The Future of Data Privacy Laws and What it Means for Marketing

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If you work in any area of marketing and haven’t been living under a rock for the past two years, you know that data privacy has become one of the main topics of conversation among the community. With constant changes to data privacy, the demise of the third-party cookie on the horizon, and an ever-increasing call for more transparency from brands, standards for effective and privacy-safe data collection are rising at a challenging pace. 

As we look toward the future, we see the consumer experience reshaped by the promise of a whole new world that is the metaverse. But what impacts will creating an immersive world of digital consumer experiences have on the data privacy laws and strategies we follow today? How can marketing teams prepare for the impending changes on the horizon, and what strategies can they adopt now to future-proof their methods for years to come?

It’s All About the Data

The underpinning of every successful marketing strategy is data. Consumer data, product data, data trends, platform data, you name it, and savvy marketers are accounting for it when they build out their strategies. Now that personalization and customer engagement have taken center stage when it comes to justifying marketing spend and increasing ROI, the types of data, the pace of its acquisition and analysis, and how it is leveraged for successful strategies will continue to rapidly change. 

Long gone are the days of evaluating campaign data once the campaign has concluded. Endemic marketing teams are more aware than ever that implementing a real-time data strategy is crucial when it comes to A/B testing, campaign optimization, and the overall success of marketing initiatives. It is critical that brands have instant access to real-time data for their consumers, target audiences, and marketing initiatives in order to achieve success in today’s digital-first marketplace. 

Ensuring holistic views of data in real time is a necessity for all modern facets of business. While marketing teams rely heavily on data to inform their strategies and help pivot initiatives to ensure success, so do wider teams across an organization as well as the organization itself to ensure growth at scale. The fact of the matter is, brands that aren’t leveraging a methodology that provides them with real-time data for both marketing and business purposes will be left in the dust as the marketplace gets more competitive. But how can this be done effectively?

Zero-Party CDPs for the Win

When news broke that the reign of the third-party cookie was coming to an end, the majority of marketers’ initial response was to panic. However, the sunsetting of the third-party cookie doesn’t have to be a detriment to success. Instead, marketers should see it as an opportunity for brands and marketing teams to collect, aggregate, and leverage their customer data within their own CDPs and on their customers’ terms.

While it may seem daunting, the path forward is through zero-party data collection and housing of said data in company-owned CDPs. This path will enrich marketing strategies and consumer engagement tenfold. The basic principle is to simply request data directly from consumers and receive their explicit permission to not only have it but to use it. Hot on the heels of the last goodbye from the third-party cookie are substantial changes in data privacy laws and policies that will enable the modern consumer to have full rights to their digital data property, allowing them to control when and where it can be used and who can use it. 

At first glance, this may seem like a limitation, but in reality it’s a blessing. A highly engaged customer requesting communications and information from your brand is far more valuable to the bottom line than a hundred potential customers with no engagement history. While there is always the need to gain and retain more customers, no matter what business you are in, building relationships and establishing loyalty with customers in a way that they allow — and even ask — your brand to market to them will result in higher ROI and maximized lifetime value. Zero-party and in-house data collection methodologies are changing the path to modern marketing success.

Time for a Goal Reset

We have established that the data privacy laws of tomorrow will give consumers full control over their digital data property. But how do you ensure your customers will share the rights to their data privacy with you? The answer is simple: It’s time to reset your goals.

Consumers want transparency from marketing, yes, but even more than that, they want personalization on a level that makes them feel understood by brands. With that in mind, it’s time to move away from the idea of getting marketing messaging out to the entire world and refocus efforts on engaging the right customers at the time they need it most. The best way to do this is to fully understand the wants and needs of your consumer and where they spend the majority of their time in the digital world. Once the audience is understood, the best place to reach them has been identified, and the type of content that engages them is known, it is time to determine what you can do to help them. Yes, help them. 

More than ever, marketers need to rely on engaging consumers with helpful information and helping customers achieve success. Modern consumers do not want to be inundated with troves of information to which they cannot relate. They want to come across information and products that are useful to them when and where they need them most. 

This means marketing teams need to set their sights on getting educational and helpful content in front of their target consumers in a way that resonates with them. Brands that are able to pivot their strategies to meet this need will set themselves up for success when new privacy policies take effect. 

Jay Kulkarni is CEO and Founder of Theorem.