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In case you haven’t heard, the wild west era of data collection is waning. The signs are all around us, from Google’s plan to block third-party cookies from its Chrome browser to a growing number of data privacy laws around the country and the world. So, where does that leave you when it comes to gathering data?

SMB owners and their marketing teams can’t afford to overlook this trend. Organizations must take note and incorporate any necessary changes to the ways they collect, store, disseminate, and even delete information. Naturally, you want to make sure your organization is compliant with privacy laws. But, from a marketing perspective, dealing with trust issues is just as important. The way marketers handle personal information can have a large impact on their company’s reputation, for worse or for better.

What Is Data Privacy?

Data privacy refers to the protection and proper handling of sensitive information, often online. If you haven’t adjusted how you process data, some adjustments may be in order. Consumers want control over how their information is treated, yet we live in a world where that is increasingly hard to accomplish. Users’ rights can refer to:

  • Data protection laws
  • People’s right to have control over their personal data
  • People’s rights to be left alone
  • Procedures for managing, collecting, and sharing people’s information

Organizations can employ many different tools and techniques to protect individuals’ information and ensure their privacy. Much of data privacy today focuses on protecting consumers from unauthorized third-party access, malware, and the exploitation of their private information. Companies that invest in privacy programs gain better operational efficiency and other benefits that often outweigh their privacy expenses.

More Data Privacy Laws

Growing expectations for privacy have resulted in increased regulations. There are more restrictions on items like cookies and device identifiers of individual smartphones and tablets, creating new considerations for digital marketers. Therefore, business owners need data privacy guidelines and best practices for their marketing campaigns.

As more states propose privacy legislation, it’s increasingly important to find out about the legal ramifications of your organization’s practices. Rules can vary. If you’re in Illinois, be sure you’re following the state’s “Personal Information Protection Act.” It requires data collectors to “implement and maintain reasonable security measures” to protect certain types of records from “unauthorized access, acquisition, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.” To avoid penalties, privacy laws may require you to:

  • Notify customers of a data breach
  • Respond within a certain time frame
  • Follow federal laws regarding electronic notices and signatures
  • Quantify them to determine if alternative means may be allowed

Data Privacy in Your Marketing Campaign

As a guardian of your brand image, you’ve likely taken steps to ensure data privacy in your campaigns. In recent years, marketing teams have taken steps to integrate opt-in checkboxes in their online forms and ask for consent before adding names to mailing lists. They’ve created dedicated web pages for users to submit requests to modify or delete their personal information.

But many marketers remain concerned about how privacy concerns will impact their efforts to gain important analytics insights. You’ll still need to crunch the numbers on sales conversions, store and websites visits, repeat customers, and so forth. You may be working with smaller batches of data and methods that in some ways are more limited than they used to be.

There are ways to embrace data privacy in your marketing so you’re on the right side of the issue – but still get what you need to build your consumer base. Marketing teams today must ensure they’re taking the proper measures to stay in line with industry standards and then communicate that to their consumer base. A breach of trust could have a big impact on your bottom line. No one wants shoppers abandoning online purchases because they fear the website lacks security.

Use Privacy Awareness to Boost Brand Loyalty

Considering that 84% of customers are more loyal to companies with strong security controls, touting your care for customers in this area is sure to win you bonus points. People are much more comfortable sharing personal information directly with a brand if they know the goal is to personalize marketing messages. It’s third-party use you need to avoid. With that in mind, we leave you with some privacy advice moving forward:

  1. Be transparent. If you are planning to collect data, be transparent about what you’re doing with it. Users should have easy access to privacy statements and disclosures.
  2. Install protections. Take measures to avoid data breaches and ensure your data is protected.
  3. Offer preference choices. Maximize your campaign by allowing consumers to agree to your message or opt out of being tracked.
  4. Limit your shares. Be particularly mindful of protocol before sharing users’ data with third parties.
  5. Highlight privacy measures. Put consumers at ease by showing that your organization understands their concerns and is taking their protection seriously.
  6. Do your homework. If you do business in different regions, you may have to follow different sets of rules and guidelines.

There’s a lot to consider when adhering to a complex moving target like data privacy. Connections Marketing has the expertise to guide business owners through crucial data privacy guidelines and best practices for their marketing campaigns. Contact us today to discuss what we can do for you.

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