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Privacy and data protection regulations impact the work of every advertising, marketing and PR communications professional around the globe, and the focus on privacy by consumers and regulators continues to increase. W2O’s team is tracking the most important news and changes that directly influence our industry, including the latest on legislation, new privacy technology, enforcement actions, analysis and thought leadership in privacy and data protection.

Here’s the news we’re paying attention to right now.

  1. GDPR Fines Rolling In

The UK’s data privacy authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced its intentions to fine Marriott $123MM and British Airways $230MM – about 1.5% of their respective annual revenues, and the largest penalties yet under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Both fines relate to data breaches and poor data security. Some observers feel these fines may be prescient of further punitive actions by regulators to come, particularly targeting Facebook and Google.

Main Takeaway – Brands and marketers that haven’t engaged a data privacy program along with IT security need to take action. GDPR particularly, and coming US regulation coming soon such as CCPA impact both security and privacy. A transparent and robust data privacy and protection program not only reduces the impact of breaches (ant the potential for fines), but also builds trust and engagement with audiences.

2. Some CCPA Amendments Passed, Some Defeated

Rushing against a mandatory deadline, California Senate committee members voted on several amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which comes into effect January 2020. One of the more contentious bills, 1416, which would have provided exceptions to allow businesses to sell personal data to third parties and allow data transfer to government entities, was withdrawn. Bill 25, which would have provided an exemption for employers related to job data, was amended to require employers to tell employees the types of information collection, and not the detailed data itself. The tech industry supported Bill 873, which would have changed the definitions of personal information essentially exempting IP address and browser fingerprinting, failed to pass.

Main TakeawayAll US businesses should be paying close attention to CCPA developments, especially marketing and communications teams, and ad technology vendors. While the guidance from the attorney general isn’t expected until at least September, brands should be taking action now to prepare.

3. ICO Guidance on Cookies Released

For websites that target EU-based persons, the UK’s data protection authority, the ICO, has released detailed guidance on the use of cookies and similar web tracking technologies (including device fingerprinting) as they relate to GDPR. Some of the highlights include that tracking cannot occur until opt-in consent is given, analytics cookies such as Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics are not considered strictly necessary and must be opt-in, and that emphasizing an “agree” or “allow all” mechanism over a reject or block message – often called nudging – is considered non-compliant.

Main TakeawayThe guidance provided by the ICO is highly detailed, and any operator of a website aimed at, or any company tracking and collecting digital data on EU located should review it in its entirety. There is direct guidance on providing users with clear and comprehensive choices, how to set cookie expiries, and responsibilities for cookies set by third parties on a website, such as Facebook.

* The opinions expressed in this post do not constitute or represent legal advice. No liability is accepted by the authors or W2O Group for any action taken or not taken based on the information or any associated communications.


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Analytics pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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In the hyper-paced world of digital marketing and analytics, marketers are often hard pressed to keep up with the constantly changing news of the day. Between planning, executing and optimizing campaigns, who has time to dig through all the news to find relevant industry updates?

Recognizing that this is an issue for many of our clients, we cut through the noise and deliver updates on the most impactful trends in digital marketing and analytics. Now, we’ve decided to open these insights up to everyone by publishing a weekly roundup of the most important news.

Here’s what our team of digital marketing and analytics experts is keeping track of this week.

  1. Dun & Bradstreet Moves Beyond Data with Acquisition of Lattice Engines: Dun & Bradstreet has a 178-year history of providing B2B data and analysis. Now, D&B has placed itself in one of the newest technology platform categories – Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) – with the acquisition of Lattice Engines. That company focuses on making customer data more accessible and usable for its B2B clients, so this marriage makes sense on paper. However, it will be interesting to see how old and new combine to tackle current industry challenges.

Main Takeaway: Data companies can no longer rely on solely providing data. Instead, they need to also provide the technology that comes with it. This can be seen with a similar announcement from TransUnion’s purchase of TruSignal. For users, this means more functionality to come with their data purchases. However, it can also mean more integration headaches between multiple tech vendors.

