"We need to make privacy transparent and simple to understand"

Integrating data effectively and in a privacy-safe way formed part of a panel discussion at Performance Marketing World’s Insight Series. Here are the key takeaways…


“It will be challenging but I see a world where we can marry the two,” says Meta’s director of product marketing, Sherrie Donecker. The incoming privacy challenges over the next year will certainly pose plenty of questions, but Donecker believes that working collaboratively within the industry is key. “People value personalisation. We need to figure out how privatisation and personalisation can link together in this next era.”

Performance marketers also have their work cut out as focus turns to integrating data safely as global privacy changes loom. And there is plenty of work to do, according to panellist. That's almost a polite way of saying… we aren’t quite ready.

The long and short of it

Integrating data is certainly one of the pivotal challenges Seb Bardin faces in his role as Unilever’s head of ecommerce marketing. Bardin highlighted privacy as a “human right”: “What we’ve seen in the past is a media team and then a retail team that is more on the commercial side. If you visit a website you are bombarded by stage and you might not convert.

"It’s not looking at data from a short-term approach but more a long-term one, where you can look towards the customisation and personalisation stage.”

Changes to the privacy data landscape are already becoming visible across the marketing sphere in terms of integration. For Asabe Yabani, a product owner of marketing analytics at Made.com, it is ultimately about trying to communicate with customers with all of these touch points: “All points where you can potentially capture consent.

“We are trying to make sure we are consolidating these inputs and propagating them to the right systems; that we are doing this properly and aligning to privacy rules and regulations.”

Circle back virtuously

As Boots UK’s Advantage Card gets set for its 25th anniversary next year, Pete Markey, the chemist's CMO, said that data rule changes have only driven focus towards strengthening existing relationships with consumers: “It’s how we enrich what we already know about our consumers’ lives so we can serve them better. It’s something you have to keep nurturing. These things can wither and lose value. You need to keep adding value and that value creates data. It’s a positive, virtuous circle.”

Through its own Boots Media Group, Markey admits the biggest asset now is being able to take suppliers' products to market through its activity and data. So how do we get close to the new innovations coming into the business? Keep tuned in and pick the things that are relevant and matter. "There are great tools you can now use to connect securely to use your first-party data to reach the right audience.”

Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration

“As we look ahead, we have seen regulation lead the way and that will expand,” explained Donecker. How do we navigate this? It’s about transparency. And the main driver long term will be collaboration. "We at Meta can’t do this alone. We need to think across the internet browser operating system and how we use these complicated technologies.”

Meanwhile, across Meta’s Facebook and Instagram properties, it has developed different areas of consent – such as why ads are being seen, or building ad preferences – and how data is used. Over time, said Donecker, we need to simplify the tools for data. “We have multiple opt in, opt out experiences and the journey ahead should be simple to understand.”

With the increasing value of first-party data, which requires a certain amount of customer consent, it is how we communicate a better value exchange with the different ways of engaging with consent. “Privacy is about simplicity,” said Bardin. “It's how we can make it transparent but also understandable for consumers.”

This is the same for any brand not just Boots UK, added Markey. “Being able to communicate the value that customer will get if they want to have that deep relationship with us is more important than ever,” he said.