#DataPrivacyWeek: Data Privacy Breeds Trust – Here’s Why

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Businesses have been taking liberties with their consumers’ data for decades. A reckoning now seems inevitable – one day, we’ll probably look back with shock at how this data was mishandled. But there are steps companies can take today to rectify this and win consumer trust.

Until recently, most people had no idea how much of their data was being used without their permission. As consumer data gets passed around between third parties, supply chains or resellers, it is opened to risks. Nobody wants to discover that their personal information has been leaked or breached in a wide-scale attack on what they thought was a reputable brand. 

Since the introduction of numerous privacy regulations and the rise in consumers taking note of their rights regarding data and expecting brands to uphold them, businesses are looking at data privacy with more urgency. 

Business leaders are realizing that respecting and protecting their consumers’ personal information should not be seen as a nuisance or an unnecessary cost. It’s not just a question of compliance, either. It’s an opportunity to build loyalty with their customers. Consumers want to do business with the brands that take them and their data seriously. 

Consumers Value Their Data

We know that consumers care about their data. In a survey we released earlier this year, we found that most consumers (82%) are highly concerned about how their data is collected and used. It’s great that consumers care deeply about how their personal information is handled and processed. 

Compliance with all the regulations surrounding data privacy is a measure of whether, as a brand, you’re doing the required and right thing. But truly taking privacy seriously and respecting your consumers’ data choices strikes deeper than simply doing what a law or regulation requires of you. Ultimately, it’ll engender trust with everyone who interacts with your business.

Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) spend billions of dollars and many years building a strong brand and tone of voice, curating personalized shopping experiences and developing smart and automated retargeting campaigns. However, all this effort and resources could amount to little if those same marketers play fast and loose with the data they hold.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Value Exchange

While consumers value their privacy greatly, they are not uncompromising when it comes to matters of privacy. If I give you a slice of my personal data and I get something of equal – or greater – value in return, I’ll be happy with that. This is how many marketing teams should approach their data management practices. 

This can be challenging for businesses as they look to execute a data protection strategy that is coherent across all customer touchpoints, aligns with their consumers’ high expectations, gives good value and goes beyond box-ticking exercises. It’s not enough just to state that you’ll take care of your customers’ data – companies must go beyond this, building transparent, robust strategies and giving something back. 

It’s crucial to remember the first principle of value exchange: the consumer gets to choose. If your customers are content to trade convenience and utility for privacy, that’s their choice. It’s up to brands to take this choice on board and carry it through the customer’s entire journey.

There’s no moral ambiguity here – consumers are comfortable with trading their data so long as they call the shots.

Privacy Drives Purchases

For marketers, sales teams and business leaders, data privacy can be about seizing opportunities and realizing top-line benefits. In fact, consumers of brands who show a commitment to transparency and privacy demonstrate a 23% higher propensity to purchase. This is exactly the kind of improvement businesses would otherwise spend a lot of time and money to achieve. 

The relationship between purchase intent and responsible data practices is becoming apparent, and CMOs are taking note. They understand that this is a way to strengthen their brand, protect their reputation, and keep their promise to their consumers.

It’s also a smart business choice. Many of us are quick to try the latest tools or technology in marketing or implement the latest customer retention research, and the same should be true for doubling down on strong data privacy practices. 

We should reimagine trust at the center of understanding data privacy from a brand’s perspective. Trust is the holy grail: it grows top lines, and it creates confidence for consumers to come back and purchase again or engage with your content. 

Interest in data privacy is fast becoming a core business priority. Hopefully, the future will bring with it a new, enlightened way of approaching data privacy. It’s possible for all of us – the business leaders, CMOs, techies – to create a better online experience for our consumers, one that prioritizes privacy.

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