There has been too much buzz this year around the topics – Data Privacy and Data Protection.
Considering the events that took place during the recent years, it is understandable why questions are being raised regarding consumers’ personal data security.
All these happenings altogether have pressurized businesses to become more transparent, responsible, and accountable when the privacy laws and personal information of their consumers are concerned.
With the increasing privacy concerns, every company and marketing professional worldwide has made data protection and new policies as their main priority for all good reasons.
How Is Customer Behavior Changing?
- Customers Have Become More Privacy Conscious
More and more customers are becoming fearsome about the internet, killing their privacy and personal space online.
In fact, the concerns regarding the corporate use of customer data are increasingly growing. Moreover, most of the online consumers are worried about how companies are utilizing their personal data.
At some level, the reason behind this rising concern is that a lot of people worldwide have been a victim of security breaches and identity thefts where their confidential data, including email and credit card information, was revealed rebelliously without their consent.
- Customers Are Using Numerous Tools to Safeguard Their Privacy
The growing concerns of the internet users have encouraged them to take action and perhaps prompted an evolution in this digital era. In an attempt to regain the lost control, almost half of the web users are progressively performing cookie deletion.
By deleting cookies and opting out of several activities, consumers are successfully blocking organizations from fetching their browsing data and thereby, protecting their digital footprint and restricting the processing of their personal data and sensitive information.
However, these are not the only steps that the consumers are taking to safeguard their online privacy.
More than 25% of internet users have started going online using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which gives them online privacy and anonymity by masking their IP address, making their online actions practically untraceable. And that’s why people have started opting for these tools.
Ways Brands Can Measure up
These emerging trends and consumer behaviors indicate the need for companies to jump on the bandwagon as early as possible.
In essence, these circumstances highlight the need for brands to demonstrate their dedication and commitment towards safeguarding their customers’ data privacy while delivering them the ideal customer experience that they expect or want, simultaneously.
Well, whether you like it or not, this is the way things work now, and moreover, in most states, there are laws according to which companies can be heavily fined for disclosing sensitive information. Therefore, to keep your business up and running, the sooner you adopt, the better.
Moving on, let us now discuss ways in which brands can measure up.
- Prove Your Commitment to Security
According to a research study, merely half of the companies have an explicit inventory where the employees’ and customers’ personal data is fetched, transferred, and stored. And honestly, this is not good.
Today’s customers are no longer in a mood of accepting this kind of eased and loosened attitude towards data privacy and security.
They have started becoming more outspoken, taking necessary actions, and calling on companies to reveal their data sharing policies, which furthermore shows their steady commitment towards privacy protection and rules.
In order to prove their commitment, brands need to take drastic actions not just to ensure complete adherence to the new rules but also to demonstrate their loyalty and dedication towards the ethical collection of consumer data.
- Select Your Partners Carefully
As far as data providers are concerned, companies need to be more careful now than ever while selecting their partners.
Third-party customer data is crucial for brands to acquire in-depth insights into their intended audience, which helps them adopt a more customer-focused approach and enable more judicious and calculated business decisions.
Powerful customer insights will tell the company all about the audience they are targeting, strategies that will work for them, and the platforms that are profitable and worthy of the investment. Although the value of this insight relies on how well the research was done, and the data was fetched.
This is why the procedure is crucial, and demanding clarity into this procedure, operations, and management is even more vital.
Keep in mind that every data provider takes a unique approach; therefore, asking for clarity into this is necessary.
- Get Strategic With Your Online Advertising
Today customers are savvy, and they are becoming more active in eliminating things that bother them. One such thing is online ads that they get showered with everywhere. That’s why currently, almost half of the internet users have started using ad blockers to avoid seeing irrelevant, unwanted, and interrupting ads online.
Every company needs to take a note of this while building their targeting strategy as they are demonstrating the way customer attitudes are shifting with regards to digital advertising.
Consumers today are shrewd enough to know that brands target them online using their data, and they do not hesitate to take measures when they feel it’s being exploited.
In order to tackle this problem, there is an underlying need for the brands to start advertising online in a more strategic way and be more cautious of the data they utilize.
It is possible to employ one-to-one marketing in an ideal manner through in-depth customer research that is reliable and precise to their target audiences.
By doing so, you can make sure that you target the right prospects with the right content, which will ultimately lead to a greater ROI and prevent any potential damage to your company’s reputation or any loss of loyal customers.
- Transparency Is the Key
The ‘be transparent’ rule isn’t just meant for data providers.
As the consumers have started taking up the reins of their online experiences, it seems that being transparent and switching to authentic marketing is the only way for companies to move forward and stay in the competition.
But just to be clear, this does not mean addressing the privacy concerns by being outspoken and direct regarding the reasons you are accumulating the customer data and how it will be used.
It means being a consumer-centric company with a strong, authentic brand message that lives and breathes its customers.
McDonald’s is a brand that has successfully implemented this long back. In an attempt to dismiss the rumors and challenge the opinions regarding its production process and ingredients used, the company launched its “Our food. Your questions” campaign allowing the consumers to ask questions publicly and the brand to stand up for its offerings.
Needless to say, this campaign was a huge success and McDonald’s won hearts again. This clearly shows how customers love, value, and engage with brands that follow transparency in all their activities.
Considering all the growing concerns around data privacy and protection and with rules and regulations being put in place for its enforcement, brands need to measure up as this appears to be the only way they can go forward. Customers are the heart and soul of any company, and unless they are happy with you, running your business might be a challenge. So go on and take the measures as discussed in this blog and embrace this new evolution.