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Tackling privacy with purpose

Jellyfish's Sandrine Reinert discusses data privacy and purpose / Lianhao Qu via Unsplash

As part of our Deep Dive on Data, Sandrine Reinert, managing director in France for Drum Network member Jellyfish, tells us that the key to balancing privacy and precision is an approach to data informed by brand purpose.

It’s no secret that consumers are taking their privacy more seriously than ever before. Data breaches and high-profile privacy cases have thrust consumer privacy into the mainstream media, and consumers have become more conscious about data they are sharing. Many are starting to wake up to the value their data has.

As an industry, we haven’t helped ourselves. Our hyper-focus on collecting customer data, believing it to be the holy grail in marketing, has created frustration among consumers. They are starting to demand clarity on why brands are asking for data, and how they’re planning to use it.

This isn’t because consumers are against advertising. In fact, consumers are perfectly fine with advertising. A study published by the IAB found that 75% of Europeans preferred the current commercial model for the internet, which is funded largely by targeted advertising, over a scenario where sites and apps fund themselves through subscriptions.

Balancing consumer demands

Despite consumers wanting greater control and transparency over their data, they’re also demanding user experiences personalised to their requirements. Having data on consumers certainly makes personalisation easier. It’s the job of every marketer to balance providing that personalised experience with the expectation of what data might be required.

Fortunately, advancements in technology, combined with improved data collection practices and analytics means that we can create more personalised experiences despite the new regulations around privacy.

One of the cornerstones of creating this personalised marketing is high-quality first-party data. This needs to be collected in a transparent and privacy-friendly manner. Creating personalised experiences with too much data usually has the opposite effect than originally attended. Consumers can feel like they are being stalked, or that the company is using their data ineffectively. Avoiding bad decisions is as important as making good ones when it comes to data. Privacy-first business strategies are essential.

Focus on quality, not quantity

It's imperative that brands believe in the marriage of brand with performance, and profitability with purpose. Brands and agencies must stop trying to accumulate more and more data, and concentrate instead on what creates value for their brand and for users. Advertisers need to take a step back and think about how consumer data is used and whether it matches (or exceeds) user expectations. When collecting data, the focus should be on quality, not quantity.

Brands should look at their data, how they are acquiring it, and think about what value it's providing them with. What is the purpose of this data? Where does all my data live? How can the data create a better user experience for consumers?

I would hazard a guess that most brands are collecting more data than is required. As an industry, we need to stop acquiring surplus data and concentrate on what creates value.

I would also encourage brands to have an open discussion around KPIs. We frequently see that business data is siloed from marketing data, and it’s pivotal that those data silos are overcome. Lots of decisions are made using algorithms. They are set up to analyse and crunch data sets that get smaller over time. Over time, quality becomes more important than quantity. It needs to be data that is guided by what’s helpful for the customer.

Another key focus should be to look at your data collection governance. Ensure that it’s responsible, highly secure, and answers what customers expect of your brand.

Slow and steady wins the race

We are entering a new stage of expectations around data. We’ve all been stressed about privacy, and especially about the new rules imposed by regulators. However, in the future, it will not be enough to just respect privacy. Brands will be expected to be transparent and ethical if they want to build loyalty and retain customers. Considering data ethics at the outset may mean you’re slower off the starting block, but it will save you time in the long run.

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