  1. Amazon Opens Its Personalization Services to Everyone, for Free: Amazon’s rich customer data and heavy investment in technology has made it the north star of personalized marketing. That’s why it’s so exciting that Amazon has opened up its personalization tech, Amazon Personalize, to all AWS users for free. At W2O, we’ve used personalization with a number of clients to improve results, which is why our tech team is already getting to work on this new service.

Main Takeaway: Even with the best data and tech, personalization is really difficult to get right and so easy to get wrong. This announcement represents a low-risk way for marketers to get started with personalization. However, Amazon Personalize is not no-risk; proper testing and monitoring is necessary with any updates to the customer experience and personalization is no different.

  1. Salesforce and Google Invest Big in Data Visualization: Salesforce announced its acquisition of Tableau, a leader in data visualization and dashboarding. Salesforce has been known to scoop up leading Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors so this purchase was not surprising but the price tag of $15.7 billion was stunning. Similarly, Google shelled out $2.6 billion for the business intelligence (BI) platform Looker.

Main Takeaway: Salesforce and Google made these acquisitions in part to gain access to Tableau’s and Looker’s large user bases. However, these moves also speak to the importance of not only gathering data but also making sure it is presented in a way that is insightful. We often hear our clients’ frustrations in receiving data-dump style reports with no context. That’s why our analysts work hard to create custom reports for every use case.

 

Watch this space weekly as we’ll continue to keep you updated on digital marketing and analytics trends.


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Analytics pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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In the hyper-paced world of digital marketing and analytics, marketers are often hard pressed to keep up with the constantly changing news of the day. Between planning, executing and optimizing campaigns who has time to dig through the news to find relevant industry updates?

Seeing that this is an issue for most of our clients, we often cut through the noise and deliver updates on the most impactful trends in digital marketing and analytics. Now we’ve decided to open these insights up to everyone by publishing a weekly roundup of the most important news.

Here’s what our team of digital marketing and analytics experts are keeping track of this week.

  1. Salesforce Pardot Outage Impacts the Marketing Technology World: Last month all users of Salesforce’s B2B marketing automation platform, Pardot, experienced a 15-hour interruption. An outage on a platform of this size would normally raise quite a few eyebrows but the cause of the outage was even more concerning. The outage was reportedly caused by an errant update that resulted in being able see and edit all the organization’s data regardless of their permission level. This exposure could cause all kinds of security and privacy concerns within any impacted organization.

Main Takeaway: The entire marketing technology world has grown at lightspeed mostly due to the ever-expanding demands of marketers and analysts. This has led to a pace of innovation that is truly impressive. However, it should also be no surprise that this pace has resulted in a huge security risk stemming from one the industries biggest platforms. Organizations should hold back from pushing their technology functionality forward, but they should also be planning for every contingency at the same time.

  1. Foursquare Acquires Placed to Strengthen Location-Based Attribution: Consumer check-in app turned location data vendor, Foursquare, used a recent $150mm investment to acquire Placed, a location-based attribution vendor. Foursquare has quietly worked to establish itself as a leading location data vendor and this acquisition will certainly strengthen that position. By acquiring Placed, Foursquare users will have access to enhanced attribution features that include TV and Out of Home media.

Main Takeaway: Attribution is the analytical process of connecting marketing impressions to user conversions. Often attribution is talked about in the scope ecommerce; in other words, users purchasing online. However, it’s not uncommon for conversions to happen off-line (e.g. purchases at brick and mortar stores). At W2O we use location data as one of many inputs to build off-line attribution models.

  1. Bankrupt DSP, Sizmek, Quickly Acquired by Amazon: We’ve talked a lot of by the growth of Amazon’s advertising business through their Demand Side Platform (DSP). This acquisition makes clear that Amazon is serious about become a major player in this area and even give Google a run for its money.

Main Takeaway: It’s not just the potential scale of Amazon that should grab advertiser’s attention; it’s also the strategic moves, as this acquisition shows, that indicate Amazon is serious about investing in digital marketing. We are now at the point where Amazon should be at least considered as part of any well-rounded digital marketing mix.

