"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Kitty Kolding, president and CEO at Infocore.
With the rapid and increasingly dramatic changes being made to data privacy legislation around the world, marketers are faced with a difficult challenge. How will they continue to reach targeted consumers who may be legitimately interested in their products or services when reaching them legally is becoming more difficult to do?
In many parts of the world, the requirements for obtaining truly compliant consent are getting much more challenging. The EU’s GDPR legislation, for example, is radically limiting the way marketers can engage with consumers. Similar legislation is already in place in certain APAC markets and is brewing in other parts of the world, including Latin America.
The trend is to restrict data collectors and buyers extensively and create consent collection requirements that will make it very difficult to develop and use high-quality marketing lists. The new legislation will effectively hobble data collectors that aren’t gigantic multinational companies, since ultimately they’ll be the only ones who can afford the army of lawyers, analysts and software engineers needed to build and maintain the systems and processes required. This will drive prices up and the number of available options for marketers down.
When considering the future, we must first admit that privacy advocates and politically ambitious governments will continue to sound the rallying cry for ultra-tight privacy requirements, regardless of the calamitous effects those laws may bring to their countries’ business environments. These dramatic-sounding comments get them the attention and votes they want, which means they’re not going to stop the rhetoric and public pressure to create these onerous privacy requirements any time soon. So we can expect the future to bring more of the same trends and sentiment we’re seeing now.
With that in mind, I believe that the only viable solution will come from the tech geniuses in places like Silicon Valley, Redmond, Wash., Denver and New York City. I see a future where a new breed of cloud-based software tools will be developed to serve as the consumer’s digital consent passbook.
Consumers will have their own account – not unlike today’s password managers – to track specific marketers and the consumer’s privacy and consent settings in relation to those marketers. The consumer will be able to activate, deactivate and manage their permissions with the granularity that today and tomorrow’s legislation will require. They’ll be able to see exactly who they’re dealing with and what they’re allowing that marketer to do with their personally identifiable information.
Some believe that this kind of system will actually enable a whole ecosystem of micropayments to consumers in exchange for their consent to receive marketing messages, disclose details about themselves and allow their behavioral data to be profiled. That is a fascinating concept: Consumers offer their consent in exchange for cold, hard cash, instead of a 10% off coupon for a future purchase.
Sound preposterous? Take a look at the complexity and granularity of what the EU and other data privacy regimes in other parts of the world are requiring marketers to do to collect and maintain data and consent from consumers. Look at China and parts of Southeast Asia, where there is the threat of prison sentences to punish those who operate outside the current legislation.
Without sophisticated tools that have the storage and computing power to manage these requirements, marketers will perpetually be running the risk of very large fines – and even jail terms in some Asian markets – for noncompliance. The stakes are high for a problem in search of a technology solution.
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