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The Role of Data Privacy in Digital Marketing

Published on:

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

In 2018, businesses were faced with a brand new regulation with regards online privacy in the form of GDPR. A process through which all data held by businesses about their customers had to be approved by the customer directly, GDPR forced countless companies and businesses across all sectors to reach out to their customers and ask for express permission to hold onto and use their personal information.

Any customer who did not tick a box expressly giving the business permission to hold and use their data had to be removed from any mailing and contact lists - causing huge upheaval to marketing campaigns and engagement statistics.

What’s more, any future data collection had to be clearly identified by marketers - letting customers know what they were collecting and how it would be used.

As a customer or user, this can sometimes be (and let’s be honest here) really quite annoying. Constant pop-ups and permission boxes letting us know about data and privacy settings can quickly get in the way of our browsing and online buying experience. But without it, we would have no idea where our data was being used - and it’s this which forms the main role of data privacy in modern digital marketing.

In this blog post, we’re highlighting the main touch-points of data privacy in digital marketing, what businesses need to know, and how to protect your business (and your customers) in 2024.

What are the data protection rules in 2024 in the UK?

Data protection

GDPR led the way for an overhaul of data collection and data privacy all over the world.

One of the most important factors in data privacy, now and ever since the launch of GDPR regulations in 2018, is putting data privacy and protection at the heart of business activity from day one. That is, whenever a company adopts a new system or uses a new marketing platform, they must focus on what that platform does with customer information as standard.

In the UK, a Data Protection Impact Assessment has been specifically created to support this, giving businesses a checklist under which they can ensure full compliance with up to date GDPR regulations. Through this, businesses and companies must…

  • Determine whether a marketing project has the potential to pose a risk to data privacy.
  • Formulate a mitigation strategy to minimise data privacy issues. For example, using a CRM management tool to keep data information well ordered and protected.
  • Communicate any data risks with the individuals who are most affected, ensuring full transparency.
  • Complete and maintain good record keeping ensuring that the business knows what data has been accessed, by who, and for what.

Data protection is, in the simplest sense, about understanding the risks associated with collecting and retaining customer data and taking steps to minimise the risk of this data being used inappropriately.

Through GDPR, customers are informed about the ways their information will be used and asked to confirm that they are happy with this information being stored. But as businesses adopt more marketing platforms and explore the benefits of AI and other tools, keeping track of this data privacy priority is becoming more challenging than ever.

How businesses can ensure optimum privacy of customer data

Regardless of your industry and the size of your business, the chances are that you use some kind of platform to fine-tune and finesse your marketing.

Data protection comes into play anytime you input customer information as part of a contact list or marketing campaign - and as such, it must be used with attention to privacy and protection.

AI is one example of a tool that more and more businesses are using for automated chat functions and other purposes, often overlooking the risks this poses alongside customer data. As soon as a customer starts a chat with an AI-powered bot, asking for their information or order number, a risk has been opened - and needs to be mitigated and minimised by your own data protection policy.

The most important thing that businesses can do to ensure that they are operating within data protection policies is to be transparent and open with customers at all stages. If you ask for personal information, let them know what you need it for and how it will be used.

As well as that, businesses and marketing teams should book onto regular training to stay up to date with GDPR and other data policies, and work with teams of marketing experts who are well versed in balancing successful campaigns with the right permissions and privacy strategies.