Information and communication technologies, the constant search for personalization and other resources available on the Internet to optimize sales make, many times, companies play on the edge of the violation of digital privacy. Juan Andrés Corrales Feb 10, 20 | 11 min read impact of digital privacy laws What is the impact of this reality for brands? How far can you go when it comes to accessing user data? Is respecting digital privacy a viable decision from the point of view of marketing and Online Marketing strategies ? There are many questions that arise around this topic and we will address them in detail below. What is behind the “obsession” to obtain personal data? We live in the age of data. Companies make decisions based on information collected through systems and take advantage of what they know about users and customers to improve marketing processes . Also, it is increasingly important to evaluate all the factors that the environment entails, such as economic variables, market indicators and consumer trends. In the specific case of personal data, how do companies use it? Why are they relevant to the business?
To answer these questions, let’s take a look at what companies gain from accessing personal information. Greater customization This is the elementary point. Today’s Marketing processes demand an increasing level of engagement and closeness and this is only possible by individualizing messages and interactions. By accessing personal data, brands can get to know their potential customers better and also communicate with them through direct channels, such as email marketing. Greater possibility of attraction Logically, by having data of interest about a certain user at hand, brands are much more likely to attract them. For example, through a simple glance at a person’s social networks it is possible to know, in most cases, what they do, what they think about certain public issues and what their preferences and perspectives are. Better information flows Access to people’s data in the digital world allows you to enjoy a direct line of communication with potential clients. This saves effort, time and money to reach them and let them know the desired message. All these aspects show us that, also, the obtaining and use of personal data represents: budget optimization, immediacy of actions, and greater possibilities of sale for many brands. When is a user’s digital privacy invaded? Let’s tear down a few myths and paradigms! Now is the time to assess what can and cannot be considered an invasion of digital privacy. To do this, we will answer a very precise question in each situation: did the user share their data voluntarily? When the answer is no and the information in question is truly personal, we can consider it to be a violation. So, without further ado, let’s analyze some of the most “aggressive” Marketing practices, from the point of view of data access and use. WhatsApp messages Few things are more personal than the phone number. Therefore, communicating with a user through this road is driving in muddy terrain.
WhatsApp, mainly, can only be used as a means of interaction if the user previously shared their phone number voluntarily or previously communicated to request some type of information or budget. It is especially invasive to send messages through this application in response to posts that a person made to their contacts in general. That is why advertising actions on WhatsApp can only be carried out when the user previously provides their number, subscribing to a transmission list, for example. Remarketing Its name makes it clear: it is a strategy that consists of doing marketing again, orienting the actions for the same person. Although for some it is a controversial or “aggressive” practice, it cannot really be considered a violation of digital privacy if from the beginning the user agreed to share contact information. In general, websites include a box in which they ask the user if he is willing to accept their cookies , which track him. And that information is sent to the Google Display Network, where ads are shown to you when you browse other domains. The dilemma in this situation is whether it is really worth directing efforts, messages and actions to a certain individual. If he made a negative purchase decision and, taking into account his profile, he really does not need a certain product or service, why try again? Also, it can be annoying for him to be approached again by a business alternative that he discarded.
The remarketing is viable when there are real chances that the user can be attracted to a brand and its products. Direct messages on social networks Although users have public profiles on social networks, many of them do not feel comfortable receiving offers and proposals from strangers through private messaging. “Bombarding” a person with information about promotions and products through private messages, without first approaching the brand showing interest, can be considered an invasive practice. How can users protect their privacy? It is true that we are all exposed by having information on the Internet . But it is also a reality that following certain advice allows us to be less vulnerable. Some of the tips that users can apply to strengthen their digital privacy are:Keep social media profiles private Having a kind of “filter” to decide who can become followers, friends or contacts is very positive from a privacy point of view. Activate the SSL certificate Users who have domains on the Internet can activate this certificate to protect their data and, also, the information of those who browse the site. Frequent password changes This is a basic tip. In fact, many companies require their customers to change passwords from time to time to protect them. Do not fill out any form Many times, companies try to access information of interest through forms. Users who want to protect their data should be careful to only fill out those that come from recognized brands and sites. And what about the laws?
