The increase in data breaches over the past few decades has forced many countries to set up data privacy laws and regulations to protect consumers personally identifiable information (PII). The recent pandemic and resulting disruptions from it have led consumers to become even more digitally centric. In turn, this has seen brands react to new consumer behaviors by accelerating their digital transformation plans so they can tailor the customer experience (CX) across all online and offline channels. By personalizing CX based on user preferences, brands hope to differentiate themselves by offering a value-exchange experience—both the customer and business get something from the interaction.
But this level of customization requires changes in culture, technology, and process, and opens a slew of issues related to data privacy and compliance. Not all companies are so far along in their digital transformation that they can set up this type of digitally centric-driven process. What’s more, it might not always be the most effective way for a brand to engage with a customer, given the level of digital fatigue people are currently suffering.
In fact, deploying a hybrid marketing program that leverages both physical tactics, such as direct mail, and digital methodology potentially allows brands to minimize their concerns about data-privacy compliance while ensuing cohesive messaging across all touchpoints. According to the PFL-Forrester study, Hybrid Experiences Bring Direct Mail into The Digital Age: “Digital fatigue drives marketers to increase spend on direct mail.”
Emerging data privacy regulations
After years of escalating cyber-attacks that resulted in the theft of millions of individuals PII, some forward-looking governments began to enact new data-privacy and data-security laws to protect those citizens.
It began with the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, 2018. GDPR applies to any organization that targets or collects data related to European Union (EU) citizens. The creators of GDPR call it “the toughest privacy and security law in the world,” and they could be right. The fines for violating GDPR can reach as much as €20 million, or four percent of global revenue, whichever is higher.
Another important piece of legislation, this time from the U.S., is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which secures privacy rights for California consumers. The CCPA was put into effect on January 1, 2020, and it provides California consumers more protection and control over the PII that businesses collect about them.
Finally, the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA), went into effect on November 12, 1999, and requires financial institutions to disclose their information-sharing practices to their customers. In 2021, the GLBA received new amendments, as well as new penalties for financial service firms. These new amendments impose fines, penalties, and possible prison time for privacy violations. Organizations that handle U.S. consumer financial data have a December 9, 2022, deadline to comply.
It behooves marketers to pay attention to these regulations and make the changes to their campaigns to accommodate them, while still delivering value for customers.
U.S consumers are concerned about their personal data being stolen—79 percent of participants in a recent poll said they are very concerned about how companies are using the data they collect.
U.S consumers are concerned about their personal data being stolen—79 percent of participants in a recent poll said they are very concerned about how companies are using the data they collect. And consumers want more control over how and where their data is being used. Regulations, such as GDPR, guarantee that right. 93 percent of Americans say it’s important to be able to control who can access their personal data, and they fully support more regulations to protect their interests.
Today marketers have more digital options than ever before to engage with their customers, but the overuse of digital tactics—such as email and banner ads—has caused digital fatigue with consumers. This is part of what prompted data-privacy regulations: Too many digital tools tapping into customers for PII made consumers aware and angry.
By integrating direct mail with digital capabilities, brands can help assure consumer digital privacy is maintained.
So, marketers are revisiting traditional physical tactics, such as direct mail, but now tying them into the digital ecosystem. By integrating direct mail with digital capabilities, brands can help assure consumer digital privacy is maintained.
According to the PFL-Forrester study: “Direct mail works best when applied as one part of an organizations’ overall marketing strategy, complementing and amplifying other digital and human touchpoints in the buyer journey.”
- 80 percent recognize that the pandemic has increased their reliance on digital touchpoints,
- 76 percent agree that engagement with digital tactics is dropping,
- 78 percent believe analog touchpoints have seen a performance boost during the same time.
Staying in compliance with established and emerging data-privacy and -security laws is table stakes for any organization that has digital business dealings with consumers globally. But not all organizations are all-in on digital yet, nor do they necessarily have the data-management infrastructure to accomplish it.
As a modern, data-driven analog-digital experience, direct mail can evolve into a more sophisticated, trackable, and measurable marketing tactic that helps marketers deliver buyer experiences on any channel, online or offline, based on that person’s history, preferences, context, and intent.
In the end, staying in compliance with data-privacy regulations isn’t just about meeting requirements, it’s about building trust with customers by providing transparency into an organizations data collection and distribution practices. Adding direct mail to the mix can help do just that.