Marketers and business leaders are currently in the midst of significant industry transformation. Consumers are setting the highest bar yet for what they expect from brands. And, while AI-powered tools are supporting marketers to multiply our impact, legacy technologies like third-party cookies are going away next year.
At the heart of heightened consumer expectations is a relationship built on trust. To achieve that trust, brands should help their customers understand and manage how their data is used. Because when people feel in control of their data, they’re more willing to offer it in exchange for relevant, personalized experiences. In this context, privacy doesn’t come at the expense of performance; it powers it.
For marketers, this moment presents an immense opportunity to define a new era of modern marketing, one that elevates customer trust and supports business growth. They are stepping up to lead in three critical ways:
- Adopting privacy principles built on a consented first-party data strategy
- Implementing AI-powered tools to improve and measure results
- Shifting mindsets within their organizations and across the industry
To celebrate marketers who are championing trust and privacy, and moving our industry forward, Deloitte and Google came together to spotlight their stories.
Here are the 2023 Privacy Power Players.
According to Luis Di Como, Unilever’s Head of Global Media, the fundamentals of marketing don’t change, even as digital advertising does. “Success will continue to mean reaching people, in the right context, with the right message, with quality creative, safely and responsibly.”
To provide success, Di Como created resources for the industry to responsibly and ethically use data across the ecosystem, launching the world’s first brand guide on data ethics in advertising, along with the Global Alliance for Responsible Media and the World Federation of Advertisers. He also developed Unilever’s Responsibility Framework to establish a shared set of commitments across Unilever and its partners. The framework’s three pillars — Responsible Platforms, Responsible Content, and Responsible Infrastructure — have provided a replicable framework that supports building trust online for people and brands.
Catlin Bowers’ vision for elevating privacy is grounded in giving consumers transparency and control. As Mediahub’s VP, Director of Data Privacy Governance, she’s built a network of privacy champions who bring a privacy-first approach to client campaigns. “From the minute they interact with a brand, consumers should know what types of data are gathered, what controls they have, what the default settings are, and what their data could be used for. And they should be presented with clear privacy policies and conspicuous ways to opt out.”
Mediahub’s privacy champions provide clients with guidance on operationalizing privacy within their campaigns. Its work includes implementing client-specific processes, reviewing day-to-day campaign operations, and holding media partners accountable. In 2.5 years, Bowers has grown this initiative to more than 300 members and built a scaled resource that integrates privacy knowledge into client work.
Shyam Venugopal takes a “people-based” approach to privacy in marketing: Build for the people behind the data and the value your brand offers them. For Venugopal and his team, this means embedding a beneficial value exchange within product design and finding other creative ways to gather first-party data, since many of PepsiCo’s brands haven’t typically had direct relationships with consumers. Innovative tactics, like QR codes on packaging and in-store at point of sale, allow customers to share their information in exchange for access to rewards programs. Doing so allows PepsiCo to shift shopper relationships from transactional to long term, while building first-party data and expanding audience insights.
According to Venugopal, “A brand’s only chance to stand out is to create meaningful, relevant, personalized experiences. The responsibility is on brands to come up with engaging, beneficial initiatives that drive lifetime value.” And it seems he’s onto something. In 18 months, PepsiCo increased its global first-party data record by 50%, and unlocked 2X ad recall for campaigns that leverage first-party data.
In the past year as Etsy’s recently departed CMO, Ryan Scott has achieved double-digit growth that he attributes to putting customer privacy at the center of everything the company does — from technology systems to hiring to building campaigns. “Every single decision we make needs to contribute to a durable future. If it doesn’t, we’re not doing it.”
Another success factor? Showing customers that their privacy is respected and their data handled responsibly. Etsy is already phasing out third-party cookies by using more durable strategies, like data from ad platforms and contextual signals. They’re also beta-testing new privacy-preserving tools from partner platforms and offering critical feedback to guide product development in line with advertiser requirements. Combined, these practices have supported Etsy to earn trust, making customers “more likely to engage with our brand and remain loyal over the long term.”
Creating better customer experiences while driving business results is the reason why Ali Miller, VP of Ads Product at Instacart, uses AI-powered privacy tools. Anonymized signals from product searches, basket-building, and other online shopping behaviors allow Miller and her team to surface relevant ads in the moment.
