Privacy: The Critical Global Issue for Marketers

Privacy is one of the most critical issues for marketers and advertisers worldwide.

In mid-April, ADMA chaired a meeting of twenty worldwide DMA’s in London to discuss critical issues affecting the future of marketing and advertising. At the top of the agenda for almost every country was the issue of privacy and the concern about how it will affect the future of marketing and advertising. (Click here to hear international viewpoints).

Data increasingly sits at the heart of marketing and advertising. Decisions on how to reach customers, engage interest and provide better service are all reliant on using data. This has long been the mantra of marketers but is now extending to all forms of advertising… and in fact business in general.

However, as corporations get ever-smarter in using data to deliver on customer needs and expectations, the progress is being countered by the threat of ever increasing restrictions imposed by ill-considered privacy proposals.

The problem in many countries is that the government recommendations are focused solely on consumer protection without recognising the critical role that data plays in our future growth, innovation and commerce.  Europe in particular, has made short sighted recommendations to try to address immediate narrow issues without considering the enormous knock-on impact. For example, in an attempt to address the issue of social media sharing, Europe has proposed to require businesses to ‘delete’ personal information on request. This certainly works if you are trying to erase your Facebook history …but just consider the ramifications for fraud prevention, company records and suppressions.

This is even more concerning when considering that the European definition of ‘personal information’ could be extended to non-personal or de-identified data. This would mean IP addresses, cookie information and aggregate data would be subject to privacy laws – i.e. consent would need to be gained to use the information and it would need to be deleted on request.

Similar trends are reported in the US, which is embarking on the path of implementing a much more reasonable and well balanced privacy regime.

Just because this is happening on the other side of the world doesn’t mean it won’t impact Australian marketers and advertisers. It will. The new proposed European law specifically states that if data is collected in Europe or relates to a citizen then it is covered by the legislation. This has far reaching ramification when considering the global nature of Internet and the move towards a global economy.

ADMA strongly believes in consumer protection but also believes that much greater consideration needs to be given to benefits that arise from organisations being able to made data-driven business decisions thereby developing and tailoring products and experiences based on our wants and expectations.

Australia is imminently poised to see how our government will approach privacy laws. The new draft Australian Privacy legislation is due to be released in a matter of weeks and this will reveal the extent to which the government has considered the advantages of a balanced approach that protects the consumer whilst encouraging progress and innovation.

In June, ADMA will be launching a monthly webinar series bringing you the latest news about privacy from countries around the world along with providing a summary of how it will affect Australian based marketers. Watch this space for more information.

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