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Privacy laws are resurfacing – It’s time for a long term data strategy

Willem Blom
Willem Blom
Impact investor & Global SVP Growth – DEPT®
5 min read
10 November 2022
data concept

Businesses are facing more challenges in digital than ever before, and privacy regulation remains one of the most recurrent topics. So far, over 80 countries and independent territories have adopted comprehensive data protection laws. The EU’s GDPR, Brazil’s LGPD, and California’s CCPA are the strictest and most enforced laws to date.

To see how problematic and expensive this is for companies, take a look at a small sample of headlines that have been published over the last few months: 

And with 93% of US citizens reporting that they would switch to privacy-conscious organisations, it’s not just regulatory bodies pushing for change. 

Though the impact varies across platforms and advertisers, all organisations will feel the effects of privacy changes in the upcoming years. As the complexities of these regulations grow, businesses need to re-evaluate their marketing programs and take a proactive approach to stay ahead of developing changes. For a long-term, sustainable data strategy, implement the following.

Focus on loyalty and first-party data strategies

Respecting consumer privacy is a competitive advantage, so make that the starting point of your data journey.

If you focus on user trust, they will consent and identify themselves on your platform. Use that first-party data, along with models and AI, to create sophisticated segments or triggers that inform your team. 

DEPT® created a model for Randstad which uses data sources from their own database and Google Analytics to generate required input variables. The raw data is then transferred to Bigquery, the data warehouse in the Google Cloud Platform, and a fill score is calculated on a daily basis. These scores are sent to various databases for the marketing and IT teams to use, helping Randstad be more data-driven as an organisation:

Of course, this only works if all measurement precautions are in place. It’s also beneficial to test and leverage cookieless targeting possibilities like contextual advertising.

Centralise storage of user data

Employ an effective CDP (Customer data platform) solution to collect and handle customer information while still meeting privacy compliance and security obligations.

CDPs enable businesses to collect data from all types of sources (social platforms, CRM, DMP, and physical stores). Once data is collected, they work intelligently to create customer journeys and sophisticated audience segments. When looking beyond data silos, unified customer data allows companies to prioritise and target users.

As you work with your CDP, increase the number of possible user identifiers by passing information through owned channels (such as email).

Define your audiences and optimise targeting with automation

Formulate data-driven personas by examining the relationship between purchase behaviour and buyer identifiers. Once you have identified these personas, test and scale ads with creative automation. Creative automation helps you send multiple cross-channel communications to various target audiences. From there, you can iterate on those communications quickly, adjusting messages for countless customer segments based on performance. 

On the back end of this process, ensure your marketing automation captures performance metrics so you can understand the behavior of different customer groups. This coupling of automation paired with analysis can drastically increase ROI. 

Focus on audience-specific messaging across the full journey

Not only must you produce and distribute quality content, but you must also know when and where personalisation fits into the picture. 

By understanding the full journey and using available first-party data, you can easily fit your campaign messaging to your audiences and tailor it to different touchpoints. 

When helping eBay with ad messaging, we identified several audience segments including regular buyers, sporadic sellers, passionate collectors, and alternate makers. 

With those segments, we understood their motivations and could test personalised ads. At the click of a button, thousands of creative variations were generated from just a few inputs. By automating asset production, we tailored messaging and iterated quickly based on performance data.

Legal and technical developments will only further limit the available data for marketing. All companies must focus on loyalty and first-party data strategies. If the volume goes down, your relevancy must go up! 

Although this may be forcing us to follow a different strategy, this is the kind of data strategy we should be following in the first place if you think about it. It’s time for a better way of digital communication that benefits all participants.