Many seasoned marketers have long understood that customer information and data are what fuels successful marketing campaigns. Granted; you still need a robust engine in the form of the actual marketing plan and how you make use of this info, but the raw stuff is the data.
This is becoming a good deal more relevant as legal compliance issues permeate the data protection conversation. From the various metrics—PCI Compliance, HIPAA, etc.—there are new rules regarding how companies handle customer information, which has a direct effect on how you as a marketer do the same.
For example, the European Union’s General Data Privacy Regulation that will go into effect later this year will directly affect the way marketers obtain, store, manage, and process data for all EU citizens. Even if your company is based outside of the EU, GDPR compliance must be met when dealing with any EU citizens.
These regulations and the accompanying fines for flaunting them are placing consumers on alert (everyone, really) on exactly how data is obtained, and what steps are being taken to secure the information that is willingly given to you. The fact that major information security upheavals have left a tarnish on giant companies like Home Depot, Target, and Equifax in the past few years have brought security and compliance issues to the forefront even more.
But as companies take more robust steps to ensure data security, could this affect your ability to access this information? Sure, as a marketer, you’re not at all inclined to employ this info maliciously; but who can tell the difference beforehand?
One thing you can do is to ensure that you’re not overusing data; people tend to have less trust when information about them shows up that is not immediately relevant to the product being pitched. Invest in your marketing platform by making sure that data is relevant, and that there is transparency in how it was acquired and how you intend to use it.
Risk Management in the Age of IoT
It used to be just your television and peripherals that were connected to the World Wide Web. These days, the average home has about a dozen web-enabled devices.
With the Internet of Things, however, comes an increase in the amount of data consumers send and receive from companies. Just think about all the apps that work by knowing your location, your taste in music, food, clothing, etc.
As a marketer, it’s your responsibility to safeguard this information about your clients. Regulatory compliance goes a long way in shoring up some of this, but the bulk of it lays with the remaining aspects of your marketing policies.
To truly bring everything together, those who legitimately traffic in consumer information must be certain to have all the right tools in place. This entails coordinating marketing efforts with your legal team, customer service, and information technology to come up with standards for how deeply you want to delve into personal information. You might even run test programs to find out what kinds of personal information consumers find unsettling when relayed back to them for the purposes of selling a product or service.
Just as importantly, or more so, is ensuring that your data collection methods adhere to compliance mandates in the various industries. The data you do collect must be encrypted and safely stored, for example. This further helps you with disaster recovery and business continuity should these ever be necessary.
The information landscape is rapidly changing. Although consumers and marketers can symbiotically benefit from these changes, there’s greater potential for risk to information security. By better understanding regulatory requirements and the compliance options that are available, you can better work with customers and other businesses to tailor services specifically to their desires, without exposing them to undue risk.
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