Online privacy is top of mind for everyone today. Consumers worry about sharing their personal information and how that information may be used, while marketers worry about how to navigate privacy changes and serve their customers.
Consumers tend to be most willing to share information that they don’t view as invasive and identifying.
But what marketers and customers share is a desired endpoint. New research from a study conducted by Boston Consulting Group and Google shows that customers and marketers in the U.S. and Canada are more concerned about online privacy than ever before. What at first glance seems like balancing a tightrope of sensitive and seemingly conflicting needs is actually a shared desire for more relevant experiences that do not come at the expense of privacy. As marketer and customer needs align, investing in privacy today means being ready for what’s next.
Customers and marketers, united in their goals
Consumers have increasingly high expectations when it comes to digital advertising. Our research found that not only do 65% have negative experiences when ads are not relevant, but a whopping 74% of customers only want ads that are relevant.1 Still, they have concerns about how information about them is used. Specifically, three things matter to them:
- What information is collected (for example, gender, email, browsing behaviour)
- How it is collected (for example, is something offered in exchange? Is the incentive clear?)
- Why it is collected (for example, how will it be used?)
But when it comes to sharing, they tend to be most willing to share information that they don’t view as invasive and identifying, such as their gender, postal code, age, interests, and previous purchases.
Marketers understand how customer-centric, data-driven marketing unlocks significant gains across business objectives.
While nearly 1 in 3 customers are willing to share their email for no incentive, with the right incentive, such as a discount or a free sample, this willingness increases threefold; 90% of customers would willingly share their email address under these circumstances.
People’s desire for relevant and enjoyable experiences is real, but brand trust matters even more. When consumers trust a brand, they are about twice as willing to share their personal information. Equally, a brand’s perceived bad data hygiene makes a customer 2X less likely to share their email address. This is even more important when attracting new customers, as 29% start from a place of mistrust of all companies across any industry to protect their personal information and privacy online, and 64% mistrust companies in at least one industry.2
And while almost 60% of customers believe that companies are selling their data, our research found that very few brands do that.3 Marketers understand the value of data and the trust their customers place in them — and how customer-centric, data-driven marketing unlocks significant gains across business objectives.
Successful marketers make privacy a win-win with customers through relevant experiences and transparency. In particular, they focus on three key things.
1. Building trust by prioritising transparency
Successful marketers make their use of customer information obvious by delivering the benefits directly to customers and actively building customer trust. They also focus on keeping that information safe and overcommunicating with customers how exactly their information is being handled. They invest in partnerships that offer privacy-compliant ways to share data and hold partners to the same online privacy standards by refining partner management across the value chain.
One Fortune 100 financial services company maintains their customers’ trust by investing in redefining their customer data collection to ensure that information is secure and that the compliance is fully airtight. For example, customers are assured that algorithms used by the company won’t conflict with fair-lending regulations. It’s a win for both.
2. Creating great experiences through first-party data
Good marketers focus on accelerating first-party data collection through value exchanges that are tailored to customer motivations. Winning marketers build delightful experiences that allow customers to see the value of consenting to data collection beyond the initial incentive.
One Fortune 200 travel and tourism company created a cutting-edge mobile app to incentivise customers to log in and stay logged in with contextual discounts and highly personalised rates. That created a win-win scenario.
3. Building a data-centric organisation that respects privacy at all levels
Good marketers communicate and champion data privacy. Great marketers reimagine their role in this space all together.
Chief marketing officers are in a position to educate internal finance teams and the executive suite about the company’s privacy strategies and how, for instance, shifting from third-party to first-party data collection may impact their overall business. CMOs can own their organisation’s data and build guardrails to ensure responsible access. And they can invest in long-term success by prioritising durable tech solutions and measurement to make sure online privacy is built from the ground up, with enough agility to respond to the evolving regulatory and industry practices.
Mondelez, a consumer packaged goods company, gained enterprise-wide buy-in and alignment on the criticality of data privacy and achieved 3X to 5X growth in advertising ROI. The result is more relevant ad experience, leading to a higher ROI. And customers are secure in their knowledge that their data is being responsibly used.
The role of the CMO should be reimagined as a data steward. In this position, CMOs and their teams can take ownership of data privacy, data consent management, and communications to customers regarding data.