Those are the three pieces of news we are watching closely this week. Watch this space weekly as we’ll continue to keep you updated on digital marketing and analytics trends.


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Analytics pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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Privacy and data protection regulations impact the work of every advertising, marketing and PR communications professional around the globe, and the focus on privacy by consumers and regulators continues to increase. W2O’s team is tracking the most important news and changes that directly influence our industry, including the latest on legislation, new privacy technology, enforcement actions, analysis and thought leadership in privacy and data protection.

Here’s the news we’re paying attention to right now.

  1. GDPR 1 Year Anniversary

The implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) marked a watershed moment and has raised awareness of digital privacy in particular around the world, including the United States with the impending implementation of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The European Commission marked the anniversary with a press release noting that the GDPR has “become a global reference point”, and that nearly 6 in 10 people in the EU know about the data protection authority in their country.

Main Takeaway: Privacy protection is not just a compliance problem, it’s a key differentiator for brands. Marketers need to take action now by embracing privacy as a key component of programs and products. Personalized experiences are not only still possible, but likely even more effective between brands and their audiences when done in a transparent and trustworthy way.

2. Preparing for the California Consumer Privacy Act

The CCPA comes into effect January 2020, and has a one year look back window – meaning that technically any data collected this year will have to be accounted for. While EU regulators have not been quick to impose major fines yet, it’s reasonable to assume that California may be stricter. Brands who have already dealt with GDPR compliance may be ahead, but still have steps to take, and marketers who have not yet dealt with privacy compliance may be surprised at how rigorous and intensive coming into compliance will be.

Main Takeaway: While the fight over the CCPA and a potential federal regulation to pre-empt it is not over, brands and marketers should be preparing now. As of now, only 14% of companies report being ready, and complex organizations will have a great deal of work to do. If CCPA compliance isn’t a priority yet, now is the time.

3. Irish Regulators Begin Investigating Google under GDPR

This week the Irish Data Protection Commission opened an inquiry into Google, who’s EU headquarters is based in Ireland. This inquiry is focused on “processing of personal data carried out at each stage of an advertising transaction” – and is in a response to a complaint by Johnny Ryan, chief policy officer at web browser Brave. The complaint is focused on Real-Time Bidding (RTB), and whether the way that RTB is conducted represents a data breach.

Main Takeaway: If found to be not in compliance, a judgement against Google would require them to change how their ad systems work at a fundamental level. This is the first major face-off under GDPR of how programmatic advertising general works, and all digital marketers should be paying close attention to this as a potential test case as it could result in massive fines and impact the ad-tech ecosystem significantly.

* The opinions expressed in this post do not constitute or represent legal advice. No liability is accepted by the authors or W2O Group for any action taken or not taken based on the information or any associated communications.


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Analytics pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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In the hyper-paced world of digital marketing and analytics, marketers are often hard pressed to keep up with the constantly changing news of the day. Between planning, executing and optimizing campaigns who has time to dig through the news to find relevant industry updates?

Seeing that this is an issue for most of our clients, we often cut through the noise and deliver updates on the most impactful trends in digital marketing and analytics. Now we’ve decided to open these insights up to everyone by publishing a weekly roundup of the most important news.

Here’s what our team of digital marketing and analytics experts are keeping track of this week.

  1. New Report Details the Effectiveness of Personalization: Personalization is loosely defined as customizing individual user experiences based on past behavior and predicted user preferences. It has been one of the most sought after, as well as the most elusive, areas of digital marketing. Personalization requires many things to be executed well – customer data, scalable infrastructure, a creative UI team and more. That is why many marketers never get past including a user’s first name in the corner of their website. This report from ARM Treasure Data and Forbes, however, explains that personalization is still worth striving for because it drives results; 54% of companies who use personalization exceed their revenue targets.

Main Takeaway: Personalization is now expected from users. So, while it remains difficult to execute, it’s more important than ever to invest in personalization. We’ve helped many clients go through the process of organizing data, understanding users, and delivering personalized experiences. We often see this as one of the most impactful efforts a marketing team can go through.

