Laptop showing website data

Since the rise of the internet we have been creating and sharing data at a faster pace than ever before. To put just how much data we create into perspective, look at the numbers in this infographic made by @LoriLewis and @OfficiallyChad in 2019. That’s a lot of data made each and every minute, and it’s safe to say the numbers are growing for 2020.

what happens on the internet in one minute

Marketing’s History With Data

Marketing’s big challenge has always been figuring out when, where and how to attract the attention and business of their target consumers. With all of this data being created daily, and being available, marketers over the past couple of decades have fallen in love with data and the insights it brings. Marketing departments can now determine the best places on the internet to advertise their products, in which geographical locations, at what times during the day drive the best results.

Over the years technology has become increasingly better, making it easier for businesses to sort through and utilize the massive amounts of data available. This has resulted in marketing departments relying heavily on data to drive their marketing efforts, and using data is not necessarily a bad thing, but there’s more to marketing than just the data. Many businesses collect all the data they can on their consumers, when in reality they only use a percentage of that information to create insights for marketing strategies and to measure the results of their marketing efforts.

In the past couple of decades marketing has developed a strong relationship with data, and the rise of consumers’ demand for more privacy and transparency when it comes to the information collected on them has created some fear for marketers as they begin to think of how they will provide this privacy while still tackling the big challenge of when, where, and how to reach their consumers.

Consumers’ Data Privacy

The past couple of years have been big for data privacy for consumers. New regulations around the world, like the GDPR, have been put in place to allow consumers more control over their personal data and the rights to have businesses delete or not collect information on them. The implementation of the California Consumer Privacy Act this January is bringing a new wave of consumer data privacy rights to the US and will change the way marketing is done in the US. The CCPA won’t be the last data privacy act for the US. Many other states are already looking into passing their own version of a data privacy legislation, while many people are pushing for there to be one centralized data privacy legislation for the entire nation instead of different rules and regulations from state to state.

Data Privacy in a World of Personalized Marketing

Consumers should have the right to know what is being collected on them and the right to provide consent or opt out of data being collected if they desire more privacy. Marketers should be able to connect with their consumers and provide them personalized and relevant ads and offers. So how does this mix? In an article published on Think with Google, Patrick Hounsell discusses three smart steps that can be taken “to balance data-driven marketing and privacy.”

  1. “Collect data responsibly”
  2. “Be resourceful with how you reach audiences”
  3. “Hire and train for privacy”

To collect data responsibly, it is important that marketers ask consumers for consent to collect and use their data, and make it known what information is being collected. Some businesses have been trying to find ways around needing consent, such as fingerprinting. We do not recommend this or other loopholes as it ignores the consumer’s rights to privacy and does not respect those rights. Transparency with your consumers will help to build trust and loyalty with your business.

When selecting places to show your ads, be smart in the placement and choose sites that also have data privacy standards in place. As you train your current team and new members on privacy regulations and the processes in your business make sure everyone understands how to market responsibly and to be respectful of consumers’ privacy.

This new wave of data privacy will bring many changes to business processes and marketing, mostly for the better. These regulations are requiring businesses to step back from the craze of data, data, data and to think about how to collect, store, and use that data responsibly and securely. It will also require businesses to think about what information is useful for their business processes and what information they don’t really need to be collecting. Marketers will still be able to collect and use data to inform their strategies and efforts, just with the requirement of receiving consent from their consumers first, and consumers will begin to have more trust in businesses that respect their privacy and their data. Stay tuned for updates on consumer privacy and all that unfolds this year as new regulations are formed and marketing departments continue to modify the way they collect data and market to consumers.