Wiedemann: There is a Right Way to do Consumer Data Privacy

“From the brand perspective, my recommendation remains: full transparency, full control for the customer, and full effort to ensure security of data.”

Privacy is the Eighth P in the Eight Ps of Relationshipping.  In my last article I did not elaborate on Privacy, only to say let your customers control their data and reward them for it. My purpose here is to say the wise C Suite needs to watch that Congress is taking this on by moving the ADPPA act to the House Floor. My charge to you is GET AHEAD OF THE CURVE.  The drama to enact a law will play out, and will be messy, but federal privacy action will come.  Waiting to see what it is will put you way behind the curve.  Following is a very brief description of the goings on to this point.

As you know the EU has already put restrictions on the use of private data with the GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation.  The GDPR sets out seven key principles:

  1. Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency.
  2. Purpose limitation
  3. Data minimization
  4. Accuracy
  5. Storage limitation
  6. Integrity and confidentiality (security)
  7. Accountability

According to the law these seven principles should undergird any organization’s approach to processing personal data.

Elements of the GDPR have been picked up and deployed in state laws, most notably in California.

In briefly touching on the ADPPA my focus here will not be on the tension over state preemption and federal dominance (one key issue), but the other being the private right of action. Democrats and Republicans have fought over this.  Conservatives, to protect business, want a very simple federal law that overrides strict laws like the one in California.  Democrats want individual citizens to be able to sue businesses over privacy violations, and of course Republicans don’t want that.  There is also a push to modernize and upgrade what in the past was covered by COPPA, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Ruling.  ADPPA wants to add penalties for using minors’ data in “willful disregard” of their age to clean up loopholes.

Surveys have indicated that interactive users are comfortable sharing personal information with brands if the use is clear and the promise is made not to share the data.  Shoppers and buyers want trust.  Successful brands reward customers for their data, and trust is built up through experience.  Breaches of data push people away from the brand – as a CEO, CMO or head of sales, having personal data in our enterprise hacked is a nightmare leading to lost customers and revenues.

Relationshipping encourages you to begin the conversation by offering a promise to prospects who would have a relationship with your brand.  In plain English: “If you allow us to use your personal interactions with our brand to serve you better, we promise to give you control of your data on our platforms, never to share this data with outside entities without your permission and to deploy the highest data security measures possible to prevent hacking.”

As Chairman of the Direct Marketing Association, and as a Board Member, I spent years advocating with members of Congress for sensible privacy legislation.  The issue has been in lawmaker’s hands since computers and databases came along years ago.  We always sought a balance between protection and preserving using data for efficiently delivering relevant content.

People’s fear of harm from their data being used improperly almost always exceeds any actual harm.  But audiences rarely understand how data is used to make their navigation of products and services relevant and efficient.

From the brand perspective, my recommendation remains: full transparency, full control for the customer, and full effort to ensure security of data.

The pace of change in our new Martech world is breathtaking.  It has changed how the brand is bonding with customers and serving them.  It emphasizes the need for a robust and personally focused CDP for the enterprise.  More important though, it changes marketing into Relationshipping.

George WiedemannGeorge Wiedemann was founder and CEO of Grey Direct for 21 consecutive years of worldwide growth; CEO of pioneer Silicon Valley email platform Responsys; and CEO of The DRUM Agency. He is founder and CEO of Relationshipping Consulting, focusing on bringing efficiencies to large-scale enterprises through deep budgetary analysis and process alignment. George is also a frequent contributor to TheCustomer.

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