  1. Mailchimp Becomes Full-Service Marketing Platform: Mailchimp has long been known as the CRM and email platform of choice for small businesses. It was seen as a great platform for flower shops and local restaurants to get their word out through a simple and intuitive email interface. That was until two years ago when Mailchimp listened to its customers and started to add a broader array of marketing tools like Facebook ads, display ads, and more. This week’s announcement solidifies the scope of Mailchimp’s expanded functionality which will allow small business owners to spend less time switching between marketing tools.

Main Takeaway: The right marketing tool or tools completely depends on the size and needs of the business. For small businesses with limited resources, the ease of platforms like Mailchimp is imperative. However, for larger companies with complex marketing campaigns and a need for detailed analytics, a best-of-breed approach may be best. At W2O we pride ourselves on being platform agnostic, which means we can work with any existing platform or recommend and implement new platforms.

  1. OpenAP Aims to Bring TV Ad Buying into the 21st Century: Last month, WarnerMedia pulled out of OpenAP, the consortium that planned on building an ad network that would allow advertisers to buy audience-based media across major TV networks. The future of OpenAP, and TV ad buying generally, was left uncertain but the consortium has announced that they plan to move ahead without WarnerMedia.

Main Takeaway: Audience-based TV advertising hold so much promise because the TV clearly commands a captive audience but has been difficult to target thus far. However, the ecosystem of platforms and partners continues to be messy which is making it difficult for advertisers to place bets on any one horse. We recommend staying flexible while this nascent area of digital marketing sorts out. That is why we review platforms and partners at the beginning of every TV buy to make sure new opportunities do not pass our client’s by.

Those are the three pieces of news we are watching closely this week. Watch this space weekly as we’ll continue to keep you updated on digital marketing and analytics trends.


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Analytics pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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Last month I presented on the main stage of AUDIENCExSCIENCE, the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) conference on audience growth and measurement. The topic was “Can Data Privacy Be Good for Brands”.

This is a topic I’ve tackled before on the W2O blog, and below is a recap of the presentation. If you’re interested in the videos:

Video 1 – Presentation

Video 2 – Q&A

Recap:

As always, the opinions expressed here do not constitute or represent legal advice. No liability is accepted by the authors, presenters or W2O Group for any action taken or not taken based on the information in this presentation or any associated communications. W2O Group recommends review and approval of any related activities, actions, or inactions by your legal representatives. Any and all information is subject to change.

Why is privacy important? When it comes to the internet and all things digital, privacy has not always been top of mind. Back in 1999  Scott McNealy, the CEO of Sun Microsystems famously said “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.” In 2009, the CEO of Google suggested that “if you’re doing something that you don’t want other people to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it”.

Recently though, things have begun to change, and there’s a new quote I’ll offer you to consider. “When you get home, email me the passwords to all of your email accounts, not just the nice, respectable work one, but all of them.”

This was said by Glenn Greenwald, who was one of the first reporters to see — and write about — the Edward Snowden files, with their revelations about the United States’ extensive surveillance of private citizens. He said it during a privacy ted talk in 2014, and I feel it captures the essence of why privacy is important. That feeling in your gut, that sense of intrusion is why privacy matters. Consider what you are willing to tell our spouse versus what you’d be willing to share with an advertiser.

Clearly, a storm is brewing now. So, what’s changed? Why are more people focusing on data privacy and protection?

The first substantial change was GDPR. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation was adopted in a landslide vote in 2014, with 621 votes for and 10 against, and it became enforceable May 2018.

The second change, and the one that caught the attention of Americans, was Cambridge Analytica. On March 17, 2018 a whistleblower named Christopher Wylie told the New York Times about Cambridge Analytica using Facebook data on millions of Americans without their knowledge – in order to influence the outcome of the election.

Third is the never-ending news of data breaches. Equifax, Marriott, British Airways, Google Plus, Adobe, LinkedIn, the list is practically endless. The Verifications.io leak has now been identified as the largest in history.

