How Marketers Can Tackle the Issues of Privacy, Transparency and Control

How Marketers Can Tackle the Issues of Privacy, Transparency and Control

They’re all the same problem, but there is a solution

By Charlie Swift, EVP, Head of Marketing and Account Management, Adstra

Data-driven marketing is changing fundamentally. By now we’ve all been warned: Cookies and mobile ad IDs (MAIDs) are disappearing, privacy legislation is coming, consumer habits are shifting and garden walls are rising.

These changes, however the timeline plays out, will inevitably entail a new set of priorities and concerns for marketers. These, too, have been debated to the point where they are familiar to many of us. There is a broad consensus that the future of digital media will involve broader and more intensive leveraging of first-party data and identity.

Nobody would dispute the idea that marketers and publishers will pursue more direct relationships with their customers. It seems logical that they will rely on technology partners to help them interoperate with an increasingly diverse and fragmented ecosystem. They will push for transparency in the supply chain and, out of necessity, invest more deeply in privacy compliance.

This vision of the future holds up on paper, and it’s essentially correct. But it doesn’t provide much of a roadmap for marketers embarking on this journey. These ideas—privacy, control and transparency—are hard to pin down at a tactical level, assuming marketers all agree on what they really stand for (and they don’t necessarily agree).

The good news is that the tactical answer is more elegant and straightforward than the problem itself.

Too many fronts

Achieving this vision of the future seems daunting—and it is if you take the wrong approach.  The biggest mistake marketers can make is to pursue these ends separately, to try, in other words, to fight a war on too many fronts.

Want to become privacy compliant? Pay lawyers, audit data and constantly adapt to new rules. Want transparency? Put pressure on everyone in the supply chain and streamline partner relationships. Want control? Lean on verification solutions, post-campaign analytics, make goods, etc. Keeping up with the pace of change requires a ton of effort, a lot of investment and quite a lot of guesswork about how they all come together. 

The thing is, transparency, control and privacy are all different sides of the same die, different expressions of the same challenge. You can’t have any one of them without the others. Privacy laws now require owners of data to account for how it was used, and to provide the option to delete it. Try doing that without transparency into those operations, or control over when and how they take place. Or try achieving control itself by outsourcing your data operations to partners that hinder transparency. It’s not going to work.

The most challenging aspects of privacy, control and transparency result from the practice of sending data outside a company’s own walls. Once data leaves the brand’s own environment, it’s astronomically more difficult to make real progress against these.

Making the obvious solution possible

The flip side of that insight is obvious: Don’t send the data out, or at least not by default. That hasn’t been a viable option for most marketers, until now.

Adstra’s Conexa enterprise identity platform makes it possible. Given its ability to operate behind a brand’s firewall, the EIP delivers brands the ability to accurately resolve and control consumer identity transparently inside their own environments, transact on that identity without privacy risk and without being beholden to an external provider “tax” on their interaction with partners.

Charlie Swift is currently the EVP, head of marketing and account management at Adstra, focused on orchestrating marketing activities across media channels with greater control, transparency and return. In his role, Charlie is responsible for overseeing Adstra’s marketing strategy, communications and execution, as well as overseeing the delivery of services and maintenance of Adstra’s direct account client base and the associated revenue.

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