Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Build Your Company’s Data Privacy Function

Jodi Daniels, a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) in Atlanta, is founder and CEO of Red Clover Advisors, which helps companies simplify their data privacy practices to go beyond compliance, while strengthening the customer confidence and gaining competitive advantage. We asked Daniels about the benefits of having your company’s consumer data privacy program in place ahead of compliance laws. Here’s what she shared.

Data privacy is one of the hottest and trending phrases in business today, and for good reason.

According to KPMG, 86% of consumers are increasingly concerned about the privacy of their data and 78% are not comfortable with the amount of personal information companies collect.

Consumers have become data privacy activists, and the government and commercial sectors have taken notice. Every year, legislative bodies around the world pass new, more aggressive privacy laws. In response to government interventions and consumer expectations, all major browsers – Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox – have implemented or announced plans to ban third-party cookies and other technologies that track user behavior on internet and in apps without explicit permission. consent.

There is no doubt that data privacy best practices and regulatory requirements are still evolving. Due to ever-changing goals, some companies have chosen to wait until “the dust settles” to start working on their data privacy program and compliance processes.

Instead, companies should focus on future-proofing their data management and marketing.

Why is now a good time to focus on privacy?

The interdependence of the digital economy makes it impossible to completely compartmentalize the different functions of your business. Your marketing program impacts your sales team, and your inventory and warehouse operations support your marketing efforts.

Waiting even a year or two to start implementing a compliant data management and privacy program will cost more, take more time, and cause more disruption to your business operations than having to adapt strong, existing processes. legislative and cultural changes.

So far, California, Colorado, and Virginia have passed bold privacy laws. Laws vary slightly from state to state, but they all give consumers the right to know what data is collected about them, why it’s collected, what companies do with it, who they share it with, and how much. of time they keep them.

Companies that jump on the privacy bandwagon now have a unique opportunity to brand themselves as a forward-thinking, user-friendly industry leader. Companies that wait will only be able to say that they are complying with a law that they must comply with anyway.

The cookie jar is empty anyway

Another reason to start now?

Google, Apple and Mozilla will stop supporting third-party cookies by 2023, making this digital marketing staple irrelevant and unusable in the future.

Nearly 83% of marketers currently rely at least in part on third-party cookies, which means most businesses will be forced to make drastic changes to their marketing programs. You’ll save countless hours (and dollars) if you create a comprehensive data privacy program alongside this new marketing strategy.

A new kind of cookie jar

Instead of worrying about your cookie jar being empty and trying to decide when to refill it, invest in a new, higher quality cookie jar.

This “cookie box of the future” should have several compartments to accommodate different types of cookies: Snickerdoodles stay soft in an airtight section, crispy ginger cookies and anise pizzelles are separated to prevent flavors from mixing , the sugar cookies have a special shelf to keep their icing pristine, and the chocolate chip cookies are easily accessible in the front (because a chocolate chip cookie goes with everything, right? ).

When talking about consumer data privacy, this all-but-the-kitchen-sink cookie jar is called a center of preference.

A preference center is a working multitasking page on your app or website that can:

  • Help you establish compliance
  • Improve the quality of data collected from your customers
  • Simplify and streamline your data collection processes
  • Increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts
  • Build consumer trust by giving them control of their data

A preference center allows customers to tell you:

  • What information they will allow you to collect
  • What they will let you do with their data
  • How and how often you can contact them using the data you have collected

Preference Centers give businesses better data, which means you can run more effective, higher-converting marketing campaigns.

Even better, a preference center gives you a highly visible and easily accessible way to explain your privacy practices and market them as a value-added service.

Make your customers your co-pilots

The best way to future-proof your marketing is to empower consumers to tell you what they want and figure out how to give it to them. It’s easier to stay ahead of big swings when you track small changes. Tracking the small changes is only possible if you are tuned in to the tiny swings in consumer behavior and government action.

And as long as you listen carefully, you’ll always have an audience when you start speaking.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.