Marketing Brand Safety Data & Privacy

How to set up a privacy compliance strategy for 2023 (and beyond)

By Beth Billingsley | Vice President



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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November 18, 2022 | 7 min read

Major data regulation isn’t new, but many organizations still lose out with incomplete or inefficient compliance approaches. For The Drum’s Data & Privacy Deep Dive, Beth Billingsley of agency Merkle looks at how to get ship-shape.

A judge's gavel on a white background

Compliance is serious business: how can marketers make it as easy for themselves as possible? / Tingey Injury Law Firm via Unsplash

Most marketers today are challenged by consumers’ ever-increasing demand for tailored experiences, with the compounding pressure of data and privacy regulations. First-party data is paramount to delivering a more personalized experience, but how can marketers capture and use consumer data while staying in compliance?

There’s good news and bad news. The bad news: you might already be behind in your efforts. The good news: it’s not too late to start outlining your data privacy strategy. You just need to answer two key questions. First, what does compliance mean and how do I achieve it? And second, how do I build for the future?

What does compliance really mean?

Generally, when speaking of compliance, we’re talking about operating marketing programs within the confines of consumer data privacy regulations. There’s good news and bad news here, too. The good news is that most compliance regulations and terms are actually designed to foster a better relationship between marketers and their consumers based on trust and responsible use of consumer data. The bad news is that the rules and regulations aren’t always clear or consistent for marketers to follow.

By now, everyone in the space is familiar with the two privacy regulation behemoths, GDPR and CCPA. The gist of both for marketers is to collect and utilize consumer data more responsibly. Two other main points that marketers often miss and need to focus on are, first, that they must provide consumers with the ability to understand what data is being captured and for what purpose that data is being used. And second, they must give consumers the ability to request that their data be deleted and not used for specified purposes.

Shaping your compliance strategies for today and the future

To achieve this, marketers can leverage certain technologies, like preference centers, privacy partners, or even robust identity resolutions to manage multiple data assets on behalf of consumers.

A must-have component is that marketers must have a full view of their data, where it’s stored, and what it’s used for. At its best, this is organized through customer profiles that encompass all of the customer data on a specific person, not just data from a few channels. Without this, meeting compliance standards for consumers will be a difficult and incomplete process. By unifying data sources in a central system at a user profile level, marketers can more effectively provide consumers with the full picture of data being captured, for what uses, and allowing for simpler deletion.

It’s a step in the right direction for marketers to implement privacy policies and data-collection notices on owned websites, so if your company has yet to do these things, start by doing this today. But that’s just scratching the surface. We should expect that these regulations are just the tip of the iceberg in our privacy-focused era. As consumers become more savvy and protective of their data, we need to anticipate that more regulations from individual states (and at some point the federal level) will likely come into play.

If your organization hasn’t yet, consider establishing a role or even an entire department dedicated to your company’s data policies to lead this charge. Some companies have employed chief data officers or data stewards who live between marketing and IT teams to speak the language of both. These leaders can influence teams to align on compliance responsibilities while helping build marketing campaigns and strategies that meet the needs of regulations.

Who owns the strategies that govern your data collection practices? Who helps individual-contributing teams in your organization make decisions with how they use consumer data to market to individuals, analyze behaviors, or speak to current customers? If you don’t have a pulse on these areas now, you’re opening yourself up to compliance issues and worse: potential negative impacts on your customer relationships with the mismanagement of the data that they’ve shared with you.

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Your technologies and approach to data needs to be flexible to allow for what new regulations that will likely be on the horizon and the emerging trends that may come up in the world of data. As we’ve seen, larger digital players are leading major shifts in the privacy landscape (Apple’s iOS changes; Google’s upcoming third-party cookie deprecation), and we as marketers have to be able to adapt and meet consumers’ demands.

More transparency and responsible use of data equals stronger and more trustworthy relationships with our consumers. That should be our goal.

For more on how the world of data-driven advertising and marketing is evolving, check out our latest Deep Dive.

Marketing Brand Safety Data & Privacy

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Merkle is a leading data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company that specializes in the delivery of unique, personalized customer experiences across platforms and devices. For more than 30 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios.

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