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Data Privacy Day 2024: Google’s checklist for CMOs

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By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

January 26, 2024 | 14 min read

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To mark Data Privacy Day 2024, we capture the key learnings from The Responsible Marketing Hub with Google to create a CMO checklist for success.

9 tips to help marketers to prepare for a new data & privacy landscape in 2024

9 tips to help marketers to prepare for a new data & privacy landscape in 2024

A new future of digital advertising is coming - one that relies on a strong data privacy strategy. From gathering consented data to embracing privacy-centric AI tools to measuring performance and driving a culture of collaboration around privacy, experts have shared pearls of wisdom to help marketers prepare for a privacy-first world on The Responsible Marketing Hub with Google.

To mark Data Privacy Day (January 28), we’ve handpicked some of their essential tips and insights to create a checklist for CMOs to help propel their brands forward in 2024.

1. Be proactive with your strategy to build trust

Research from Google and Ipsos shows that getting privacy right has significant benefits for both consumers and companies. Brands who can boost the feeling of control and exceed customers' expectations around data privacy can benefit from brand favorability and positivity, consumer trust, and marketing effectiveness.

“Brands need to go beyond the basics to provide truly positive privacy experiences and there are clear, tangible actions advertisers can take to achieve that,” said Maxwell Minckler, senior market insights manager EMEA, Google. “This means letting people know why their data is being collected, what it will be used for, and how it is improving their experience. All these factors combine to create transparency and build trust with your customers.”

It’s not enough to just be compliant with privacy regulation. Think about the bigger picture of building relationships with your customers. Be responsible for the data you’re collecting and what you do with it by being real, authentic and transparent. That’s where businesses can win, said Claire Norburn, UK & Ireland ads privacy lead at Google.

“Brands should be utilizing privacy practices that are meaningful, memorable and manageable to positively impact customers’ feelings of control,” she said. “The more practices you can implement, the better the effectiveness of the communications you provide those customers.”

Full article: Marketers must be proactive on data privacy to maintain customer trust

Related article: 4 lessons for marketers to thrive in a privacy-first future

2. Work hand-in-hand with legal for competitive differentiation

With ongoing compliance and regulation to contend with, marketers should be working hand-in-hand with their legal representatives to deliver responsible marketing excellence as a key competitive differentiator for their marketing strategy. A forward-thinking, cross-functional team approach to privacy will be key.

“Legal advice doesn’t exist in a vacuum and when we’re looking at building a relationship of trust with customers, we should be providing input alongside other stakeholders,” said Tom O'Flynn, a director in the Ads Legal Team at Google. “Ultimately, a lawyer who doesn’t understand a brand’s marketing objectives, broader business goals and company culture – particularly how it views its relationship with customers – can’t provide the best advice. The earlier we are engaged by the marketing team, the better the overall outcomes – because legal are able to spot problems and act proactively rather than being on the back foot.”

Full article: When marketing meets legal - joining the dots for responsible marketing excellence

3. Get sponsorship from the C-suite to create the right culture

Privacy has become an intrinsic part of business and marketing operations, it doesn’t sit in one department. It should be a cross-functional task force that needs input from all areas to deliver better experiences for customers and value to the business. Sponsorship from the C-suite is vital to build a privacy-first culture to filter down across the whole business.

“Where things go well is when you’ve got partners who are marketing literate and can translate that to the C-suite,” said Becky Moffat, chief marketing officer at HSBC UK. “In every area – even if you think of traditional marketing – data and privacy are woven through that. The starting point is helping people to understand how rapidly the marketing landscape is changing and 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.”

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

Related article: Prioritizing privacy: how to get buy-in from the C-suite

4. Enhance your learning to make privacy a core skill

Marketing leaders who can approach privacy through a different lens to upskill themselves and their teams and communicate in the right way to key stakeholders will be able to make better product and technology decisions, gain a competitive advantage and win the trust of consumers.

With a better understanding of the societal and regulatory landscape leading to changes in advertising technology, marketing teams can go into conversations equipped with the right knowledge to help the business deal with these changes. Not everyone needs to be data protection officer standard, but having a baseline level of knowledge will be key to success.

“Privacy is no longer a specialist subject in marketing, it’s a core competency,” said Adam Taylor, UK privacy lead of Google Marketing Platform (GMP) at Google. “That comes through in a number of ways – the way you hire, train and upskill yourself and your team, the decisions you make on technology and partners, and how you communicate effectively across disciplines and functions. Own what you know and consult when you have gaps.”

Full article: Marketers, make privacy a core competency not just a specialist subject

5. Upgrade your technology suite for privacy protections

Things are changing - and fast. When digital media performance is so dependent on protecting people’s privacy first and foremost, marketers will have to upgrade their marketing toolkit to build, measure and activate data responsibly in order to grow their businesses.

