May 25th, 2018 ushered in 4 little letters into our business vernacular – GDPR (Global Data Privacy Regulation). The biggest shake up in Privacy history in Europe garnered worldwide attention and created confusion about whether it applied here in the US and other regions. So, did it create confusion, panic, cost companies, millions/billions as they attempted compliance? Sure, it did! The underlying principle, though, of giving data subjects more rights around the access to their personal data and create a better understanding of how their data is used, is hard to argue against. The lines between being a consumer or businessperson have blurred, GDPR makes no formal distinction and all of us, undoubtedly, want to be able to understand the who, why, what and where ‘our’ data is being used.
Now, in the US, we are on the cusp of the biggest Privacy shake up since the CAN-SPAM Act with the imminent arrival of CCPA, another 4 little letters. (Who decides these things? Why not 5 letters…?) It has been argued that The California Consumer Privacy Act, to give it its full name, has taken some GDPR principles stateside. To quote some of its critics, it was ‘formulated as a knee jerk reaction’ and is a ‘badly crafted piece of legislation,’ (sorry Bill Makers!) Regardless, given California is the most populous and highest tax paying state in the country, it has shone the light on Privacy and even set the stage for subsequent, possible federal legislation to follow. With around 100 days to go before it is enacted, clarification and amendments are still being issued, consumer and business groups are still lobbying and yes, just like GDPR there is confusion and uncertainty.
For me, the takeaway is that Privacy as a business issue is not going away. The incumbent and imminent legislation has heralded in a Brave New World of transparency, consent/notice and the notion that an individual owns their data, and has rights around that data, and its application and use by third parties. Furthermore, misuse of that data can result in regulatory bodies issuing fines as an example and deterrent to companies who commit nefarious personal data security breaches on one end of the spectrum. The other end of the spectrum has created a dialogue and an internal benchmark, marketers now question whether individuals, really want to hear from them and whether appropriate permissions, engagement is in place, as appropriate.
At MeritDirect we have the privilege of working with some Global Enterprise IT clients who adopted GDPR standards globally. This presents challenges in terms of sourcing prospect data and creating demand gen programs but ultimately, it is good to know where you stand, and it says loud and clear that Global Brands respect customer and prospect privacy rights. That has got to be good for business!
There is no doubt that Privacy has become an integral part of business and compliance, best practice and access requests have all become front and foremost in marketer’s minds. I very much come from a place that responsible marketers do not want to market to a disinterested, off profile or unengaged constituency. Surely, system bandwidth, human capital and good old money are all better employed by engaging with an audience who ‘could, should, would’ buy your product or service and haven’t told you not to contact them?
Marketing and Privacy have become intertwined, the two go hand-in-hand along with their friends: best practice, data security and transparency. This is the foundation for Marketing 2020 and beyond. It sets the stage for growth, engagement and responsible marketing. At MeritDirect, we are #PROPRIVACY and welcome and adopt strategies that make us better, more compliant and mindful marketers. Despite the fear mongering, there is an upside to working towards a more compliant, engaged way of communicating with customers and future customers.
As an organization that is highly engaged with our clients and their pain points, we want to better understand the challenges presented by Privacy and as a result we have partnered with our friends at The Global Marketing Alliance (GMA) to find out more. We have collaborated to produce a survey which polls you, as marketers, about the challenges you face and how, and if, privacy affects your role?
Take five minutes to complete the survey and we’ll share the results at completion.
As part of our #PROPRIVACY position and as a way to help our clients adapt to upcoming changes, we have also prepared a guide and some highlights about CCPA. Have a look at MeritDirect’s CCPA Guide for Marketers: 8 Things Every Marketer Needs to Know.
And as always, you are welcome to communicate with me directly via email, I would love to hear your thoughts. Either way, let’s take a stand for #PROPRIVACY, adapt responsibly to, and stay informed about data governance.
Chief Privacy Officer | SVP, Data, Digital + OmniChannel Solutions