MARKETING: Gaining and retaining consumer trust in a privacy-centric world?

As the debate about a federal privacy law versus state-level laws reaches fever pitch, and consumers become increasingly concerned about their privacy, we look at the impact of data privacy on marketers, as they look to protect and grow brands, while complying with strict privacy policies.

However, the smart marketing companies are not just exploring preemptive ways of avoiding trouble, they are also looking to create a genuinely pleasing and trusted experience for their target customers.

So, how can data privacy compliance and technology help marketers to gain (and retain) consumer trust.

The goal of every marketer has always been to promote brands by understanding consumers’ expectations and then to create strategies that promote and sell products and services. The biggest difference in today’s marketplace is the need to comply with data privacy regulations to successfully (and legally) create these desirable business outcomes.

Increasingly, brands are taking an experience-driven approach in order to meet consumer expectations. To achieve this, many are using martech technologies for prioritizing experience in their strategies. But that’s not all. Marketers are also relying on martech platforms as an aid to managing the complexities of data privacy regulations.

What exactly is Martech?

‘Martech’ combines the words ‘marketing’ and ‘technology’ to make a term that represents the intersection of marketing and technology in today's connected world. Any technology that has a bearing on marketing operations can be referred to as ‘martech’, whether it is a part of an analysis platform, a device-facing benchmark tool, or any other type of digital or high-tech resource.

There are many examples of martech in today's societies. Any marketing that takes place in a digital environment is an example of martech. Any marketing that is tracked with digital systems is likewise an example of martech.

Businesses can use martech designs to develop templates for messaging, organizing fulfillment campaigns, or even to integrate marketing functions with other types software applications such as CRM or inventory management. The applications of martech are almost endless.

Data privacy laws including the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the forthcoming California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are designed to regulate the way companies collect and process consumers’ personal data.

This month (May 2019) is the first anniversary of the GDPR. Many thousands of businesses that serve customers who reside in the EU continue to grapple with getting the best value from their data, to customize consumers’ experiences, while complying with privacy laws.

According to the general manager of SAP’s Customer Data Cloud, Ben Jackson, we’re far from creating the seamless experiences that customers expect. Many organizations struggle to keep up with managing the volume of data they have and how to apply it to create meaningful experience-driven campaigns. Add in the intricacies of managing data in compliance with laws like GDPR and CCPA, and digital marketing efforts could be easily disrupted.

As well as the new data privacy laws, Jackson believes a common challenge that organizations face is an unacknowledged disparity between consumer expectations and what a brand actually delivers.

There is a gap between the experience organizations think they are delivering and what customers and consumers actually feel they are receiving from those organizations,” said Jackson. “When we look at the experience economy, organizations will find it hard to compete on product and pricing – the traditional methods of competing — they will instead have to compete with the experience level.

Gaining a competitive edge while building trust and confidence

Jackson recommends that companies should use the CCPA and GDPR regulations to their competitive advantage, by incorporating the laws into the framework of best practices. Consent should be a standard for organizations regardless of where they are located - and should allow customers to control their own personal data. Consent management tools have mechanisms for customers to control their data.

Jackson said: “The customer has control to access, delete accounts, or ask to be forgotten,” Giving customers access to their own data gives them more control over their digital experiences.

But is it enough to simply provide a pleasing experience, when the majority of consumers trust traditional forms of marketing much more than digital?

Content strategist, Steve Olenski, noted in his article ‘Why Is Digital Marketing Still Fighting to Earn Consumer Trust?’:

Billy Joel once famously sang, “It’s always been a matter of trust.” The context in which he sang those words was a relationship between two people—a personal relationship.

But the same thing can be said to describe the relationship between a consumer and a brand: “It’s always been a matter of trust.” If trust is absent, there is no relationship. It’s that simple.

In a recent survey of 2,400 American consumers, across various age groups, one particular topic was the issue of trust. The figures below indicate an alarmingly low level of trust in digital marketing channels:

Consumer-Trust _MarketingSherpa.png

Why is there so much distrust of online / digital marketing? It’s quite simple. Consumers have become more sophisticated, particularly when it comes to making purchasing decisions. They ask more questions and they want to be shown good reasons why they should put their trust in any supplier who is collecting data on them, as they surf the internet in search of products and services.

GDPR is already here. But are you ready for CCPA?

GDPR is here, and CCPA is on the horizon, with the new law coming into effect in January 2020. Marketers need to be engaging in discussions on the impact of CCPA on their data collection processes.

More importantly, they should be considering how compliance with data privacy regulations might help to deliver better, more seamless digital experiences for their customers.

Mana Ionescu, CEO of Lightspan Digital, a digital agency that provides strategic guidance to its clients, has noticed the topics of experience-driven marketing and CCPA and GDPR coming into play more frequently. He points to a knowledge gap around these topics and their effects on U.S. businesses:

A lack of understanding of how vendors have adapted to new regulations, coupled with CCPA going into effect in January 2020 has caused businesses to struggle with these issues, …For example, a retailer in Chicago with an e-commerce store that doesn’t meet CCPA criteria, may not realize they are affected by CCPA because they operate exclusively in Illinois. However, the CCPA covers California residents who make transactions outside of the state as well.

Like it, or not. U.S. companies that sell products or services to customers located in the state of California, or in any European Union country must comply with the CCPA from January next year, and with the GDPR as of May 25, 2018.

If you are not already integrating your marketing operations with the appropriate consumer privacy laws that protect consumers in your target market, it’s time to act now.

Sources and further reading: Martech Today, Convince and Convert, MarketingSherpa

This article is provided for informational purposes only. The Data Privacy Group strongly recommends that you engage the services of an experience data privacy practitioner when preparing for compliance with privacy laws.