Marketers anticipate greater privacy regulation in 2020

Ahead of International Data Privacy Day, privacy-first marketing is the focus of the policy chapter of Warc’s Marketer’s Toolkit 2020, which takes a deep dive into the regulatory drivers affecting marketing activity, and offers an evidence-based and practical guide for marketers to plan for the year ahead.

Data privacy is both a trend in regulation, and a growing consumer demand. As such, it is one of the most important global themes for marketers in 2020.

Lawmakers in many markets across the globe are implementing stronger data protection rights which will have significant implications for marketers. Specifically, in the US, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) comes into force this month.

Like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the CCPA limits how companies can collect, store, use and share customer data and gives consumers more control over their personal information. While the new regulations change the data landscape, there are opportunities for brands to present themselves as ‘privacy first’ to consumers wary of how their data is being used.

More than half of respondents to the Marketer’s Toolkit 2020 survey (52%) believe they need to strengthen their data policies. Almost a quarter (23%) of respondents in Asia have no form of data protection in place compared with 14% globally.

Dave Grimaldi, executive vice president, Public Policy, Interactive Advertising Bureau, cautions: “The misuse of consumer data under this new CCPA regime could be the death knell for a company. We hope it won’t be, but this is why marketers must act now.”

In China, meanwhile, the Personal Information Security Specification proposes an “unbundling” of data protection consents, which will affect the ability to use consumers’ personal data for marketing purposes. Marketers can expect greater scrutiny, particularly on data that are deployed for personalised marketing, such as transaction data, location and device data, and behavioural data.

Consent management and ‘small data’ are top priorities for 2020

Consent, permissions and transparency will be the new normal for marketers in 2020. The Warc survey finds 57% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they are “readdressing consent management practices in light of privacy regulation”.

A new CMO report points to the growing need for customer trust to influence every corporate decision and customer engagement across every digital and physical channel. It calls for marketing, IT, legal and operations to adopt a privacy-first culture…

Some are investing in consent management platforms (CMPs) which collect and store customers’ consent data, enabling marketers to keep track of peoples’ privacy preferences and permissions.

Marketers are also prioritising first-party data, with 58% of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that they have a strategy for actively collecting first-party data from customers. Not only is first-party data compliant with regulations, but it also gives brands the opportunity to identify and engage with opt-in customers who actually want to hear from them.

Like Europe’s GDPR before it, CCPA encourages companies to have a data minimisation strategy i.e. companies should not keep data they do not need. In this environment, marketers may pivot from big data, to smaller, smarter, more secure data, enabling marketers to nurture relationships with lots of smaller, niche communities of opt-in consumers.

Jill Baskin, chief marketing officer, The Hershey Company, says: “For us, a big part of it is whether we agree with how our partners are using data. We just want to get a lot more transparency from our partners… How are they keeping [data]? We want to have not just what’s the legal thing, but what we ethically think is right.”

Ivan Pollard, chief marketing officer, General Mills, comments: “We’re going to keep making sure we’re doing the right thing with data. I don’t think it’s enough to do a ‘click here and accept our terms and conditions,’ knowing that 90% of people never read them. We’ve got to be clear about what we’re asking for and what we’re going to do with it. That’s number one.”

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