How to navigate data privacy as a marketer in 2019

Personalisation is the bread and butter of marketing today. When you can show genuine relevance and connection to your audience, your messaging is better able to reach the right people and leave a lasting impression. Econsultancy's CRO 2017 report shows 39% of marketers saw major uplift from personalisation within search engine marketing - demonstrating the benefits of this strategy during the consideration stage of the buyers' journey.

That said, it's getting increasingly harder to personalise messages today without getting tangled in a web of dubious consent and privacy disputes. In the wake of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU, it's more important now than ever before to understand a consumer's rights to privacy and find strategies to reach the right audience without breaching trust.

In this article, we break down the basics of data privacy in 2019 for marketers.

What's classified as personal data?

The GDPR, though only protecting those in the EU currently, is thought by some to be a model upon which the rest of the world may follow in developing data protection policies. At the core of the GDPR is the definition of personal data.

Personal data refers to any information which can be used to identify someone, directly or otherwise. This includes:

  • Names.
  • Identification numbers.
  • Location data.
  • Online identifiers.
  • Characteristics pertaining to physical, physiological, genetic, mental, commercial, cultural or social identity.
  • Telephone records.
  • Credit card information.
  • Account data.
  • Number plate.
  • Appearance.

This list isn't exhaustive, but already shows the extent of data which could be found in breach in the event of further protections. Of course, some personal data is expected to be held by organisations, however the GDPR requires full opt-in consent is granted and only directly relevant data is collected.

Laptop screen

Marketers today need to think more seriously about the data they're collecting and how they protect it.

Create an inventory of your collected data

With this in mind, it's important to identify the data you own. Create an inventory of personal data recorded by your business, including the above and cookies, IP addresses and third party tracking data. Qualify your data using elements such as how the data was collected, if consent was acquired and how the data will be used.

A clear data inventory creates transparency into your assets and liabilities and allows you to be more flexible in the case of potential future changes.

If you're likely to market to individuals in the EU, you'll also need to consider the purpose of the data you collect. Under the GDPR, you must be clear about the reasons for collecting data and can only use data for a new purpose if it's compatible with the original purpose, or consent is granted again.

Ensure all data held is relevant to your business' genuine interest and you're being transparent about how it will be used.

Data privacy

Communicating your data privacy policy and gaining express consent is vital in 2019.

Avoid the consent trap

Consent is one of the easiest ways to ensure you're respecting the privacy of your customers - but it's not a panacea. Any consent to collect and use personal data must be:

  • Supported by easily accessible documentation of the purpose and intended use of data.
  • Specific as to how data will be used (eg., "for analytics" is not sufficient).
  • Opted-in. Consent cannot be the default, rather a conscious choice of the consumer.

With 43% of people worldwide feeling they lack control over their personal data (according to McAfee), the requirements around consent may seem to be an obstacle to effective personalisation. However, research from Deloitte indicates 79% of consumers are willing to share personal data if there's a clear benefit for them.

Remember that personalisation works because it provides customers with what they actually want. So, by being transparent about data collection and incentivising consent with personalised offers, you can collect valuable and clean data while enhancing your customers' experiences.

Navigating data privacy can be a minefield today - but there are ways to reach the right audiences without putting yourself at risk. Advertise on to put your message before the right people at the right time. Click here to learn more about our targeted audiences.

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