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Why Marketers Need to Double Down on Privacy and Preference Management Now

During times of uncertainty and risk, humans tend to seek comfort in controlling the things that they can control. In this period of global disruption, the desire for control can play out in a myriad of ways. To no one’s surprise, we are seeing a massive increase in the use of social media platforms as everyone tries to understand what’s happening and find reassurance in others going through the same things. Both of these trends – looking for ways to control one’s own situation and finding comfort in others – are something marketers are already paying attention to.

However, the remedies instituted to mitigate the impact of the pandemic are set to thrust privacy and brand trust forward in the minds of every consumer in the foreseeable future. The question is: Will your brand be ready?

Uncertain times and social media

Given the uncertainty in society caused by the pandemic, people are spending more of their lives online, particularly shopping online and on social media. Before the pandemic, usage across many social platforms was in decline. It’s quite likely that when the upheaval starts to recede from our daily lives, and our dependency on these platforms diminishes, that the rising tide of distrust and anti-Facebook sentiment we saw before the pandemic will return. Consumers were increasingly becoming resistant to the insidious collection of surveillance data by social networks and were starting to pull back in obvious ways. This hesitancy could return, compounded by the exhaustion of living lives in a purely digital way. This will leave consumers demanding a powershift in their interactions with brands - choosing to interact only with companies that they trust to safeguard their data and respect their privacy and permissions.

New times and data collection

As countries mobilize to enact track and trace programs, this too will heighten consumers’ sensitivity around data collection. There is already talk about some of this personal data being leaked by bad actors and being “laundered” so it can be used elsewhere. Doubling down on transparency and giving consumers control over their data is a powerful way to hedge against these concerns, and avoid consumer backlash.

Giving consumers control over what data is collected, who it is being shared with or sold to, and how it will be used at a granular level will become the norm in the future. And it is a trend set to be accelerated by the experiences consumers are having during the pandemic right now. Marketers would be smart to start building privacy and preference management into their digital transformation initiatives now, if they are to stay ahead of the tide of consumer expectations and position themselves for success.

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