The proliferation of channels, a renewed focus on user privacy and the need for advertisers to be able to connect the dots across all the different touch points customers use, mean that some of the tried and trusted tools that advertisers have relied on in the past just won’t cut it anymore.

“To meet and exceed rising consumer expectations, products, programs and partnerships must be approached with a long-term privacy lens that focuses on adapting to a changing, complex macro-environment,” said Darragh Daunt, head of data and measurement solutions, large customer sales (LCS) platforms UK at Google. “We’ve seen organizations getting benefits by forming a strategy built on responsibly gathered first-party data and AI-powered solutions to optimize the performance of their digital campaigns.”

Full article: The digital marketer’s privacy marketing tech toolkit explained

Related article: 3 reasons why making the switch to GA4 is better for brand & business

6. Get comfortable with machine learning & automation

Marketers find themselves in an environment of unparalleled complexity where the choice to embrace and engage with AI can transform their daily activities and facilitate even more strategic and higher value output than ever before. As AI-powered tools are adopted more widely, it’s important for marketers to remember that they are not competing against AI, but are competing against marketers who are already using AI.

“The incredible power and huge potential of AI means it’s imperative we take a bold and responsible approach,” said Debbie Weinstein, VP and MD of Google UK & Ireland. “AI is not going to replace the knowledge and experience people bring to the table. AI technology needs to be guided. That guidance, expertise and understanding of your brands comes from you. I see AI as a tool that helps people focus on what they are good at, and do more of what they love.”

Regardless of the quantity of first-party customer data a business holds, every brand can benefit in the privacy-first future – with the right foundations in place. By embracing a data-centric way of thinking and a test-and-learn mindset, advertisers can ensure that the data they have is actionable, measurable and meaningful.

“Brands spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect set up; they want all their first-party data to be predictive to the nth degree,” said Danielle Fabrizio, data and measurement lead at Google. “That’s the aspiration – but make sure you are starting somewhere, getting something in the market now and testing to see what methods are successful. When we think about activation, it’s about the right signals. The big shift we’re seeing is bidding towards, ultimately, what the business cares more about – business metrics like revenue and profitability.”

Full article: Powering people and growth with AI: how marketers can embrace the opportunity now

Related article: ‘The future is going to be modeled’: how brands can activate their data to drive value

7. Make privacy your creative differentiator

Collecting consented first-party data allows you to understand your customers better - and those insights can be utilized to generate new ideas and ignite creativity. The art and science work hand in hand and in today’s privacy-centric landscape, the more data marketers have at their fingertips - collected in a responsible way - the more they can use it to inform the copy that consumers see in ads, leaning into their interests to make it more relevant and effective.

“It’s like a continuous loop for creative effectiveness,” said Lucy Ferguson, who leads content and privacy in Google’s UK ads marketing team “Consumers lean into ads that are relevant to them, which is driven by the first-party data they are willing to share with brands they trust. Automation unlocks those creative insights so that you are continually able to test, learn and iterate on creative copy, improving efficiency and effectiveness.”

Full article: Privacy - the new canvas for creativity

8. Get the right data practices in place

With performance evolving to be more about aligning the values you measure to actual business objectives, marketers need a more holistic view of performance that aligns measurement to what the business needs to achieve. To connect objectives to growth, advertisers should focus on three key steps: capturing values in a privacy centric way, activating them using smart bidding and proving effectiveness against the business objectives.

“AI-powered performance advertising is only as good as the inputs that feed it,” said Scott Sinclair, UK head of performance at Google. “By focusing on getting your first-party data into a logical structure that helps you guide the AI within Google Ads is the best way to drive better value. And the easiest way to improve your data input is through a robust conversion strategy - which we call conversion excellence.”

Full article: AI tools are ‘only as powerful as the quality of the data that feeds them’

9. Be agile in your approach to measurement

Advertisers focused on staying competitive have been building first-party data strategies but the key is to start gradually testing these first-party data elements to begin the process and build up on it to build a pipeline to the processes required to understand the techniques and tools that you need in order to lay the foundations for a durable measurement framework.

“Given how valuable first-party privacy initiatives are in staying competitive in the market, survival of the fittest is not about who is the strongest or the smartest but who is best able to adapt to change,” says Alex Wilkins, head of analytics at Incubeta. “We’re not necessarily reinventing the wheel, we’re trying to achieve the same things as last year and the years before that - it’s the methods through which we achieve them that are changing.”

“The benefit for advertisers is that if you are using consented first-party data, you don’t need so much data,” says Aymen Tabbakha, data and measurement partner account manager, Google. “It’s about finding the data points you need to deliver a profitable campaign and get the best ROI or uplift in conversion numbers. To create an advantage with first-party data, brands should set a data strategy to guide what data is collected and how it’s activated.”

Full article: Measuring effectiveness: where first-party data meets advertising agility

This checklist features just a handful of insights from The Responsible Marketing Hub. Dive into the full suite of articles to prepare and thrive in a privacy-first world here.

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