Third-party cookies are crumbling. Apple is changing its tools to help consumers keep their information private. Legislative bodies (in the European Union, California, and beyond) are implementing new laws in the name of consumer and data privacy.
The continual and sometimes rapid developments could leave any content marketer’s head spinning. How do you operate in this new era? How can your content marketing be both compliant and effective?
Help has arrived. We asked content marketing experts who are presenting at Content Marketing World 2021 for (up to) three things you should do now to address data privacy.
Don’t have time to read the whole article? Bookmark it for later – you’re going to need this advice. In the meantime, though, follow the advice of Andrew Hanelly, chief creative officer and partner, Revmade: “Be transparent. Get permission. Focus on direct relationships.”
Now, let’s get into more detail.
See data as a currency
- Marketers should treat customer data as something as valuable as cash.
- We should look to build our own relationships with our audience instead of through a third party.
- We should invest in technology that helps us understand the audience and data we do have access to in order to create a better experience for our customers, prospects, and vendors. – Andrew Davis, author and keynote speaker, Monumental Shift
Consent, consent, consent. If the customer doesn’t give it, you can’t work with their data. That’s the way things are and the way things are going, so get used to asking for consent and then doing something with it. – Christopher S. Penn, chief data scientist, Trust Insights
Respect the law and the audience
- Never add anyone to your email list without their explicit consent. Not only is this likely illegal under various privacy laws, it’s highly disrespectful to your audience.
- Get rid of data you no longer need to operate your business. This way, if there is a data breach, it will result in damage to the fewest people.
- At least once a year, review your privacy practices to make sure that policies are being followed and that you’re keeping the data that others have entrusted to you secure. – Ruth Carter, evil genius, Carter Law Firm
Marketers absolutely need to pay attention to their owned platforms and focus efforts there for at least two reasons: More control over data practices, which makes complying with data privacy regulations easier and more straightforward, and better data quality, which makes the data more relevant and the relationships you use the data to build more valuable. – Sharon Toerek, founder, Toerek Law
- Take steps to own your data. Bring people onto your owned properties and encourage them to opt-in. It’s the only real safeguard.
- Differentiate your brand as much as you possibly can. Brand recognition is going to become even more important, with fewer options for targeting. If you make sure to stay true to your brand voice and design, it will help people remember you when they have a problem you can solve.
- Don’t panic. Everything that’s changing is happening slowly and with a lot of notice. Just make sure you pay attention and prepare. – Inbar Yagur, vice president of marketing, GrowthSpace
Rethink what you’re doing
- Get a plan to move from social media platforms to email.
- Have you even read your email newsletter lately? Is it any good?
- Private communities like Discord and Mighty Networks are becoming crucial. Do you have one? – Joe Pulizzi, founder, The Tilt
Keep it in perspective
- This is not the end of the world, it’s for a better world.
- Build your own first-party data by capturing emails.
- Engage with your subscribers, make content fun and useful. Listen to their needs, wishes, and wants without stuffing too much in their boxes. – Michael Bonfils, global managing director, SEM International
Get good advice
Partner with an agency or advertising partner that understands the laws and regulations. – Mariah Obiedzinski, AVP content services, Stamats
Develop a resource center
- Study the regulations and privacy practices in detail. If needed, consult with an expert or bring in outside assistance.
- Assemble a resource center (e.g., intranet, Slack, Teams, etc.) that houses articles, documentation, and your in-house plans. Educate the marketing team, then get executive buy-in on the ways you’re adapting your marketing to the regulations.
- Stay current, as things are changing quickly. – Dennis Shiao, founder, Attention Retention LLC
Work with those who know
- You are probably not compliant with data regulations.
- Expect your chief information officer (CIO) and data protection officer (DPO) to start scrutinizing what you are doing, so engage proactively with them first, as mistakes around data privacy can have expensive consequences.
