Many would argue that 2020 hasn't been off to a great start. Even for marketers, new data privacy regulations are posing as a threat in digital channels. The biggest companies in the world such as Google and Facebook are facing troubles because of how their advertising revenue is being stunted. What exactly is the extent of these new regulations and how can marketers adapt?
Data privacy laws such as California's Consumer Privacy Act are ultimately going to make it harder to collect information on consumers and use it to target them with advertisements. Back in 2018 when the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) mandates went into effect in the European Union, legal framework was established that set guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information. Now, similar regulations are coming into play in the US.
Many believe the GDPR is going to serve as a model for some of the new legislation proposed in 2020. According to Forbes, there's a high likelihood that some sort of federal privacy law will pass in 2020. For small to medium sized businesses, this is not good news. While global corporations will naturally have access to less restricted information, SMBs could face stalled growth to assure compliance.
What is the CCPA and How Does it Affect Me?
On a better note, the CCPA is more directed towards enterprise companies. It came into effect on January 1st, 2020 and allows California consumers to demand to see all of the information a company has saved about them. Consumers also have the right to ask which third-party organizations have information on them. If there's any violation of privacy guidelines, consumers have the right to sue.
However, this law only affects firms who have an annual revenue of at least $25 million and have personal data on at least 50,000 people. Businesses who collect more than half of their revenues from the sale of personal data must comply with the CCPA. Non-compliance can come with fines of up to $7,500 per contact. Basically, as an SMB, you probably won't have to worry too much.
New business obligations
Companies who are subject to the CCPA must notify consumers at or before the time of data collection. Procedures must be in place to respond to consumer requests to opt-out, know, or delete the information. With this comes timeframes that businesses must respond to such requests.
Other obligations include the disclosure of financial initiatives that businesses seek in exchange for a consumer's personal information. And lastly, businesses must maintain records to demonstrate how they are compliant. Sounds like a lot, right?
Well, truth be told, it kind of is. According to Berkeley Economic Advising and Research, the CCPA will protect over $12 billion worth of personal information that is used for advertising in California each year. This explains why Facebook's advertisement revenue growth is hitting a plateau.
How Can I Stay on Top of These Regulations?
According to eMarketer, Facebook and Google collectively control 54.9% of global advertising budgets. Experts say these companies will have to diversify their ad spend to stay ahead of the curve. One issue cited by Business Insider, for instance, is 25% of Facebooks's advertising business comes from Instagram. Targeted advertisements in digital channels are only going to become more regulated and Wall Street is warning investors of how data privacy laws are going to hinder the growth of these larger companies.
Marketer's need to be well-versed on how the CCPA and similar legislation will affect their business. This can be a real challenge as digital channels have always been the cheapest and most effective way to engage with consumers. As effective that digital marketing has been, it's popularity has brought in a stream of new marketing platforms, some of which offer new channels of communication.
As a result, an open mind is the best way to approach the new data regulations. If your marketing efforts are centered around digital channels, it might be time to look elsewhere to engage with consumers. Diversifying your strategy will reach potential customers in ways they may not have experienced before, giving you an upper hand.
As 2020 gets going, think of some metrics aside from your traditional KPIs that might report negative signals. Understanding the areas your organization is struggling in will help you make decisions that point you towards more profitable opportunities.
Another thing marketers needs to consider in 2020 is the expectations of consumers. It's no secret that these data privacy regulations are coming into play. Consequently, consumers will be more aware of their data than ever before. Between data breaches in the media and new legislation, consumers fully understand the value their information holds. Marketers must consider this and be obligated to maintain transparency. Doing so will lead to a trustworthy relationship with clientele and increased customer loyalty.
Where offline engagement can come into play
Data privacy laws are without a doubt going to create difficulties for digital marketers. The dispersal of information will become more lethargic as regulations create roadblocks. Fortunately, online-to-offline platforms such as Postal enable marketers to create authentic connections with contacts offline.
It's time for sales and marketing departments to reevaluate how they prospect and generate leads. Those who leveraged social media channels to create extremely targeted advertisements are now going to have to rethink their approach. As consumers become more aware, they won't respond well to ads on digital platforms where they spend personal time.
Direct mail is an extremely overlooked channel, especially by B2B marketers. In fact, only 38.5% of B2B companies are using direct mail in their prospecting activities. While both B2B and B2C companies will be affected by the new data privacy regulations, B2B marketers have a tremendous opportunity through direct mail.
Corporate mailing addresses are publicly available. Sending mail to a buying committee in a target account has never been easier with modern technology and it doesn't involve privacy complications.
Gifting is an area in the realm of offline engagement that is already highly regulated across industries. The S.E.C. has clear guidelines for what can be sent and received, especially in financial service professions and by government employees. Large corporations will often have internal gift policies as well.
Sending gifts for B2B sales and marketing purposes is a very clever way to book meetings with high value accounts. Ensure the gifts you send are within legal and corporate boundaries. Again, while there are ethics and policies that regulate gifting in the business world, maintaining compliance is relatively simple compared to some of the new privacy laws.
Make Human Connections
The complexities of these data privacy regulations only go so far. They came into effect clearly because certain companies weren't handling personal information as they should have been. However, marketers who have always maintained an honest and transparent approach really shouldn't have to worry.
Our minds work in a way that appreciate connections in the real world for more so than the digital world. Offline engagement does something that digital channels have never been able to: create authentic connections with another person. Consumer information is now regulated more than ever, and if this is the case, marketers need to start focusing on making more human connections.