When trained on quality information, AI may make clever connections between products for a consumer — like pasta sauce and stain remover — that broaden their intent and discovery, without having to ask for more personal information.
Beyond this, Miller and her team are also exploring how Instacart’s closed-loop data may assist advertisers to reach audiences and measure outcomes based on aggregated first-party behavioral and transactional data, rather than relying on third-party cookies as a proxy. While it’s nascent, Miller believes that it may have the potential to revolutionize how brands gain insights and drive marketing impact.
For Maria Breza, a VP at SiriusXM who works across SXM Media and AdsWizz, getting privacy and measurement right begins with experimentation. “Many privacy solutions are nascent and it’s tempting to wait for an ‘industry winner,’ but, in reality, testing multiple tactics in-market for a similar time frame makes it easier to evaluate and lead from the front.”
Working across brand advertising and publisher monetization, Breza experiments at the intersection of context and identity. She looks at small audience cohorts to find common characteristics and uncover affinities that aren’t obvious on the surface. From there, Breza and her team scale these audiences to find relevant reach for advertisers across streaming and podcasts. Importantly, Breza’s experiments support advertisers in reaching audiences based solely on context, signaling a win for privacy, and performance.
Jason Hartley, PMG’s Head of Media Innovation and Trust, has observed that the prevailing mentality on privacy has been to “hope and hide” — hope that third-party cookies stick around and try to avoid the impact of privacy regulations. He believes it’s time for a mindset shift, leading his teams and clients to innovate around consumers.
To do so, Hartley is implementing a “learn and plan” approach. When it comes to retail clients, for example, he points to this holiday season as a crucial time to learn — by evaluating contextual signals and modeled audiences, and experimenting with media mix modeling and attribution. From there, clients can create durable reach and measurement strategies that work in a post-cookie world. As Hartley points out, it’s up to each of us to be accountable. “We’re all privacy professionals now.”
As Chief Investment Officer at Spark Foundry, Lisa Giacosa uses her agency-side purview to support clients’ understanding of the consumer journey across platforms, products, and services — and the critical role that privacy-first practices play throughout. She also advises them on how to prioritize investments based on privacy and performance requirements.
According to Giacosa, “Everyone needs to use data, but driving better business results requires finding the right data and collecting it responsibly to ensure that data privacy is preserved.” To do that, she recommends that clients connect the dots across legal, compliance, and IT departments and to find a steward to evangelize data governance practices. Ultimately, she explains, “It’s never too late to catch up. With innovative strategies in a quickly evolving privacy landscape, you can find ways to leapfrog and move your business forward.”
To reinvent how teams at Bank of America work together around privacy, SVP of Marketing Data Strategy Edward Drake created a cross-functional task force. The group connects marketing, operations, legal, and compliance functions with specialists in brand safety, technology, and analytics to find technologies and capabilities to test and scale across the organization.
Since the task force’s creation, Bank of America has implemented privacy-first data practices and strengthened the brand’s trusted relationships with consumers. Drake also credits his work with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), which focus on attribution, measurement, and technology to advance privacy throughout the company and the industry.
Paul Bannister sees new privacy protections as an opportunity to rebuild consumer trust and strengthen outcomes for advertisers, creators, and publishers. Because the process will require replacing legacy technologies, however, Bannister is leading the development of new digital advertising standards. Through leadership roles with the IAB Tech Lab and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Bannister works closely with platforms and web browsers to build tools that meet advertisers’ audience and measurement requirements. His focus on the technical underpinnings of advertising and media combine with experience in sales, editorial, product, and engineering to form a broad approach to advancing privacy-preserving technology.
Alysia Borsa has led critical privacy-focused initiatives throughout her career. She has spearheaded building first-party data capabilities and early adoption of privacy-preserving technologies, including championing a trust-by-design approach to marketing. She emphasizes that it is critical to determine that content, products, and features are built to preserve privacy and improve advertiser performance.
Borsa also works in Washington with stakeholders around privacy issues and serves as chair of the IAB, encouraging individuals in the ads ecosystem to “leverage industry bodies to collaborate, get educated on regulatory changes, and proactively embrace new solutions.”