Data has a pivotal role in the success of digital marketing strategies campaigns. Marketers leverage data to glean insights on market trends and consumer behaviour, enabling them to identify idiosyncratic customer demand and devise personalized ABM marketing campaigns.
The ease of access to data is, however, a double-edged sword. While being invaluable, it demands a great responsibility from its owners to provide privacy and protection against breaches. Data privacy laws were instituted to protect sensitive consumer data from falling into the wrong hands and its ramifications.
While empowering consumers with their right to data privacy, the new regulations might seem to bottleneck the process of data acquisition and limit the ability of marketers (especially B2B companies) to leverage data. However, the 2019 survey by Accenture found that the portion of consumers who said they were willing to share more when brands were transparent rose to 73% from 66% in 2018. In addition, consumers wanted to know how brands were using personal data.
The challenge to marketers is not actually acquiring customer data but using it ethically and safeguarding it from unlawful access. In the milieu of increased regulations, companies will have to evolve their strategies to turn data privacy laws to their advantage.
Let’s sift through the challenges with data regulations, key areas of focus, and marketing strategies that companies must follow to enhance their marketing efforts and remain competitive while adhering to the regulations.
Challenges With New Data Privacy Laws
The new data regulations have changed the way companies interact with prospects and customers alike. Although the regulations have only concretized what a good digital marketer should already be practising, it poses certain challenges.
Obtaining consumer consent to share data is more challenging now as individuals have the right to withdraw their consent at any time. Companies will have to obtain separate consent for different processing activities as well, and failing to do so can make the consent invalid.
Companies have had to remodel business processes, applications and forms to be compliant with opt-in rules and other marketing practices laid down by Data Protection Authorities (DPAs).
Marketers complying with the new data privacy laws are also responsible for ensuring compliance with their first-party data and inventory sources. This demands robust communication and coordination within the data ecosystem. It is contingent upon companies to offer consumer data access, deletion request, and delivery experiences that are comprehensive, specific, and secure. Incorporating these new practices into the existing marketing strategies framework has often been overwhelming to many.
Email marketing has come under the radar with new privacy laws. Marketers are now required to run re-permission campaigns for those on their mailing list that didn’t explicitly opt in. Marketers can no longer pre-tick a box or hide communication policies within privacy statements. Prospects will now have to explicitly opt-in to receive communication.
Automated emails were a great time saver for marketers to communicate regularly with specific audiences and nurture leads. Automated emails which include lead nurturing campaigns, onboarding emails, and product training material are prohibited under the news laws unless the individual approves to receive them.
The new regulations emphasize the relevance of marketed content. Regardless of the channel, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) content must be about products and/or services that are relevant to the recipient and not just the account. This means that ABM strategies will have to resort to more personalised and targeted content.
Key Areas of Focus With New Data Laws
Marketers looking to engage their prospects effectively will have to deliver value amidst the regulations. Following are some of the key areas for companies to focus on.
Marketers should look to build centralized digital privacy compliance and a well-orchestrated opt-in/out management across the entire marketing strategies value chain. In addition, a concrete permission-based first-party data collection program aimed at improving customer experience has to be established.
Users who are willing to comply with the companies’ privacy laws are going to be viable prospects. This way, compliance acts as a screening process by which companies can capture reliable account and contact data. This enables marketers to maximise the efficacy of marketing strategies efforts.
Maintaining Transparency with Data Usage
Marketers must provide consumers with utmost transparency and control over their data in a way that reduces conflict and instils trust. Companies should explicitly and comprehensively state the purpose and ways in which the consumers’ data is being used. Marketers should take advantage of these laws to positively transform the relationship with end-users that allowing for better transactions.
Educating Consumers on Data Usage
An indispensable element of marketing strategies is to enable users to make their own informed decisions. This can be achieved by educating users on how the information being collected is used and how it is beneficial to them. Users can consequently be more comfortable opting to share their data. Abiding to and educating the users about the data practices can engage them in an impactful way.
Companies will have to make amends to their marketing practices under the new laws. Mailing lists have to be regularly audited and users without a record of opt-in have to be removed. Consent from new subscribers has to be ensured before joining the mailing list. Businesses should invest in content marketing strategy by creating white papers, guides and eBooks that consumers can access in exchange for sharing their contact information. It is also the responsibility of the marketers to ensure that users can easily access their data and remove consent for its use.
Staying Apprised About Regulations
It is important for marketers to be well-informed on current laws and future amendments. Companies must consistently align their privacy policies with the latest regulations and have them thoroughly vetted by data compliance SMEs.
Perform Data Audits
Meeting regulatory requirements obligates companies to be well aware of the data in their possession. Every data nuance, like the nature of personal information, details on whose data is being stored and even storage methods have to be thoroughly documented. The new regulations require companies to be rid of unnecessary data and a strong legal basis has to be documented if companies are holding onto unused personal information. Failing to have a valid corroboration for data storage can incur hefty penalties.
It is also essential for companies to have the latest data. This is not only a requirement by the new laws (since old is considered inactive and not opt-in), it is also a good data practice to have data upto date.
Update Your Privacy Notices
An integral part of the new privacy laws is to instil honesty and transparency in the way companies handle data. Businesses should have their privacy notice updated and ensure that it comprehensively states the nature of personal information in the possession, the legal basis for it, and how individuals can have their grievances addressed if they don’t like how the company is using their data.
Increase Opt-In Efforts
It is a good practice for marketers to screen prospects and have the right people receive their communication. Account-Based Marketing (ABM) programmes must include proactive inbound content marketing strategies with a choice to opt-in for further communication.
Marketing Preference Campaign
Have a ‘marketing preference’ initiative in ABM programmes where the recipient (both existing customers and prospects) – can choose their interests. This creates a good user experience and fosters an effective segmentation of data lists.
Instate Content with Relevance and Utility
It is only a good marketing practice to be relevant to the audience, the new privacy laws dictate companies use data to create content that is specific to the account or individual. Companies need to ensure that the suggested content is highly personalized and relevant to the recipient.
The future of marketing entails a responsible use of data and it is imperative that organizations align their business with the regulations. Companies should mould their approach to data acquisition with an opt-in or permission mentality. This is not only the most ethical approach and a mandate by law—but offering choice improves performance and relationships with customers.
Businesses will take time to calibrate to the dynamic data regulations from different regional Data Protection Authorities. Marketers need to adopt a proactive approach to compliance and make consumer privacy integral to their operations. Marketers will also need to ensure that they instate robust data privacy standards and execute them across all channels and at all times.