Marketers finally sit up and take notice of data privacy

data_privacy2It seems the penny has finally dropped in the marketing department that data privacy really is crucial, with the vast majority of brand marketers recognising that the protection of consumers’ personal information will become increasingly important this year.

Data protection experts have, of course, been banging the drum for years but with GDPR now in common parlance and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) coming into force this month, marketers are finally sitting up and taking notice.

And, according to a survey for WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit 2020, more than half (52%) of respondents believe they need to strengthen their data policies, while just under half (45%) expect advertising and marketing regulation to become “more strict”, and a whopping 88% agree, or strongly agree, that digital privacy will become increasingly important this year.

Interactive Advertising Bureau executive vice-president of public policy Dave Grimaldi told researchers: “The misuse of consumer data under this new CCPA regime could be the death knell for a company. We hope it won’t be, but this is why marketers must act now.”

And no lesser luminary than Marc Pritchard, the chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble, added: “We’re doing [with CCPA] just as we did on GDPR. We really take a very high standard when it comes to data. What we would prefer is a common privacy approach [in the US], because it’d be ideal to have one privacy approach and not 27, or, worse, 50.”

The report predicts that consent, permissions and transparency will be the “new normal” for marketers in 2020, with just under three-fifths (57%) of marketers agreeing or strongly agreeing that they are “readdressing consent management practices in light of privacy regulation”.

Brand owners are also investing in consent management platforms (CMPs), which collect and store customers’ consent data, enabling marketers to keep track of peoples’ privacy preferences and permissions.

And first-party data is gaining traction, too, with nearly three-fifths (58%) of marketers agreeing or strongly agreeing that they have a strategy for actively collecting first-party data from customers.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office might be facing criticism for its inaction against the tech giants, but marketers back stronger regulation of the industry, with nearly nine out of ten (86%) of saying big tech companies should face tougher legislation.

Group M senior advisor Rob Norman concluded: “The issue of privacy and exploitation of data is among the most complex of our time. Even if consumer privacy is not being unjustifiably violated, the monetisation of data by major platforms has become a social, political and regulatory lightning rod.”

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