It is true that digital privacy is a relatively new issue and an example of this is that many brands still do not have 100% defined paths about how to deal with it and how far they can go when it comes to capturing data of interest. However, the laws have already begun to take this aspect into account. A recent report by Broad Band Now reflects a revealing fact: 80% of the world’s countries have enacted some law related to digital privacy . Of course, Latin America is no stranger to this. Countries like Mexico and Colombia have taken action on the matter in recent times. In the case of Mexico, we can say that digital privacy is enforced in its Constitution, since article 16 says that “everyone has the right to the protection of their personal data, to access, rectification and cancellation thereof, as well as to express their opposition ”. On the other hand, in recent years reforms to the Federal Criminal Code established a series of computer crimes, including access to and use of users’ personal information without their consent and without state authorization. In Colombia, computer security was put on the table, from a legal point of view, more than a decade ago. In 2009, the violation of personal data on digital platforms was included as a crime of the Criminal Code through the reform of Law 1273 , which carries punishments ranging from financial fines to prison sentences, depending on the severity.
Restrictions on access to personal data: a cheap blow for brands? It is important for brands to understand that the emergence of these types of laws is not a cheap blow and, on the contrary, provides certainty about which practices and strategies can and cannot be applied. Even companies themselves can suffer a violation of their digital privacy, so the legal strengthening in terms of cybersecurity also suits them. Of course, this situation does pose new challenges and demands, such as: prioritization of organic attraction: basically, it is about motivating users to share data voluntarily and without feeling pressured; search for optimal positioning: greater exposure and better digital positioning are necessary to be visible to users who represent opportunities, which requires effort and time. trust generation: through non-intrusive content and constant market education, brands must make people feel taken into account and, therefore, feel more comfortable when sharing information. Respecting digital privacy: more than a moral commitment First of all, you need to understand that the user really cares about the privacy of their data. In fact, for some it is a point of honor, that if violated or “attacked” can lead them to take radical and immediate actions, with negative effects on marketing and sales. For example, in Mexico 32% of social network users would be willing to unsubscribe from them immediately if this can guarantee the protection of your digital privacy, according to a study by Kaspersky . In other countries, such as the United States, the situation is not very different. In that nation, 82% of people are genuinely concerned about their safety online, according to Broad Band Now . Blunt, isn’t it? Undoubtedly, there are users who do not play games when it comes to privacy and respect for data.
Therefore, digital privacy cannot be valued as a simple moral code for brands, but also as a favorable philosophy for marketing processes and positioning. Specifically, maintaining a balance point between digital privacy and the need to acquire data of interest translates into the following advantages: More humane brand When it comes to humanizing brands , respect for digital privacy is an elementary aspect. Let’s face it, today’s user is far from naive and, on the contrary, knows that companies try to access their personal data to generate business and sales opportunities. Therefore, if companies do not go over the edge and truly respect the privacy of users, they may show their human side, which will make consumers feel truly valued. In addition, when requesting data, it is necessary for brands to be friendly and prudent. A very good tactic, which has become one of the good habits of Digital Marketing, is the request for information through download forms of rich materials such as e-books and white papers . At the end of the day, the person has to feel that their data is really worth sharing, so nothing better than giving them something in return. Mainly if this will generate value and help them to know how to solve problems or satisfy needs. Qualification of business contacts In Content Marketing and Digital Marketing as a whole, data is a valuable element, as long as it is accurate and no attempt is made to force contacts and approaches. Paradoxically, respecting digital privacy is a way to obtain qualified business contacts, who may really feel interested in a certain product or service . And it is that one of the premises of respect for digital privacy is to request information directly and precisely, without deception or violating various security mechanisms. Thus, people have the possibility to think about whether they are interested in a certain commercial proposal and, consequently, share their data with a brand. Of course, in order to obtain qualified contacts it is also key to define the buyer persona from the beginning of the strategies.
This concept refers to a semi-fictional representation of the ideal client that is built from research and analysis. Trust building A company that does not violate the data privacy of its users and clients is associated with values such as professionalism, transparency and social responsibility . By interacting with a brand with these characteristics, people feel less likely to be victims of Internet fraud and other crimes. Therefore, sticking points are eliminated and the chances of retention and loyalty are greater. In addition, many consumers consider becoming a customer of a company that respects data security to be a sound decision from a financial point of view. Information breaches, hacks, and other unfair actions usually result in loss of money. Another Brand Band Now investigation showed that 27% of users who have suffered breaches of their online security estimate that the incident entailed economic costs, between US $ 100 and US $ 10,000. Which companies have found the breakeven point when it comes to digital privacy? Logically, when it comes to digital privacy, technology companies are usually the most indicated, because they really have our data in the palm of their hand. However, there are some that are implementing actions and practices to build trust and prevent crimes and unfair actions. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation , some of the companies in the industry that respect digital privacy the most are Adobe Systems, Apple, and Dropbox. This foundation determined that this group of organizations comply with government parameters and inform users about the data they need to access for certain processes. The great news is that respect for digital privacy did not mean great losses for these companies or a bad positioning in the market.