Data privacy is taking centre stage in the digital marketing arena, and regulations are coming into effect across the globe, impacting brands, publishers, and tech companies alike.
In Germany regulators ordered Facebook to stop combining data from Instagram, WhatsApp and third party websites to create user profiles without explicit user consent. In France Google was fined almost $57 million under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for failing to disclose how personal information is collected and used, as well as not obtaining consent for data to be used for personalised advertising. Here in the US, the regulatory landscape is hotting up, with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) coming into effect in 2020 and states such as Washington and New Mexico looking to introduce their own legislation.
This increased focus on data privacy leaves brands in a difficult position. They rely increasingly heavily on data insight to deliver the relevant, personalised, unified experiences that set them apart from their competitors and create a positive, lasting impression. At the same time, they need to ensure compliance with data regulations to minimise risk, maintain credibility and build trusting consumer relationships.
Here are three steps to delivering positive, unified experiences in the new regulatory era:
Get regulatory compliance right
Inevitably, the first step in regulatory compliance is implementing security protection at all layers of the technology stack to maintain the safety and integrity of personal data. But this is easier said than done when brands interact with consumers across a growing range of platforms, from websites and mobile apps to secure customer portals, which are often disjointed and managed in siloes.
Brands can take control of data security by adopting one single hub, such as an enterprise-grade digital experience management platform, where content can be created and managed centrally and published to multiple digital platforms via defined APIs. A foundational tech hub that links to all platforms allows brands to implement end-to-end security and automated digital governance, with data encrypted both in transit and at rest.
With some data regulations such as the GDPR requiring users to positively opt in to data collection and processing, brands can also implement automated consent tools that keep customers informed and empower them to determine how their personal data is used. Consent requests must be executed transparently, and data preferences applied seamlessly across all digital channels, to ensure regulatory compliance. The most effective consent tools enable a customised approach with capacity to comply with the evolving legal requirements of different geographic regions.
Earn the right to customer trust
Simply implementing data security and consent mechanisms isn’t enough, brands must also earn the right to customer trust by delivering high quality experiences. If a brands’ digital platforms are poor quality, with accessibility issues, mismatched images, broken links, misspellings, or poorly structured content, it sends a signal that providing exceptional customer experiences is a low priority. Equally, if branding is inconsistent across different digital channels it can sow a seed of doubt in customers’ minds about the credibility and trustworthiness of the brand.
To deliver high quality, unified experiences across multiple touchpoints, brands can implement tools that connect with the foundational hub to assess media on a range of channels and coordinate quality control, ensuring compliance with brand usage guidelines and a seamless user experience. Manually reviewing content across all channels is prohibitively time consuming, but platforms with native error scanning capabilities allow brands to identify issues or inconsistencies and rectify them before they can have an adverse impact on brand perception and ultimately customer trust.
Prepare for changing regulations
Global data regulation is only in its early stages and is likely to evolve rapidly over the coming years, so brand technologies need to be agile enough to adapt to as yet unforeseen changes. Rather than investing in restrictive all-in-one solution suites, brands should look for interoperable Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms suited to their individual requirements.
One of the benefits of SaaS solutions is they are regularly updated by the vendor, so brands don’t have the hassle of in-house development or upgrades. Platforms should be integration-friendly, enabling new solutions to be added to the stack as and when they emerge. Similarly, outdated or obsolete solutions can be removed without unnecessarily disrupting operations, keeping technology simple and streamlined. A purposeful foundation, designed to accommodate new tools and technologies in line with the evolution of data regulations will help brands deliver unified, relevant experiences, while remaining fully compliant.
Data regulation is only in its infancy so, as current laws are enforced and new legislation takes effect, data privacy will be a top priority for brands all over the world. By implementing end-to-end security protection and transparent consent tools through a foundational hub, earning customer trust through high quality interactions, and ensuring the tech stack is agile enough to adapt to evolving legislation, brands can still deliver relevant, unified experiences in the new regulatory era.