With data breaches becoming commonplace, how marketers collect identifying information is likely to change drastically over the next 5 years. When polled, 55% of consumers believe that more stringent regulation is needed to govern how businesses ask for, collect, store, and use their private information.1 As the push for regulation continues, marketers across all industries will need to prepare now for the impact that new legislation may have on future marketing initiatives.

Here’s what you need to know.

Business man pointing at a digital pad lock.

 

Stay current with data privacy laws worldwide

As other countries start to implement new regulations, US-based marketers would be wise to pay attention. Take the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example. Passed on May 25, 2018, this is a European-based law that strictly dictates how European businesses (and those that sell to European consumers) can collect, store and use consumers’ personal and private data. Though this regulation only applies to countries in the European Union, it is poised to spur similar legislation in the United States sooner rather than later.2 GDPR puts forth a host of hefty fines that could serve to be costly to implement (or ignore) by businesses, including the new 72-hour breach notification, requiring businesses to inform consumers if their private information has been compromised. If notification is provided outside of this time window, a company can be fined tens of millions of dollars. For marketers, ensuring protected protocols are in place to safeguard consumers’ private information collected from marketing efforts is of paramount importance.

Simplify data collection

If new regulations are passed, how you store your customers’ data will be in the spotlight. Reducing the amount of private information you keep for marketing purposes can be an effective way to decrease the likelihood of large scale data breaches. For example, perhaps on landing pages, you currently ask web visitors for their first and last name, email address, office and personal phone number. This will quickly become a lot of information to both store and process. In general, collecting more information is best to give your marketing teams multiple ways to connect with new, existing, and prospective customers. However, with more data, comes more complex IT protocols to keep this data safe. Determine what pieces of customer information are most vital for marketing purposes, and focus on collecting only those identifying items.

Create a data collection policy

 As the impact of GDPR starts to make its way across the ocean, American companies are now under greater scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In fact, in March 2019, the FTC announced a widespread investigation into how broadband providers are using customer data for advertising purposes.3 The FTC is requiring companies to provide a robust data collection policy that must be displayed and agreed to by consumers before their private data can be used for marketing. Though this requirement has not become law, it is wise for all companies to start creating collection and consumer data policies now to ensure that all consumers submitting identifying information to your company are aware of your policies.

Make private data audits a top priority 

How often do you review your customer lists and eliminate those customer profiles who have not interacted with or purchased from your company in the last 12 months? Most companies solely focus on getting robust lists of consumers, but few pay attention to how many of these consumers actually engage with marketing campaigns. The more private information you can eliminate or delete, the better it will be to manage your growing lists. Also, with those “inactive” customers removed, your marketing efforts will likely see a significant boost in click-throughs and conversions.

Staying aware of the changing data privacy landscape is important for marketers, across all industries, to ensure you are both remaining compliant with regulations and reducing your risk of having a breach occur. To be informed of new upcoming trends that may influence how you market, be sure to follow our blog for a host of free resources.

 

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