You need to master data privacy, security and consumer trust to succeed in 2020

In executing your 2020 digital strategy, focus on delivering convenience, insights and digital integrity to your prospects and customers.

Chat with MarTechBot

If you are selling a product, then you are also in the business of privacy, security and trust. And it should hardly be a surprise. In 2019 we saw an increased focus on data privacy laws around the world, data breaches climb to an all-time high (at least four billion records), and the erosion of people’s trust in marketing and advertising to only 3%, the lowest of any industry or practice. Welcome to the new age of digital marketing! If you want to survive in 2020, you need to bring your best game, which means mastering data privacy, security and gaining consumer trust.

Getting data privacy right

For years, we’ve been listening to the martech siren song of “big data solves everything.” We’ve been focused on collecting as much consumer data as possible, regardless of the actual value or the consumer’s best interest. After drifting towards the rocky coast of the data privacy island, we are now clearly shipwrecked. EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) have been an enterprise-wide concern for the last year and a half. Still, looking ahead to California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Brazil’s General Data Protection Law (LGPD), it is becoming clear that marketing must take the consumer data privacy rights helm.

As consumers become more aware that their data is a valuable resource, they’ll be asking more questions about how it’s used, who has access to it, and, most importantly – what do they get in exchange for giving you that data. As we enter 2020, you look to answer user questions and become compliant with increased data privacy regulations. You must be able to answer:

  • What is personally identifiable and sensitive information? How are they similar, and how are they different?
  • What are your data privacy and protection responsibilities under laws in countries where you market?
  • What is data encryption, and how do you use it when sending confidential data?
  • What are the consequences of not complying with data privacy rights around the globe?
  • How do you properly dispose of data and determine when data is at its end-of-life?

It might seem overwhelming at first, but all regulations share eight universal principles in common. Master those, and you will be well on your way to GDPR, CCPA, POPIA, LGDP and any other acronyms coming your way in 2020.

Ruling security practices

If you’ve historically placed your trust around security in cloud providers or assumed IT has it covered and you will be protected, now is the time to change your thinking and get geared up for changes coming at you in 2020. It would be best if you began mastering security practices and applying them in the marketing world, especially since 90% of consumers believe companies must be more proactive about data protection.

It should not come as any surprise that with marketing’s elevated value and visibility, there comes great responsibility to be a part of the security solution. To position the marketing team for 2020 success, you must be ready to answer:

  • What are the most significant security risks arising from marketing, whether it is the martech stack or social media campaigns? 
  • Which risks are the likeliest to materialize and what actions will you take to prevent or mitigate them (i.e., security goes beyond data breaches and into other areas including digital ad fraud, competitive price scraping, account hijacking, fake online reviews, etc.)?
  • Who has rights to systems and information, and why? 
  • Are systems, whether hosted in the company by IT or in the cloud by a vendor, adequately protected? 
  • Do you have an organization level agreement (for systems hosted with IT) to secure martech systems or a service level agreement (for systems hosted by a vendor), and what are marketing’s responsibilities as part of that agreement?
  • Is the crisis communication plan up to date and in place for a security incident or a data breach?
  • Who and how will you investigate and respond to a data breach?
  • How fast can you message the public about the breach, to calmly and professionally assure prospects, customers, investors, employees, and partners that you have control of any security issue or breach that may take place?

By getting ahead of security and adopting sound practices into everyday marketing efforts, you will make it easier for you and the organization to respond if a security event occurs in 2020. More importantly, though, you will make it possible to easily overcome such an event and get back to a healthy life faster, preserving as much of your reputation as possible.

Gaining (and valuing) consumer trust

Trust is a crucial driver in generating revenue because consumers don’t buy from the brands and companies that they don’t trust. In executing your 2020 digital strategy and supporting campaigns, focus on delivering convenience, insights and digital integrity to your prospects and customers. Go beyond the basics (yes basics!) of privacy and security, and demonstrate that you are ready to meet consumer needs by answering:

  • How well are you listening to users, and are you responding to their needs by showing upcoming products and services?
  • Are you using the types of communication that users find convenient (i.e., the website for general information, text or chat for immediate customer care responsiveness, AI to allow interaction with a product before buying, etc.)?
  • Are you consistent in your branding, including your message, design, and delivery, allowing your customers to grow comfortable, even loyal?
  • Do you show your human side and create the opportunity for customers and employees to interact in genuine ways?
  • Are you regularly showing that you value your customers, and if so, are customers feeling increased satisfaction? Are you translating that satisfaction into ongoing relationships and user recommendations?

Building trust with customers doesn’t have to be difficult, but it has to be a deliberate and sustained focus. In a world where consumers are often faced with a global mix of hundreds of brands, if you build trust with your audience (and value it!), they will turn to you as a known and trusted brand when making a purchasing decision.

Here’s to a great 2020

Marketers often tell me they are focused on promoting their product or service, raising awareness and generating demand. As we turn the corner and face 2020 head-on, realize that you are also in the business of privacy, security and trust. After all, if you have consumer trust, which must be built on a solid foundation of privacy and security, the products and services will sell themselves. And isn’t that every marketer’s dream?

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

About the author

Kristina Podnar
Kristina is a digital policy innovator. For over two decades, she has worked with some of the most high-profile companies in the world and has helped them see policies as opportunities to free the organization from uncertainty, risk and internal confusion. Kristina has a BA in international studies and an MBA in international business from the Dominican University of California and is certified as both a change management practitioner (APMG International) and a project management professional (Project Management Institute). Her book, The Power of Digital Policy, was published in 2019.

Fuel for your marketing strategy.