Marketing Data & Privacy The Responsible Marketing Hub With Google

Privacy is a journey, but everyone needs to be on board


By Jenni Baker | Senior Editor

March 13, 2023 | 8 min read

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Marketers from HSBC and Kingfisher join privacy leads from Google and Lucid Privacy Consulting to share best practices for a privacy-first culture built on collaboration and communication.

Panel discussion at Google UK Privacy Forum

Marketing leaders say it's time to see privacy as an enabler, not a blocker

Privacy has become an intrinsic part of business and marketing operations. As regulations and expectations grow and become more complex, it’s clear that the path to privacy isn’t linear. But if marketers can get all key stakeholders and teams on board the privacy train, they will be best prepared to avoid unnecessary whiplash when navigating the regulatory twists and turns up ahead.

“There is a huge amount to understand and you have to stay on the train for the entirety of the journey because it’s constantly changing and evolving,” said Eloi Casali, group performance marketing lead at Kingfisher, which means marketing needs to be sitting in the same carriage as legal teams and with support from the C-suite to build a future-proof plan for privacy.

“Getting the correct governance, structure and responsibilities in place is core to all successful privacy programs,” said Ross Webster, privacy consultant at Lucid Privacy Consulting Group, who works with businesses to identify competitive opportunities afforded by privacy. “If you haven’t got that in place, you are setting yourself up for failure.”

This topic was included as part of Google’s UK Privacy Forum, where Casali and Webster were discussing how to deliver responsible marketing that’s private by design and performance enhancing by default, alongside Becky Moffat, chief marketing officer at HSBC UK, and Claire Norburn, UK & Ireland ads privacy lead at Google.

Creating the culture

A key theme was collaboration. Privacy doesn’t sit in one department – it’s a cross-functional task force that needs input from all areas to deliver better experiences for customers and value to the business. There has got to be someone who has the helicopter view of the end goal you’re trying to reach but that must filter down across the whole business. It starts with the C-suite.

“It’s crucial to get the buy-in across the C-level; make the CEO the sponsor to set that culture and push the importance of privacy,” said Webster. “Most companies look at privacy as a cost center – something that has to be done, a necessary evil, but research tells a different story – privacy can be an opportunity and if you build it in as an actual brand attribute, that’s where it gets interesting.”

With a collection of teams involved, each with conflicting priorities, there can be friction. But this can be resolved with a privacy culture driven by education, collaboration and communication.

“What oils the machine is C-suite buy-in, a helicopter view of the end goal to garner buy-in to support the whole group moving forward,” said Casali. “Different teams have different ways of working so a big part of it is education. That’s when you start to create ideas.”

Communicating for change

With the culture in place, the challenge for complex organizations is building a strong narrative and understanding to enable teams to work together and speak the same language.

“Where things go well is when you’ve got partners who are marketing literate and can translate that to the C-suite,” said Moffat. “In every area – even if you think of traditional marketing – data and privacy are woven through that. So, really the starting point is helping people to understand how the marketing landscape is changing, how rapidly it’s changing, the opportunity that’s available by changing some of the things we do or thinking slightly differently and demonstrating the positive impact on outcomes both on customers and commercially.”

A key partnership is that of marketing and legal/data protection partners, Webster said. “It’s about legal having a marketing point of view and vice versa. And the earlier you bring them in, the easier and shorter the process will be. On the flip side, it’s important for legal to be really clear on what the expectations are for marketing, to support and look for solutions. There are responsibilities on both sides but that is much easier when you share the same culture.”

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Privacy as an enabler

Businesses must start thinking about privacy as an enabler – not a blocker. Privacy isn’t something that should be seen as an inhibitor to marketing performance but instead an opportunity for new ways of thinking about how to rebuild datasets and communicate with customers in a privacy-safe way.

“For us, it’s a real joint effort for our legal, data privacy, marketing and tech teams to start to rebuild datasets and consent structures but also how we start to talk to customers in a very different way to explain to them why we might need the data from them and what we do with it,” said Moffat. “The shift for us is from privacy being locked down to how we become privacy-safe in how we do things.”

Marketers have a vital role to play in helping drive the privacy agenda forward and set new standards in service of the customer. With all this in mind, here are three key takeaways:

Convergence: talk to partners outside your comfort zone to understand the objectives and how different work streams come together to build a big-picture view of privacy in your business.

Collaboration: remove the complexity around language and terminology. Communicate in a simple, straightforward way with other stakeholders to educate them and be transparent.

Culture: push the onus back upstream to garner support from the top to set the culture and the governance around privacy. That is foundational to the success of the vision.

Marketing Data & Privacy The Responsible Marketing Hub With Google

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Google is committed to helping businesses thrive in a privacy-first world. The technology giant works with thousands of businesses and agencies to help them prepare for a future without third party cookies. Using privacy-preserving technologies, built on machine learning and automation, it can fill reporting gaps and understand people’s needs in a privacy-centric way.

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