- Get your house in order and maintain compliance through monthly checks making sure your entire team is involved in ongoing training. – Karen Hesse, CEO and founder, 256
Get your house in order and maintain compliance through monthly checks making sure your entire team is involved in ongoing training, says @256media via @CMIContent. #CMWorld #DataPrivacy Click To Tweet
Get with IT
Partner with your IT team. Partner with your IT team. Partner with your IT team. Every organization has data protection and data governance policies that may not be on the radar of the marketing team. All your critical marketing technology applications need a backup. Just like you back up your phone to preserve content and information, your IT team needs to know which applications and databases need to be part of the enterprise backup strategy. Understand the data management policies of your organization. Understand where to properly store customer data, financial data, etc. Never save customer data to your laptop’s hard drive. Many data breaches happen by individual mismanagement of data. – Penny Gralewski, solutions marketing, Commvault
Try a European view
- Change your IP address to a European one and see how aggressive sites need to be in Europe. That is coming to the US, so knowledge is power.
- Start thinking of what sort of data you track that might be regulated away and start finding alternatives.
- Put the user first and think about how you would feel if it was your data that was being collected. – Eli Schwartz, growth advisor, 5le; author of Product-Led SEO
A national law that gives power to the user to set their own data privacy comfort levels is coming. Start abiding now and save yourself the grief later. Also, don’t mourn the loss of tracking data users didn’t know you had. Focus on collecting data from the source (the user) with their permission in exchange for the value they can receive by giving you the information/direction on what they need and value. –Jessica Best, vice president of data-driven marketing, Barkley
Focus on collecting data from the user in exchange for the value they can receive by giving you the information on what they need, says @bestofjess via @CMIContent. #CMWorld #DataPrivacy Click To Tweet
- Read, read, read. You have to be up to date.
- Be global. Regulations vary from country to country. Be sure you are aware.
- Plan for change. Know that regulations and policies are frequently changing. Don’t be taken by surprise if you have to make significant changes. – Val Swisher, CEO, Content Rules, Inc.
Grab your reading glasses
- Become best friends with your legal or privacy compliance leader.
- Read the fine print.
- Subscribe to a blog that specializes in marketing and data privacy (they will always have the latest information). – Andi Robinson, global digital content leader, Corteva Agriscience
Make a plan
- Stay informed: Even if you’re not in a specific market now, the global market means that we all have to keep our eyes open to changing data privacy rules.
- Build a triage plan for how your brand will adjust its marketing based on evolving policies.
- Diversify your platforms: If a platform changes its policies or loses access to data, you don’t want to have lost your main source of customers. – Zontee Hou, head of strategy, Convince & Convert
Diversify your platforms: If a platform changes its policies or loses access to data, you don’t want to have lost your main source of customers, says @ZonteeHou via @CMIContent. #CMWorld #DataPrivacy Click To Tweet
Use the data for good
- Quadruple down on customer experience and adding contextually relevant value. This means using what data you do have to drive deeper relationships with your core audience to ensure they consent.
- Make sure that your content is properly tagged and componentized to deliver those personalized, contextually relevant experiences.
- Do an omnichannel journey mapping exercise for core customer jobs-to-be-done (not your sales cycle) and define how and where personalization and contextualization will deliver its value. – Noz Urbina, omnichannel content strategist, Urbina Consulting
Make sure that your #content is properly tagged and componentized to deliver those personalized, contextually relevant experiences, says @nozurbina via @CMIContent. #CMWorld #DataPrivacy Click To Tweet
Make your content matter
The biggest thing remains to create experiences that matter to your customers. Create good content, and they will want to be close to you. Build your email list and don’t send crap. – Christoph Trappe, director of content marketing, Voxpopme
Fertilize your field
- Nurture your email list (don’t just build it to build it or build it to sell to it).
- Deliver value to your email list in equal amounts to what you hope to gain – focus on “buyer enablement” on educating and building confidence in your audience.
- Don’t succumb to the “persuader’s paradox” where you’re willing to do to your audience (in the name of conversions or whatever) what you wouldn’t want to have done to you. – Tamsen Webster, CEO and chief message strategist, Find the Red Thread
Make them want you
- Create content so good that people actually want to hear from you.
- Create serial content that compels them to do that (an awesome newsletter, great video series, event series, podcast, educational course, etc.)
- Focus on collecting first-party data about your audience through surveys, self-assessments, and other tools. – Joe Lazauskas, head of marketing, Contently
As these experts shared, you don’t know exactly what’s coming in terms of laws and regulations, but you do know attention on data privacy is going to be around for a long while. Don’t stress or panic. Instead, use it to your advantage: Take the data your audience wants to share with you and give them unforgettable content experiences.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute
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