Now marketers and communications professionals face the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), along with (currently) 11 other state level proposals to regulate data privacy – including the Texas Consumer Privacy Act, which is strikingly similar to the CCPA.

Both the US and global data privacy landscape is changing rapidly. Yet it is already obvious that the sky is not falling.

If we look to Europe as our canary in the coal mine, we can already see that privacy is good for business. The New York Times was afraid of violating GDPR legislation so they turned off their ad exchanges completely in Europe – yet their ad revenue grew. Non-Targeted ad impression CPMs are skyrocketing. Contextual targeting is making a big comeback. Even programmatic ad spending is continuing to grow.

Clearly, privacy legislation wasn’t the end for Europe. In fact, evidence is already showing that GDPR has had a positive impact. With that said, brands and marketers must act now. data and privacy ethics are not just a compliance problem, they are now an advantage and a competitive differentiator.

And the key is Trust.

Initial surveys are clearly showing that GDPR is increasing trust and transparency – and that’s driving more engaged customers. If customers trust you, they feel more at ease and become more loyal to your brand. Marketers who are meeting and exceeding privacy standards are actually getting ahead, not falling behind.

So, what should you do? I’ll offer you some concrete next steps.

First – don’t wait and see, and there are many reasons for this. Most immediately, the CCPA has a one year look back, so technically we’re already under its effect. The likelihood of congress agreeing on something and managing to override it is practically zero, so I suggest embracing data protection and privacy now as a key component of your programs and products.

Second – get organized. Many large organizations have no clue what data they have, how it’s being used, who’s collecting it or why… essentially there is often no data privacy governance at all. Brands need to get on top of their data immediately and know where their data is coming from, why they are collecting, how they are storing it, how their vendors are handling their data and so on.

Third – be transparent and cultivate trust. Tell your audiences why and how your collecting data, what you’re using it for, how it will benefit them and how you’ll protect it – and tell them in language they’ll understand. And also, very importantly – give them a clear and real choice. Customers who trust you will in fact give you more data, not less – and that data will be a LOT more accurate and actionable.

Then brands can use that trust to engage customers and develop an authentic relationship.

Fourth – Innovate.  Innovate intelligently, and with privacy as a foundation. As the industry continues to change and more legislation comes to bear, we need to continue creating new ideas and spins on older approaches. Embrace the use of AI-driven contextual advertising, premium publishers, better CRM programs, real 1-1 intent based website personalization, better use first party data and CDPs – the list goes on.

You can do all of this and many more things with a privacy-first approach.


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Analytics pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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In the hyper-paced world of digital marketing and analytics, marketers are often hard pressed to keep up with the constantly changing news of the day. Between planning, executing and optimizing campaigns who has time to dig through the news to find relevant industry updates?

Seeing that this is an issue for most of our clients, we often cut through the noise and deliver updates on the most impactful trends in digital marketing and analytics. Now we’ve decided to open these insights up to everyone by publishing a weekly roundup of the most important news.

Here’s what our team of digital marketing and analytics experts are keeping track of this week.

1. LiveRamp Gets into Consent Management with Acquisition of Faktor: The data onboarding and identity resolution behemoth, LiveRamp, acquired Consent Management Platform (CMP) Factor recently. The acquisition is a telling sign of how important consent, privacy and security are for advertisers. We think this acquisition is just as much about bringing privacy to LiveRamp’s core business as it is about expanding their product offering. Also, this could be the result of LiveRamp’s spinoff from Axiom last year, freeing them up to make bolder moves like this acquisition.

2. IAB Updates Consent Framework: The IAB is out with their second version of the Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF v2.0) and the comment period has opened. Unlike government regulation, which is regional and obligatory, the TCF is global and signed willingly by tech companies. Because of this structure, the framework is more detailed and practical than a lot of regulation but also lacks the same teeth. A great example of this is the fact that Google has still not signed on to TCF v1.0. This new version mainly clarifies the first version as the industry continues to define what privacy and compliance really mean.

