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A privacy-first world won’t hurt your customer relationships, it’ll transform them for the better

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A privacy-first world won’t hurt your customer relationships, it’ll transform them for the better


As marketers, we thrive on data. Kipp Bodnar looks at a privacy-first world.

Data has the power to help us identify when content is underperforming. It allows us to pivot to provide the highest value to our customers. It can also enable us to explore new, underutilised channels. This helps marketers to discover the best platforms to connect with our audiences.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that any changes to the existing data collection ecosystem will create uncertainty around the future of marketing. This can make marketers concerned about how current strategies will fare in a privacy-first world. 

But a privacy-first world doesn’t inhibit a company’s ability to know and better serve its customers. In fact, it improves it. It’s a world in which creating and maintaining relationships directly with customers is the only way to truly understand them. Then earn their trust.

What is a privacy-first world?

We’ve heard time and time again about the widespread feelings of mistrust when it comes to data and privacy. In the past year, 76 percent of consumers have felt that they don’t know what companies are doing with data. Only one-third of customers believe companies are currently using their data responsibly. But the landscape is changing…

A privacy-first world means a company’s strategies, technologies and solutions must adhere to the customer’s right to data privacy. To combat consumers’ concerns, regulations such as the Customer Data Right (CDR) are increasingly requiring transparency around data collection. This will make a privacy-first marketing strategy necessary to reach global audiences.

Certain industries, such as nonprofits, have always taken a first-party data approach to building relationships with audiences. So, while a privacy-first world might be new for some businesses, it’s not new for all. 

Why privacy-first matters

As consumers raise their standards in regards to data privacy and security, it’s vital that the marketing industry adapts accordingly.

Ultimately, a privacy-first approach encourages marketers to develop stronger and more transparent. It creates a 1:1 relationship with customers. By the same token, first-party data allows businesses to better understand customers based on the information they’ve willingly shared. This means ads and marketing materials can become more targeted. 

As privacy legislation continues to evolve, working within the parameters of consenting data sharing businesses can also safeguard customer insights, providing a competitive advantage for the years to come.

Prepping for a privacy-first world

In the new landscape, we must reimagine our marketing strategies to ensure company growth doesn’t come at the expense of customers’ trust. Invest in a first-party data model is a strategy that’s proven successful. Marketers that effectively use first-party data are able to generate twice the incremental revenue from a single ad placement or outreach. 

To adjust to a privacy-first world, marketers will need to ensure there’s systems in place to collect and measure first-party data effectively. For example, a CRM allows businesses to collect, track and analyse first-party data, while providing visitors with the transparency and knowledge that their data is being used for more personalised communication and a better user experience – not for tracking their every move across the web.

HubSpot and Google’s Enhanced Conversions (EC) new integration, for example, allows companies to increase the amount of observable conversions. This ultimately improves the return on investment. 

Change is always difficult. For marketing teams that have relied for years on third-party data to inform strategies, it will take time to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of data privacy. However, this privacy-first shift will empower marketers to use data privileges to gain trust. This should ultimately lead to more positive relationships with customers.

Kipp Bodnar is the chief marketing officer at HubSpot.


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