Media CoverageSeptember 14, 2021

Navigating Consumer Data Privacy: Four Ways To Provide Relevance, Personalization, and Privacy in the New World

In this guest post in CPO Magazine, mParticle Chief Product Officer Chee Chew breaks down how brands can balance personalization and customer data privacy.


This article was originally published on

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency and growing restrictions on web third-party cookies are part of the global trend protecting consumer privacy, but it is also impacting a marketer’s ability to personalize their communication with customers. This recent ramp-up has been an acceleration that started with GDPR enforcement in 2018, CCPA in 2019, the recent revision of ePrivacy in the EU, and Google’s third-party cookie announcement.

All of this has brought about major changes to the way companies understand customer usage across their apps and websites. Yet a few truths remain unchanged:

  • Marketing and online ads remain critical business functions. They drive business growth for advertisers and subsidize consumer services. They aren’t going away.
  • Consumers prefer ads that are relevant over ads that are irrelevant.
  • Businesses that fail to recognize these things, while respecting the privacy of their customers, put their business at risk.

As of January 2021, there were 145 pieces of legislation governing privacy, globally, up from 132 a year ago, with 23 further bills currently under consideration. With an increase in legislation, the privacy landscape is a moving target for brands. As the restrictions on cross-domain identifiers continue, strategies based on third-party data will become increasingly unworkable. Businesses are diverting precious resources away from improving personalization relevance to maintaining global privacy compliance. These regulations vary from state to state and country to country, with huge penalties in place for companies that don’t handle consumer data properly.

Marketers want relevance. Consumers want relevance. The two shouldn’t be working against each other. In fact, there is a way forward where the common desired outcomes can exist within the safeguards of respecting privacy. Businesses are learning they have more first party data than they realized. It’s more trustworthy, it’s safer, but it’s locked in SaaS silos. Now is the time for brands to put themselves in a strong position to meet both their legislative obligations and the expectations of their customers. Here are key elements for businesses to navigate the evolving world:

  1. Establish consumer data strategies that are transparent, ethical, and responsive to the consumer’s wish.
  2. Install best-in-class customer data infrastructure that simplifies customer data management and enforces company data policies. Make sure the infrastructure you choose has data privacy and security by design.
  3. Integrate the first party data that resides in different service silos across the company to create robust customer profiles.
  4. Use the greater understanding of customers to build long loyal relationships by delivering hyper-personalized experiences that delight.

Businesses would be foolish to bet on decreased regulation. Hope is not a strategy. What better time is there than now to start building the foundation for the future? Brands should focus on creating a unified first-party customer data asset that can be easily integrated into any application used across the business and respects the need for privacy and security. This is a must have in today’s world.

If you’ve undertaken any improvement project (from running a 5K to a home remodel), you know the dread of starting and the delight in finishing. Most times you wished you had done it sooner. Thousands of companies have already started to improve their customer engagement strategies, growing the value from their first party data, and reducing their vulnerability to ever shifting regulatory and industry privacy requirements. Make sure you keep your business in a leadership position and continue providing the best personalized experiences to your customer.

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