3. Privacy Conscience Browser, Brave, Launches Rewards Program: All of this news about privacy and compliance minutia is certainly one of the most important topics in marketing and analytics today. However, it’s always more fun to get back to the consumer and that’s exactly what the web browser Brave has done with their latest announcement. Brave is an ad blocking web browser that prioritizes user’s privacy preferences. Last week they announced that users would now be able to specify the frequency and type of ads they see while earning credit for those impressions. It’s hard to say how this will be received by users but it’s a novel feature that will be interesting to track in the coming months.

4. Vimeo Makes Video Creation Easier with Magisto Acquisition: The YouTube alternative, Vimeo, is bolstering their offering with an acquisition of AI video creation platform, Magisto. Creating content can be a cumbersome process no matter the platform or type. With video, the production process can be extremely resource intensive which is why automated video creation holds so much promise. Vimeo is not the only company making this type of move either. Verblio also acquired Automagical in a very similar deal this week also recognizing that Marketers need easier ways to create content.

Those are the four pieces of news we are watching closely this week. Watch this space weekly as we’ll continue to keep you updated on digital marketing and analytics trends.

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Actually, it’s more like, “Who are you?” With consumers continuing to baffle marketers and communicators by migrating in and out of new platforms, defying conventional methods for engagement, and choosing to listen to new voices in the purchase journey, organizations relying on traditional brand sustainability strategies find themselves in the slow lane to nowhere. The pervasive challenge can be captured in one word: Noise.

Noise is often alluring but deadly. It causes brands to think audiences are listening, or worse, advocating, on their behalf. It can cause bias inside an organization. Many marketers and communicators try to solve the problem by focusing on exacerbating the symptoms. Produce and deploy more content. Reemphasize the brand story. Remind people who you are in new and novel ways. Invest in branded entertainment or native advertising to perpetuate the myth.

But in today’s attention-deficit marketplace, less is actually better. And by less, I mean simple, clear, and relevant.

In our work with organizations around the globe spanning multiple industries and segments, branding is about defining the “Why.” Why do you exist? What makes you relevant? Why should your audiences care? Does your workforce believe?
It also demands a digital and social analysis be conducted internally and externally to discern where relevance can be found among key stakeholders. This oftentimes can clear a path toward a new destination or white space. A place your brand can thrive anew.

In a social/digital reality, brands need to be discovered, not sold. People need to experience, and yes, maybe even challenge, the efficacy of your brand. Doing so, creates a community of interest and an airtight affinity for your brand’s essence. When looking to discern the relevance of your brand, five critical areas must be explored:

1) Promise – first and foremost, is your promise meaningful and purposeful to your stakeholders? If so, how?

2) Position – where do your stakeholders need to discover you? Are there specific themes, ideals, conversations that capture your brand and place it in the proper context? What is your brand’s mindshare?

3) Voice – so many brands today have simply lost their voice. Many don’t realize it. Voice speaks to tone, depth, courage, perspective. Is your voice resonating properly with stakeholders? Do they actually hear you?

4) Narrative/Platform – Where do you live? What is your story, and how do you articulate it via audiences?

5) Outreach – how does your brand interact with the world? Is it where your audiences are? Can they discern you consistently?

Branding in an Age of Distraction is as much about comprehending what your audiences need and expect from you than vice versa. As one senior marketing officer recently said, branding must be about “rediscovering the romance of your promise.” To that end, organizations must solve for two things: relevance and differentiation!

As mentioned, if you are not relevant today to the people who allow you to exist—customers, employees, influencers—you aren’t real. Relevant in how your sector or category is moving. Relevant in your product offering. Relevant in your message. Relevant in your value proposition. Relevant in evolution. And, if you are not differentiated in your promise—the expectations people have for your brand experience—you won’t command the respect (and value) necessary to sustain the business.

It is here where analytics are the game changer.

Understanding your impact from a digital and social standpoint uncovers insights about how you are perceived and believed both internally and externally. Such insight then informs all of the above areas, resulting in the relevance and differentiation necessary.

