11 Jun 2024 - Ian Lebbern

Embrace a Privacy-First Future and Secure Competitive Advantage

WP Engine (1) (1) (1)-1

It may not have escaped you that significant digital trends are currently impacting the customer experience. They include regulatory changes, consumer privacy, and the end of third-party cookies.

Taken together, these trends are driving a privacy-first model for digital engagement in the marketplace, forcing business leaders to take a hard look at their marketing strategies. A privacy-first model requires that businesses remain compliant with legal and privacy regulations and maintain consumer trust while continuing to stay competitive.

How Business Leaders Can Future-Proof Their Business

Currently, the primary role of a business leader is to future-proof their business. Future-proofing compels business leaders to steer their organization toward growth, profitability, and long-term sustainability. One of the key strategies to achieve these objectives is through a thoughtful customer data strategy.

This comprehensive and decisive framework outlines how your organization collects, manages, and utilizes customer data to drive business growth and enhance customer experiences. Developing an integrated customer data strategy is essential. Here are two key reasons why:

Comprehensive Insights: A unified data strategy allows you to seamlessly merge information across platforms, providing a holistic view of customer behavior and preferences. This leads to better decision-making and tailored marketing efforts, saving precious marketing dollars and providing a competitive advantage.

Regulatory Compliance: With data privacy laws tightening globally, a robust data strategy ensures compliance and safeguards your business against potential fines and reputational damage.

Your customer data strategy is about gathering actionable insights that inform business decisions and drive innovation. Technologies like customer data platforms (CDPs) can help deliver these essential customer data components to future-proof your business.

Use Real-Time Data to Improve the Customer Experience

Outlined below are five key areas Engine Room recommends that members of senior management address to mature their customer data strategy and ensure their organization uses real-time data in a data-driven way to improve the customer experience.

  1. Use a CDP to Maintain Customer Trust

Several surveys back up the tenet that consumers spend more with brands they trust. Transparency is crucial for developing that customer trust. Implementing a customer data platform allows you to transparently gather consented data, which helps build equity in customer trust.

CDPs offer a dynamic and up-to-the-minute view of customer interactions and behaviors. This means that your CDP provides the opportunity to collect data as it's generated, enabling you to provide feedback to consumers with real-time responses. When coupled with compliance, real-time data collection ensures that you gather insights legally and responsibly.

The need to balance data collection with data privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is crucial. Not only will it keep your business in good legal standing but it also builds trust with your customers. With a CDP, you can seamlessly collect, manage, and store customer data, ensuring compliance at every step.

  1. Use CDP Real-Time Data to Enhance Personalization

Real-time personalization is a way to instantly deliver personalized content to customers based on their current interactions and behavior. It allows your business to understand who your customers are now, as opposed to who they were three months ago.

Successful real-time personalization relies on the collection of real-time data. It leverages data that is collected and stored in a user profile and allows brands to deliver contextualized personalized experiences to different users – even if they are relatively anonymous. Customer profiles are then enhanced with additional first-party data – the actions and customer behaviors that occur in the moment.

Using a CDP provides a way for you to create more personalized experiences by enabling the collection of data points from interactions with your own customers. In essence, it allows you to respect customer privacy while gathering first-party data for personalization.

  1. Leverage a Golden Opportunity with the End of Third-Party Cookies

The current art of data collection involves the use of third-party cookies to track users across the internet. Typically that data is sold to companies to offer personalized shopping experiences or create targeted ads.

In recent years, consumers have become increasingly unwilling to have their personal data collected without consent. This trend has been bolstered by improved legal and privacy regulations, along with the growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

As Google begins the end of the use of third-party cookies – now slated to roll out in 2025 – they raise the bar for marketers in terms of data collection. Organizations must now look at how to gather useful data using only first-party cookies.

In reality, the pivot to first-party data is a golden opportunity for businesses to raise the personalization game and deliver more meaningful digital experiences to consumers. Collecting and implementing information gathered directly from your customers allows you to market personalized recommendations based on their actual decision process for making a purchase – otherwise known as the customer journey – as opposed to relying on the details of a generic, pre-defined customer profile.

  1. Balance Personalization and Customer Privacy

Personalization and customer privacy often intersect in the world of marketing. Personalization customizes experiences and content based on preferences and behaviors, while privacy safeguards personal information and data.

The challenge is to balance tailored customer experiences and respecting customer privacy. Balancing personalization and customer privacy is possible. Even though personalization can make the customer experience better, it's important to follow regulations and be clear about how customer data is used.

To secure that balance, build trust, and keep a good relationship with customers, you can follow these recommendations:

  • Obtain Explicit Consent
      • Before collecting and using personal information for personalized marketing purposes, make obtaining explicit consent from individuals a priority.
  • Promote Transparency in Data Collection
      • Be transparent with your audience about the types of data you collect, how it is used, and who it is shared with.
      • Clearly outline your privacy policies and practices.
  • Minimize Data Collection
      • Only collect the necessary data that is directly relevant to personalization efforts.
      • Avoid collecting excessive or unnecessary personal information that may compromise privacy.
  • Anonymize Data
      • Whenever possible, anonymize all personal data to protect individual identities.
  • Store Data Securely
      • Implement robust security control to protect customer data.
      • This includes encryption, firewalls, access controls, and regular security audits.
  • Conduct Regular Privacy Assessments
    • Evaluate your data collection and personalization practices for privacy.
    • Identify potential risks or vulnerabilities to privacy and take necessary steps to address them.

  1. Develop a 360-Degree Profile of Your Customer

A single (360-degree) customer view, often called a golden record, gives businesses a much more comprehensive view of individual customers. Using the Customer 360 framework, you have a data-driven way to better understand each of your customers with a well-rounded view, from how they interact with different parts of your organization to why and when they make their purchases. Customer 360s do more than enhance marketing campaigns. They allow you to develop more effective and highly targeted personas and messaging personalization, which leads to more relevant and valuable customer experiences.

While there are many ways to consolidate data in a central location, CDP providers have already done the heavy lifting. By implementing Customer 360 with unified customer profiles, it’s easier for you to generate actionable insights. The unified customer profiles provide one source of data-driven truth to align initiatives across your organization. This is especially advantageous for account-based marketing campaigns that target individual decision makers in a B2B enterprise environment.

Be a Good Steward of Digital Identity

People are becoming more educated about what it really means for businesses to be transparent and are no longer automatically opting in to accept all cookies on a website. Businesses need to be good stewards of a consumer’s digital identity. To stay ahead of the curve, companies should invest in improving customer experiences and engagement.

Partner with Engine Room

If you want your business to get ahead and stay competitive in this fast-paced data privacy and customer data landscape, consider investing in the right strategy and technology.

Engine Room understands the tremendous value of an integrated customer data strategy for your business. More importantly, we offer advanced knowledge and skills to implement best practices to maximize your return on investment.

We use the latest, industry-leading digital technologies and platforms to create, analyze, and realize a customer data strategy uniquely suited to your company’s needs and goals. Put Engine Room to work for you. Connect with us today.


Consult with a Marketing Tech Expert