Building a Marketing Tech Stack in a Privacy-First World

The world is increasingly shifting towards a privacy-centric approach. As marketers, we must adapt to the changing landscape and ensure that our strategies and technologies are compliant with current data regulations, yet still effective. This shift is not just about avoiding legal penalties but also about building trust with consumers. As you build a marketing tech stack for your agency or for a brand, it’s important to understand how privacy and security regulations have transformed the marketing data landscape. This means that at each stage in the marketing lifecycle, you’ll have to pay close attention to building a privacy-first marketing tech stack.

Data Regulations in the US and Europe

In 2018, the EU’s GDPR, set a groundbreaking precedent in terms of privacy laws with repercussions far beyond Europe’s borders. It obliged organizations to be transparent about their data handling practices, necessitating:

  • Seeking explicit consent to gather Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  • Only collecting the data that’s essential
  • Ensuring the accuracy of the data collected
  • Safeguarding the data against potential breaches

While the GDPR officially changed the game for marketers, many states in the US have since enacted their own privacy regulations, further signifying a transition to a privacy-first world. Most notably, the same year as the GDPR went into effect, California introduced the CCPA and later amended it with the CPRA. Initially designed to protect California’s residents, their impact is now felt nationwide, establishing:

  • The right to know and access the information a business collects
  • The right to delete personal information held by businesses
  • The right to opt-out of the sale of personal information

Best Practices for Data Privacy Throughout the Marketing Tech Stack Lifecycle

Since the implementation of new privacy laws, marketers have had to adjust how they are collecting consumers personal information, and also pay close attention to how the tools and technologies they use adhere to those same laws. Namely marketers are now acutely aware of opt-in requirements, limits on data collection, data access and deletion requests, and industry-specific privacy compliance, such as HIPAA for the medical industry, when building a marketing tech stack.

To help navigate conversations around privacy with your team and your clients, and ensure it stays top of mind from the commencement of any engagement, consider the following key points as you work through your objectives, processes, and tools to build an effective marketing strategy in a privacy-first world.

Web Development

When designing websites or online platforms, pay special attention to industry regulations. For instance, if you’re building a website for the healthcare sector that collects patient data in any way, your site might need to be HIPAA compliant, which is a whole new set of regulations. The consequences for not adhering to HIPAA regulations are severe and best avoided. Similarly, financial industries come with their own set of stringent rules. If you or your team, don’t have the expertise, consider partnering with an experienced agency to ensure you get it right the first time.

Additionally, web security should be prioritized from the initial development stages. Ensuring secure coding practices, regular vulnerability assessments, and timely patching is paramount as data breaches can have far-reaching implications. Overall, choose secure website platforms and plugins and work with a developer or agency that you trust and can clearly demonstrate a commitment to privacy and security.

List Acquisition

For marketers relying on lists to reach potential customers, you’ll have to pay close attention to the following:

  • Source Verification: It’s essential to know the origin of your lists. Ensure that they are sourced ethically and in compliance with data protection standards.
  • Data Clean Rooms: Use these to analyze data in a privacy-compliant manner, especially when combining datasets from different sources. A data clean room provides summarized and de-identified user data to safeguard individual privacy. At the same time, it supplies advertisers with information that isn’t linked to personal identities, allowing them to reach a particular demographic and measure audience size.
  • Reconfirm Opt-in: Even if a list has been acquired legally, it’s a best practice to reconfirm opt-in, ensuring that subscribers genuinely want to receive your communications.

Digital Marketing

When we talk about digital marketing, we’re zeroing in on remarketing efforts and trackers used to inform analytics. For a long time, these tools were invaluable to marketers, providing multiple opportunities to engage an interested lead. And while these tools can still be useful in a more limited sense, they should be used transparently. Retargeting can be extremely effective, but ensure that you’re remarketing in a privacy-conscious manner and with the right tools. Be transparent with users and provide easy opt-out options. Another good practice to keep in mind is to limit trackers as excessive tracking can deter users and breach privacy norms.

Building a marketing tech stack in a privacy-first world is not just about compliance; it’s about embracing a new marketing philosophy that puts consumer privacy above all else. By placing privacy at the core of our strategies, we’re not only following the law but also fostering trust with our audience, which in the long run, is invaluable for brand credibility and loyalty.