We are living in a completely fluid time.

One that changes in the blink of an eye. To be successful, organizations need to adopt the right mindset and recalibrate marketing and communications to be more agile, nimble, and confident in the vagaries of the marketplace.

Only then will brands truly survive and thrive in an “engaged economy” where customers truly “own” brands; employees truly “shape” culture; and organizations must continually listen, connect, innovate, and involve multiple stakeholders to win.

The question is, what narrative captures your brand or organization? Brands and companies are now stories. Stories provide meaning while fostering ideas. If you don’t tell a story, you can’t break through. In effect, you are no longer relevant.

So, who are you?

Why should anyone care?

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Thanks to Cambridge Analytica, the Marriott mega-breach, the Equifax breach, British Airways, Facebook’s criminal investigation and many more newsworthy data privacy events, consumers are starting to wake up and understand the scale of digital data collection and how bad actors can use it to manipulate everything from purchasing decisions to elections. Politicians have responded with legislation like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Vermont data broker law, and 10 other (currently) proposed state-level data privacy laws, designed to reign in an industry that arguably abused an unwitting public.

The current paradigm shift is straight-forward: data is now owned by the people it reflects, not by martech vendors and advertising platforms, and it should not be sold, traded, or used in unexpected ways without informed consent. You would think that this is our demise….

Actually, it’s our golden ticket. Privacy, and more importantly data ethics, are now a key differentiators and offer an opportunity to deepen relationships with our audiences.

Social science and psychology research show that when people know they are being observed, they feel intruded and change their behavior. For example, information that we willing to tell our spouse is usually quite different than what we’d be willing to share with an advertiser. Which is why when the news broke that one of the most popular ovulation tracker apps, Flo, was sharing data with Facebook, it created an overwhelmingly negative reaction from users.

A few brands, most notably Apple, have begun to market their data protection and privacy practices as a prominent selling point. Studies are now beginning to show that strong data protection and ethics programs build trust with consumers and help brands gain advantage over competitors. Strong data controls enable agility and innovation, increase operational efficiency, mitigate losses from data breaches, and increase appeal to investors, surveys also found.

Now is the time for marketers to embrace data ethics and privacy.

Marketers that proactively go beyond compliance requirements and build privacy protection into the foundation will not only build trust with existing audiences but also capture the attention of those that are becoming disillusioned with competitors. Marketers and advertisers should question the data captured and ask what we should do, instead of what we can do. Here are a few points to consider.

First, invest in a privacy program and map understand your data flow.
Where is your data coming from? How is it being stored? Are your vendors using your data in ways you’re not aware of? Are you using platforms that don’t respect privacy ethics and legislation? How are you using your data – and if you’re not using it, why are you collecting it?

Having a clear line of sight into the data journey and map in addition to a robust marketing operations controls will help reduce risk and ensure customer privacy.

Second, embrace transparency. Whether it’s required for legal compliance or not. Ensuring your customers know why and how you’re collecting data, what you’ll use it for and how they’ll benefit from it – will help deepen brand loyalty and trust.

Third, do better work. Give people a good reason to engage by developing interesting and relevant content. Add value, entertain and enlighten them, and give them a reason to give you their data. A fair-value exchange will develop an authentic relationship between the consumer and a brand.

Finally, keep innovating! As the industry continues to change and more legislation comes to fruition, we need to continue creating new ideas and spins on older approaches. Embrace the use of AI-driven contextual advertising, premium publishers, better CRM programs, real 1-1 website personalization, better use first party data and CDPs – the list goes on. You can do all of that and more with a privacy-first approach.

The above has already worked for marketers in the EU where post-GDPR studies show that programmatic ad spend is growing by double digits as well as publisher’s digital revenue. So remember, privacy protection isn’t just a legal compliance burden, it’s an opportunity. Marketers who wait will be left behind whereas those who embrace privacy and transparency will cultivate trust and engagement, win market share against competitors, and build customer loyalty.


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Analytics pages.

Want to chat? Drop us a line.

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