Privacy vs. Marketing Automation: Making Them Work in Harmony

Posted by Kate Jurras on Thu, Jul 5, 2012

DD resized 600For the July blog series, we asked some of Boston's greatest thought leaders to speak on a particularly complicated (but relevant) subject: tracking, targeting, and privacy. Their responses were surprising, fascinating, and applicable - and we think you'll find this series quite interesting! This post is by Dennis Dayman, Eloqua. Dennis has more than 17 years of experience combating spam, security issues, and improving e-mail delivery through industry policy, ISP relations, and technical solutions. As Eloqua's chief privacy and security officer, Dayman leverages his experience and industry connections to help Eloqua's customers maximize their delivery rates and compliance. Dayman sits on many email and privacy coalition/association boards and also advises many companies on their start-up growth strategies.

Today companies obtain, store and process massive amounts of personal identifiable information (PII) on individuals, and these individuals don’t think twice about the privacy and security implications of giving up such information. Let’s face it; consumers will do almost anything to get a discount or something for free - including giving out personal information. The information, then, is left in the hands of marketers, who are essentially the guardians of that data.

boston interactive resized 600One aspect of implementing marketing automation software is the use of tracking to collect data about prospects for lead nurturing and scoring. Connecting with our prospects electronically helps us gain a more detailed perspective of their needs.  Marketing automation technology becomes incredibly valuable because it enables marketers to centralize this data. Using a single data point allows marketers to better target the most relevant customers and track interactions across a multitude of marketing channels. With this data, marketers can power one-to-one personalized lifetime dialogues. However, with this data also comes a certain level of privacy concern and responsibility when it comes to customers interacting with your brand either in emails, websites, or even through social media.

Because marketing automation is more than just batching and blasting email, you need to consider what information is required for a successful marketing program and at the same time be compliant with varying regulations and best common practices when collecting more than an email address to communicate to.

Adam Blitzer, Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Pardot said it best: “Where analytics tracking has been around for a long time, I think the biggest difference with marketing automation is that it really takes that ’10,000-foot view’ that you are used to getting from a Google Analytics tool, and it takes you down to sort of a 10-inch view.” Instead of having an aggregate view of what everybody is doing; you can really see what one individual person is doing. However, with that granular knowledge comes privacy concerns that involve more marketing pieces than just the website.

We at Eloqua have always believed in what revenue performance management does in a competitive situation, but we also believe in ensuring the right controls and notices are in place for consumers to be informed and given a choice on how that additional information is used - privacy by design. Privacy by design asserts that the future of privacy cannot be assured solely by compliance with regulatory frameworks; rather, privacy assurance should ideally become an organization’s default mode of operation throughout product development, processes and support. In other words, it requires building in capabilities from the beginning to help marketers manage privacy concerns such as grouping contacts easily by region, segmenting data, etc.

So, while marketing automation is a powerful tool that helps marketers understand about visitors, it’s those companies and marketers that use it respectfully that stand to gain the most, while still alleviating any sort of privacy concerns.

I’ve said it once and I will say it multiple times; don’t fear privacy and security processes – embrace them.