Editor’s note: This post by Ann Gynn is adapted from her article, 21 Experts: Don’t Fear Life After Cookies – If You Have Content (and Consent) on the Content Marketing Institute website.
Third-party cookies are crumbling. Apple is changing its tools to help consumers keep their information private. Legislative bodies (in the European Union, California, and beyond) are implementing new laws in the name of consumer and data privacy.
It’s enough to leave any content marketer’s head spinning. How do you operate in this new era? How can your content marketing remain both compliant and effective when it seems like the rules for gathering and applying audience insights are changing by the minute?
Fear not: Help has arrived. We asked 21 content marketing experts who are presenting at Content Marketing World 2021 to share their recommendations on addressing data privacy. And boy did they deliver!
Considering how complex and dynamic a subject this is, you may not be able to implement all their advice at once. So, we’ve put together a hit-list of starter action items that should be well within your ability to address:
1. Respect the law and the audience
- Never add anyone to your email list without their explicit consent. Not only is this likely illegal under various privacy laws, it’s also highly disrespectful to your audience.
- Get rid of data you no longer need to operate your business. This way, if there is a data breach, it will result in damage to the fewest people.
- At least once a year, review your privacy practices to make sure that policies are being followed and that you’re keeping the data that others have entrusted to you secure. – Ruth Carter, evil genius, Carter Law Firm
2. Use your data wisely, strategically, and effectively
- Quadruple down on customer experience and adding contextually relevant value. This means using what data you do have to drive deeper relationships with your core audience to ensure they consent.
- Make sure that your content is properly tagged and componentized to deliver those personalized, contextually relevant experiences.
- Do an omnichannel journey mapping exercise for core customer jobs-to-be-done (not your sales cycle) and define how and where personalization and contextualization will deliver its value. – Noz Urbina, omnichannel content strategist, Urbina Consulting
3. Fertilize your field to grow insights organically and transparently
- Nurture your email list (don’t just build it to build it or build it to sell to it).
- Deliver value to that email list in equal amounts to what you hope to gain – focus on “buyer enablement” on educating and building confidence in your audience.
- Don’t succumb to the “persuader’s paradox” where you’re willing to do to your audience (in the name of conversions or whatever) what you wouldn’t want to have done to you. – Tamsen Webster, CEO and chief message strategist, Find the Red Thread
4. Make audiences crave a relationship with you
- Create content so good that people actually want to hear from you.
- Create serial content that compels them to do that (an awesome newsletter, great video series, event series, podcast, educational course, etc.).
- Focus on collecting first-party data about your audience through surveys, self-assessments, and other tools. – Joe Lazauskas, head of marketing, Contently
- Create experiences that matter to your customers. Create good content, and they will want to be close to you. Build your email list, and don’t send them crap. – Christoph Trappe, director of content marketing, Voxpopme
5. Prioritize owned media and deliver distinct brand value
- Take steps to own your data. Bring people onto your owned properties and encourage them to opt-in. It’s the only real safeguard.
- Differentiate your brand as much as you possibly can. Brand recognition is going to become even more important, with fewer options for targeting. If you make sure to stay true to your brand voice and design, it will help people remember you when they have a problem you can solve. – Inbar Yagur, vice president of marketing, GrowthSpace
- Marketers absolutely need to pay attention to their owned platforms and focus efforts there for at least two reasons: More control over data practices, which makes complying with data privacy regulations easier and more straightforward, and better data quality, which makes the data more relevant and the relationships you use the data to build more valuable. – Sharon Toerek, founder, Toerek Law
6. Get good advice from knowledgeable partners
- Partner with an agency or advertising partner that understands the laws and regulations. – Mariah Obiedzinski, AVP content services, Stamats
- Partner with your IT team. Partner with your IT team. Partner with your IT team. Every organization has data protection and data governance policies that may not be on the radar of the marketing team. All your critical marketing technology applications need a backup. Just like you back up your phone to preserve content and information, your IT team needs to know which applications and databases need to be part of the enterprise backup strategy. Understand the data management policies of your organization. Understand where to properly store customer data, financial data, etc. Never save customer data to your laptop’s hard drive. Many data breaches happen by individual mismanagement of data. – Penny Gralewski, solutions marketing, Commvault
For more expert advice to help you keep up with the latest data trends, register to attend CMWorld 2021 and check out the sessions in our Data and Analytics Track.