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Editorial

3 Digital Marketing Tips in a Privacy-First World

4 minute read
Steve Olenski avatar
Can you have personalization, marketing and privacy? Sure can. It'll take some work, though.

Online privacy has been a growing concern as the internet has become more intertwined with everyday life. Emphasis on online safety has increased, leading to a growing number of privacy initiatives. This includes improved cybersecurity, phasing out third-party cookies and better digital hygiene.

These are all excellent developments for modern consumers. But they also present fresh hurdles for businesses — and the marketing industry, in particular. Marketers must be willing to embrace innovative new ways to succeed in an increasingly privacy-first online world.

Here are a few examples of creative ways digital marketers can reach their target audience while respecting their new levels of privacy.

1. Understand the Difference Between First- and Third-Party Data

The world is phasing out the use of third-party cookies and other data. This restricts a lot of established marketing activity. But it doesn’t mean businesses aren’t allowed to collect data in the first place.

On the contrary, as third-party data goes away, it’s critical that business leaders and marketers understand the new importance of first-party data. Regarding the actual content, third-party and first-party data are the same. However, the way businesses collect that content is the defining difference.

First-party data comes with the explicit permission of its owner. In other words, it is generated when companies request information, such as a name, email, or personal preference, directly from a customer. In that case, the business can continue to use that information to inform its future marketing efforts.

HubSpot points out that many industries, such as non-profit and advocacy organizations, have always leaned on first-party data for their marketing. Seeking marketable information directly from clients who are opting into the experience is an approach that modern marketers should familiarize themselves with if they want to succeed in a privacy-first world.

Related Article: The Future of Personalization and 1st Party Data

2. Emphasize Abandonment Revenue

The safest way to interact with a customer without invading their privacy is by taking advantage of opportunities when they willingly engage with you. In the case of ecommerce, this primarily takes place when a customer is on your website.

When a consumer visits your website, they can browse information, look at products and services and even put these in an online shopping cart. And yet, if they leave your website without making a purchase or other conversion-based decision, it can leave revenue on the table.

Companies can use relevant data to efficiently follow up on browse, product and cart abandonment situations. This optimizes a potential form of revenue that many companies ignore by introducing a sense of personalization within the bounds of customer privacy.

Learning Opportunities

Related Article: 6 Ways Marketers Need to Balance Privacy, Personalization

3. Improve Email Interactions

Email is as old as the internet itself. And yet, electronic mail remains firmly embedded in modern online user behavior. Billions of emails are sent daily.

Email is also a first-party form of digital marketing. It will become more relevant than ever in a privacy-first world. As third-party cookies disappear, opt-in email will become a critical marketing lifeline. Companies can use their email lists for ongoing marketing to both loyal and prospective customers.

With its renewed importance, marketers should take their email marketing seriously. Rather than sending uninspired updates or unabashed promotional pitches, marketers should try to find creative new ways to get the most out of their email marketing. 

From taking a quiz to booking a hotel room, interactive emails cut multiple steps out of the marketing process. This shortens the sales funnel, leading to better engagement and higher conversation rates — all while respecting a customer’s digital privacy.

Conclusion: Creative, Respectful Marketing

A privacy-first world presents challenges to digital marketers. But none of these should be deal-breakers. On the contrary, as is always the case with business disruption, a new challenge often creates new and innovative ways to succeed.

Digital marketers who are willing to work within the framework of a privacy-first world can still find creative ways to be successful, even while respecting the growing privacy rights of their customers.

About the author

Steve Olenski

Currently looking for his next role, Steve Olenski, known as The CMO Whisperer for his unrivaled rolodex of CMOs, Steve brings unrivaled passion, knowledge and experience to everything he does. He has worked with CMOs and marketing leaders of many global brands including Progressive, General Motors, Pepsi, the GRAMMYS, Dreamworks and many more.

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