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Onus On Marketers To Safeguard Privacy And Protect Data

Updated on May 3, 2016

Google on 9 February 2016 celebrated Safer Internet Day with the theme, ‘Play your part for a better internet’. As the internet evolves welcoming more and more users around the world, information that these users bring and share is getting the spotlight. What is worrying most about the internet is the negative forces that are ploughing their way creating an unsafe digital environment. Data breaches have instilled fear among organisations so much so that most have their finger on the panic button. In a report from IBM in association with Ponemon Institute it was found that the cost of data breach on average had gone up by 23 percent from 2014 among the 350 companies surveyed. Consumers are equally worried about their data getting into the wrong hands as a Deloitte University Press found out a majority about 83 percent were well aware about the recent data breaches that had taken place, while a little more than half 59 percent concluded that they would not buy from the consumer products company.

Marketers are in a fix when it comes to consumers personal data that spells unlimited opportunity, at the same time is an axe hanging around their neck. The ever growing demand for personalisation from consumers requires marketers dig deep into data to understand each individual customer to serve them more personalised products and services, but the fear of overstepping the line is a constant concern which prohibits. Christopher McClean, VP, research director at Forrester sharing his thoughts on marketers responsibility in terms of data security and protection with DMN mentions, ‘ For marketing people, there are so many good reasons to use customer data. Ideally, they're not using data maliciously, but are using it to improve their products and services, and advance customization—making targeted marketing more personalized. Those are all potentially valuable things. There is a creepiness factor, though. Marketers who overuse data, or use it in ways customers aren't expecting, make customers feel like they're being intruded upon.

On the question of how marketers can address the situation McClean says, all departments, prominently, marketing, technology, legal should sit down and talk to figure out what amounts to creepy for them as consumers, whether the data collection methods employed by them are legally sound, figure out the third parties who have access to the data, if the data is encrypted and where it is stored. If the departments sit regularly to discuss on the mentioned topics it will make it easy to adopt policies to retain customers and keep them happy.

Then again there is another challenge lurking, that of mismatch between the IT and the marketing department. Data from Leapfrog Marketing Institute’s 2015 CMO Digital Benchmark study only 13 percent of IT staff believe their collaboration with the marketing department is productive compared to the 30 percent of marketers. On the other hand while 20 percent marketers mentioned working with IT improved alignment a mere 4 percent of IT staff felt the same.

Customer Identity Management can be the exact solution that fills the gap between the marketing and IT departments, as it requires both departments to work closely besides it can relieve marketers and the other departments about the collection and storage of user data as it is ably handled by third party vendors. The growing cloud of legalities that govern the collection and storage are all addressed by the CIM vendor, with highest standards of data protection to mitigate data breaches. With CIM marketers can do what they are expected that is to create strong bonds with the customer base through personalised, non intrusive, message, products and services.

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