Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.
Data privacy is critical to businesses. If it is not managed well, it can be a disaster. So here are some ways marketers can tackle data privacy issues in the marketing landscape
Privacy has been the key concern of people today. In this modern age of connectivity, everyone needs to be concerned about their privacy. Some past scandals have made people more aware of the importance of data privacy. People have dropped certain services after they showcased disrespected clients' data.
The issue of data privacy is not new. It has been there since the internet started becoming popular. However, it has taken a new meaning in recent years with the rise of social media and big data.
As social media channels are one of the critical sources of users' personal information, they can be leveraged by marketers in various ways. But not all of them are the same.
Therefore, as far as marketing is concerned, marketers need to be careful while using users’ data. It is not that you cannot use the data; the point is what data you collect and how you use it.
How can marketers tackle data privacy issues?
There are various ways in which marketers can tackle data privacy issues. The core concern of the users here is if the information is misused, one needs to be a bit open to the public about how the data is collected and circulated.
Others turn to Virtual Private Networks to become more private and anonymous online. Essentially, a VPN for PC can fight against IP-based tracking and minimize the effects of techniques like geotargeting. Furthermore, Virtual Private Network apps have also become an essential tool for smartphones since we take them anywhere with us.
Here are some ways apart from ensuring that every bit of a client’s info is safe.
1. Be clear and transparent.
Ensure that you have a properly defined process for collecting and using user data. This way, people will know what they are signing up for when they use your product or service.
To make it better, provide a choice to the users to easily opt out of certain things like an email campaign. You may miss one user, but they will surely return if you are worthy enough.
2. Focus on the macro level
When marketing products or services, make sure that you target the audience rather than individuals. It will help alleviate the chances of user data being mishandled. One more plus point of a macro-level approach is that you will not need specific data of everyone for targeting.
For instance, don’t use personal information like names or addresses when running an ad campaign. Instead, focus on general things like age, gender, and interests. However, these general identifiers can also raise some red flags, so be careful when using them for targeted ads.
3. Make quality content
Excellent and quality content is the best way to attract and retain customers. If you provide quality content, people will keep coming back to you for more. This way, you won’t need to collect too much data from them, as they will willingly provide it.
In other words, user data will follow suit if you focus on delivering quality content.
4. Get feedback and testimonials
The best way to ensure that you are on the right path is by taking feedback from your users. It will help you understand their wants and how to improve your product or service. Furthermore, user testimonials are also a great way to show that people trust you with their data.
5. Let users opt-out
Users might have no data privacy issue with receiving personalized offers. In other cases, they can willingly sign up to receive marketing letters from a company they are genuinely interested in. However, it is essential not to make such conditions permanent. For instance, there should be an option to unsubscribe to a marketing letter anytime.
6. Use other metrics to track the success
Marketing requires a lot of research to find a killer way to reach your audience. That includes top-notch analysis of your targeted clients. So, you will likely rely on various characteristics to find people that might be interested in your services. For instance, Facebook ads are one way to reach your audience according to their preferences. Sadly, while social media is an undeniable part of marketing, it is not necessarily privacy friendly.
Marketers should also know about other ways to track success. For example, you can pay attention to clicks, conversions, conversion rate, unsubscribes, or bounce rate. Various tools can help you achieve these goals and find other insights into your strategy and its success.
7. Use secure software
Marketing teams use a variety of applications, from SEO tools to programs for managing clients' orders. Whatever you integrate into your business, ensure it is secure to use. For example, one important variable is security audits. It means that external security experts analyze programs and detect potential threats. Furthermore, it can judge other factors, like privacy and data sharing.
8. Protect your promoted website and app
Of course, marketers have little say in how developers manage or construct apps or websites. However, you cannot promote a product that can put people in danger. So, marketing specialists should not be afraid to ask questions.
For example, you might notice an interesting piece of article on how an app should store passwords. Then, you dig deeper and find out that developers at your company do not do it properly. So, of course, you push for changes, and gradually, they arrive. And that is how marketers can contribute to bringing a safer product to clients.
9. Stay up to date with changes
You might expect meaningful changes in the next few years as privacy regulations get tighter. For instance, third-party cookies should no longer exist as well. Instead of them, people will use other means.
Google had already introduced FLoC and Topics as one of the possibilities. However, both were received with varying levels of interest and approval. From a marketing perspective, ensure you follow news on the third-party cookies. After all, you must prepare for its arrival, including shaping different goals and marketing methods.
10. Communicate with your clients
You might already make all these possible changes to improve the privacy of your marketing strategies. However, where do you go next? Well, your clients are a great source of ideas. Who knows best what clients need? Thus, engaging in a healthy and frequent dialogue with your customers is an excellent way to find new things to include.
Additionally, if you make operational decisions in favor of privacy, users will respond to that.
In conclusion, these are some ways marketers can tackle data privacy issues in the marketing landscape. After all, it can be said that if used correctly, user data can be a powerful tool for marketing purposes. However, one requires to be very cautious while handling it.
So how do you keep user data safe?
Privacy issues are one part, and data security is the other. You are using data correctly, that's great, but if you lose that data by any means, it will rain fire on you. So besides proper use of user data, it is also crucial to protect it.
Here are some ways to do it.
The first and foremost step is to encrypt user data. Doing this will ensure that even if the data falls into the wrong hands, they won't be able to use it. There are various ways to encrypt data. You can either do it at the database or application levels. However, doing it at both levels is the best way.
Also, outdated software is one of the leading causes of data breaches. So, ensure that all the software you are using is up to date. This way, you can patch any vulnerabilities that may lead to a data breach.
Also, strictly control access to users' information. For example, some employees might need to access assets, but not all. Thus, you should limit who can see the information. Usually, companies provide minimal access rights.
It is best to take a privacy-first approach as soon as possible. Clients can willingly drop certain services in exchange for others. And in many cases, privacy becomes the most vital marketing tool.
Data privacy and security are two critical aspects of marketing. As a marketer, you must ensure that you use user data correctly and protect it from all potential threats. You can do both these things by following the tips mentioned above.
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