Marketing without Data

With new legislation on the horizon, what does a future with restricted data mean for marketers?

Unless you have been under a rock, or not reading your industry press, you will no doubt be aware of California’s attempt to protect its flock with stricter data privacy laws under The CCPA slated for 2020. Others have quickly followed suit with more than fifteen state proposals and a plethora of federal ones that could result in a further complicated patchwork of compliance controls. On top of legislation, consumer unwillingness to share their personal data is also rising. Forrester recently reported that 79% of US online adults are using at least one tool to protect their identity – from VPN’s and fake email addresses to incognito browsers. eMarketer reports 45% have also made an effort to keep their cookies minimal in an effort to block tracking.

As we face an uncertain future, what are the questions we should be asking ourselves? How will the marketing industry need to adapt?

 Understanding the type of data we might lose is the first step.

Data brokers are directly affected. Consumers will have the right to opt-out (through a clear and upfront notification online) of the sale of their data. Any brands dealing with the data of minors will also require explicit opt-in from parents. Advertising networks may also find less data as consumers gain more control over how their online behavioral data is tracked. IP addresses are now seen as ‘personal identifiers’ if they can be ‘reasonably linked’ or ‘associated with’ other a person. It also appears to treat persistent cookies as a means for collecting personal information. Businesses are therefore required to provide a privacy disclose, at or before point of collection.

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So, the question becomes: will all consumers opt-out?

 My guess is no. Consumers are not created equally, and one person’s trash is another’s treasure!

Some find hyper-customization helpful; others still find it creepy.

We are also learning from the GDPR how important it is to gain a consumer’s consent. CPM’s in programmatic ad buying fell drastically in the EU post-GDPR last year as opt-ins were required at each point in the process.  However, the IAB’s “Transparency Consent Framework” (TCF) has helped to provide authentic opt-ins from consumers who want to receive targeted ads. Results are still pending but the IAB is looking to support US ad networks with the same approach to help self-regulation.

 And we know they share if there’s something in it for them. A solid value exchange with brands they trust is the top reason why consumers feel ‘happy’ to share their data with a company, according to an Acxiom study last year.

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As you prepare for tighter legislation with the CCPA at the start of 2020, here are a few things to consider:

  1. How are you identifying your California residents online? The CCPA covers tax-paying CA residents only. Ideally you adopt legislation nationwide to avoid a complex patchwork approach, but if not, you need to update experiences so they can adapt for your west coasters.
  2. Are you ready to implement an Opt-out from the sale of data? If this applies to your business practices, then start work now to build this functionality for consumers. And don’t forget parents, you need their consent for minors.
  3. Revisit and review privacy policies. Under CCPA you must disclose the purpose and intention before or at point of collection. Are you? How clear and transparent is the language you use?
  4. What data are you collecting and why? Data minimization techniques (legislated under the GDPR) means you only collect the data you will use at the time, proving to a customer you are in this for mutual gain. CCPA doesn’t mandate this, but it is going to further raise consumers awareness around data privacy, so get out in front of it.
  5. How are you providing value-back? What is the customer getting for sharing their data? Are you offering customized services, or just targeting to sell them more stuff?
  6. How much do you trust your brand or client? What’s it like to be your customer? Get humble. Sign-up online, test out what happens to your data.

Don’t wait for legislation. Any good relationship grows over time. Brands who start valuing the consumer and respecting their privacy now, will find that the well of consumer data doesn’t have to dry up.

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