Privacy and data classification in Marketing

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Privacy is the number one concern from online consumers, with 86% of users taking active steps to improve their safety online, according to Brandon Gaille. And as more data privacy regulations and guidelines are put into action by governments, industries and privacy organizations around the world, it’s becoming increasingly important that marketers understand these rules and follow them - or face penalties and/or fines.

We know that demographic information is beneficial to customers because it provides them with a more targeted, personalized experience. 90% of execs surveyed by Adage say they’re dependent on consumer data for their marketing efforts. Brands don’t want to waste their time or their prospects’ time sending them messages that won’t convert.

Information storing also benefits customers. When customers store their addresses or credit card information with their favorite online retailers, for example, they’re able to make their purchases more quickly.

Even today, marketers can collect a wealth of data on on consumers online. To provide customers with a positive, personalized experience, we need their data. However, all marketers are also legally obligated to treat this private personal data respectfully and fairly. To do so, you must be transparent about how you’re using data to inform your marketing activities.Truly protecting customer data involves more than defending your network from hackers and posting a boilerplate privacy policy.

Key Data Privacy Regulations and Guidelines: United States

The steps above are great general guidelines, but how do you know if your privacy policies are achieving compliance with the onslaught of new regulations coming your way?

In the U.S., there is no single regulator for data protection, as regulations are typically created and enforced by industry or state. One of the most stringent regulations is PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), a set of standards created by card issuers such as Visa and MasterCard to ensure the security of credit card details online. In other words, if you run an eCommerce website of any kind, you must follow the rules laid out in PCI DSS.

Global Regulations - and Why They Matter

Though the U.S. has made some strides in introducing privacy laws in the past few years, it's still lagging far behind Europe, which continues to put one privacy law after another into effect. And because most of today’s mid to large-sized companies sell their products and services to customers around the world, it’s important to know and understand these regulations and how they impact you if you're a marketer in the States.

The European Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR)

The regulation that’s currently on the minds of organizations across the globe is the upcoming EU Data Protection Regulation, which goes into effect on May 25, 2018. Though it says “European” in the title, this law will apply to any company that sells to European citizens or residents-or anyone who creates data in the EU.

This “data creation” could include a purchase or submission of details during a sales or marketing interaction. As you can imagine, that’s influencing marketers across the globe to up their privacy and opt-in requirements to make sure they’re compliant. This law will become the go-to best practice for protecting consumer data. And marketers in the U.S. who don’t adhere to these rules could find themselves in hot water.


Stay diligent. Privacy regulations are constantly changing, and your marketing policies must keep up! It’s not too late to examine your current policies and make changes. Doing so may save you trouble (and fines!) down the road.

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