At this year’s MarTech Conference, trust takes a starring role

It’s appropriate that, in the year of GDPR and the Facebook scandal, marketers are coming back to the key ingredient in customer relationships.

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Former New York Times Executive Director for Marketing Technology Madeline Delianides at the MarTech Conference.

Former New York Times Executive Director for Marketing Technology Madeline Delianides at the MarTech Conference.

“How are you going to treat that [personal] data with the respect it deserves, just as you would treat the person [it represents] with respect?”

That question from RSA Security CMO Holly Rollo, during the keynote talks that opened our MarTech Conference today in San Jose, California, pegged a key theme for marketers this year.

The last 12 months, of course, have seen preparation for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, moves by Google and Apple to further diminish the role of third-party cookies and the launch of inexpensive fake video tools, among other major developments affecting personal data and trust.

In an on-stage discussion with MarTech Conference Chair Scott Brinker, IntelliPhi CEO Anand Thaker pointed to a KPMG study which found that 74 percent of CEOs says their emphasis is now on values, culture and trust.

He noted that, in a very direct way, this brings digital marketing back to the advice of such classic guides as Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which describes the value of relationships. Strong relationships, of course, are cemented by trust.

Former New York Times Executive Director for Marketing Technology Madeline Delianides talked about her efforts to find better ways of maintaining compliance with legal responsibilities at that publisher, especially when it involved opt-in and opt-out choices.

“Coming from American Express,” she said, referring to her prior employer, “compliance is drilled into us.” At the Times, Delianides added, she emphasized how compliance needs to be in the foreground when a publisher is sharing data with so many partners, a key issue for GDPR.

But, Rollo noted, her company’s research indicates that only about a quarter of marketers see security as their responsibility, as opposed to being the responsibility of IT.

“I’m a little terrified,” she admitted. A robber can rob the money in one bank, but a digital robber can rob the modern currency equivalent — personal and other sensitive data — from thousands of sources with the same effort.

Evaluating vendors’ handling of data is now a big front in the ongoing battle for security, she noted, and marketers need to start evaluating their vendors for where their data is, who can access it and how it is protected.

GDPR is only one of the regulations coming down, Rollo pointed out. California has a major policy initiative on the November ballot, and other US states may follow.

Coca-Cola may become the model, she said, for how marketers develop different approaches to personal data and maintaining trust in different markets. That soda maker has different formulas for its drink, she said, depending on the legal and other requirements in the particular markets it serves.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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