As society continues to shift online, opportunities for building a business and brand become unlimited. Data collection technology makes it possible to figure out what customers are looking for and when, making it easy to get them what they want, when they want it.
However, with these opportunities comes an increase in concern relating to the security of the data collected on customers. Plain and simple: consumers WANT to know that their data is safe and that they have control over what’s collected and what is being done with the data collected.
Grow brand trust through data transparency
According to Steve Sirich, the General Manager of the Global Advertising Business Team at Microsoft, "consumers have become increasingly worried about privacy and are hesitant to entrust their data to just anyone. At the same time, they've also come to expect highly personalized brand interactions, for which some data is essential".
In essence, the average person benefits from personalized buying experiences based on their data; but at the same time, they want to know that their data is safe and protected.
By using data responsibly and being transparent in their use of data, companies can provide the customer with peace of mind which will keep buyers coming back again and again. Also, as data privacy continues to grow into a more significant concern for customers, being open and honest about data-use positions the company in the customer's mind as a morally correct and forward-thinking company.
Here are a few examples of how small businesses can increase their transparency in their data-use:
Add a cookie consent banner
Making it clear to customers the first time they land on your website that they can control whether or not cookies are used on your site, as well as explaining to them what they’re used for, puts the power of their data in their hands.
Have clear messaging around opt-in's
All marketing communication email opt-in’s like pop-ups or calls-to-action throughout your website should include the fine print. Best practice includes linking to your terms and privacy page so customers can learn more.. Check out how Mejuri clearly communicates to their customers what they're signing up for, letting customers them know they can unsubscribe at any time.
Again according to Sirich, the cautious approach being taken to data currently "presents a unique opportunity for marketers to balance people's right to privacy with the need to capture data to provide that personalized experience." In other words, providing customers with what they expect while also ensuring an aura of honesty and clarity regarding how their precious data is used. Overall improving your brand reputation and puts you in a favourable light with consumers.
Data privacy transparency helps keep you compliant
In addition to boosting your company's reputation, according to Jeff Kozloff of the Forbes Technology Council, transparency can keep you compliant. Specifically, transparency in the usage and storage of data ensures that the company remains compliant with data privacy laws worldwide.
In recent years, the increased importance placed on data protection and many controversial events surrounding data privacy has caused legislation to be put in place, forcing stronger protection of the average consumer's data. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation and PIPEDA covering the EU and Canada, respectively.
Violations of these legislations carry hefty fines and irreversible consequences like a damaged reputation of the brand that violated them. Therefore, a company that's transparent in their data practices increases the pressure on themselves to stay within the bounds of legislation, helping protect themselves against large fines, while maintaining the air of honesty and morally correct behaviour.