and recognized by customers.

How Do You Think About & Use Collected Data?

This is where it becomes obvious that companies with siloed data governance are in for a rude awakening, or at the very least, many missed opportunities—often in the form of customers and sales. If you collect data, use it correctly. For example, if a consumer shares their date of birth, it makes sense to use that information in a way that will benefit them, by offering a treat or discount on their birthday, for example. In fact, they’re probably going to expect something.

What about the other data you collect, such as job title, income, location, demographics, and interests? These points can be used to accurately tailor and target audiences with the right content that is developed and distributed to the customer based on their signaled needs. Brands that take a step back and evaluate the customer’s path-to-purchase can identify the touchpoints to engage and reengage consumers with the right message at the right time. If a customer leaves something in their online shopping cart, and you have that information at your fingertips, use it. Follow up with them to remind them of what they have left in their cart to encourage purchase. Perhaps take it to the next level if you know their location; if there’s a store nearby, offer a discount if they buy online and pick up in-store in an effort to connect the screen-to-store experience. Essentially, be smart about the information you have on your audience and use it to their advantage, and yours.

Do You Have Your Own Data Privacy Regulations?

As privacy concerns continue to grow, so do the frustrations of marketers who are used to promising results from data targeting. Where do brands draw the line? Moreover, how will the pending California Consumer Privacy Act, set to go into effect next year, impact performance marketing? Major companies have opposed the act that would fine businesses for noncompliance with its regulations, some of which include giving the consumer the right to request the data that businesses are collecting on them and ask said businesses not to share it with third-party companies, as well as strict disclosure laws. Facebook was one of the companies that initially opposed this pending act, allegedly putting $200,000 into an opposition campaign, but quickly backpedaled in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Companies should not only abide by any enacted laws but develop their own rules and regulations as well. This will reinforce the notion of protecting consumers. Most importantly, be transparent. Follow disclosure laws and let your customer know what you’re doing with their data. Don’t wait around for them to ask you, or worse, leave your brand entirely.

Stella Rising is the agency for rising star brands. Our team can answer questions, audit your current data silos, and develop an effective, strategic approach to your data that can help drive growth.