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5 Digital Marketing Strategies Related to Privacy and Cybersecurity Amid COVID-19

5 Digital Marketing Strategies Related to Privacy and Cybersecurity Amid COVID-19

Raj Sachdev

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A global pandemic creates a world of uncertainty for marketers, but with it comes the opportunity to reassess crucial data privacy policies

Strategic digital marketing among a global privacy and security landscape is already a challenge, yet has been further exacerbated during the global coronavirus pandemic. But it’s now even more crucial for digital marketers to strongly consider the privacy and security of their consumers. This is especially true with the increased digital transformation that organizations are now facing and the trail of data left by consumers. The fact that many consumers are voluntarily or involuntarily quarantined or working from home means that they rely further on the internet for many facets of their lives. This can include greater engagement with digital marketing for their immediate needs.

Amid coronavirus, digital marketing can help to provide real-time or quick access to relevant products and services, as available. At the same time, this can raise many privacy and security concerns. While marketers often consider privacy and security to be at odds with digital marketing, it doesn’t have to be. By considering these five key strategies, marketers can be on their way to a successful balance during crisis situations.

Be Open About Your Privacy and Security Measures

Consumers should know where you stand in terms of privacy and security during a pandemic like this. Don’t be shy about making this public and don’t hide your potential lack of privacy measures and force the consumer to figure it out themselves. Let them know how you handle their data and what the benefits are for providing such data to the organization. Include how you’re securing their data or how your products are secure. This can go a long way in building trust with consumers.

Open a privacy policy nowadays and the first thing you might read is that the organization cares about a consumer’s privacy. Consider if your privacy policy contradicts other statements within it. In a digital marketing context, consider where else consumer data may end up and assess whether security measures are possible. You should also educate consumers on privacy and security considerations outside of your organization’s control as they engage with your digital services and integrated marketing communication during the crisis.


Don’t Overpromise Privacy and Security

Do not overpromise what you deliver. Avoid statements such as “100% secure” or “completely private,” as you are not able to assure this. Trust can easily be lost, especially if consumers are more willing or compelled to provide further data to obtain needed services during a crisis but are then affected by a privacy or security breach.

Ensure That You Deliver Value

Providing value is a key component of all marketing. Organizations may choose to significantly revamp their digital marketing efforts as more consumers work from home. Consider value in relation to privacy and security as you make marketing decisions during these times. For example, if your organization collects heaps of consumer data and uses it to provide products and services, consider what value you are giving back to the consumer for what they’re providing. In a pandemic context, this can potentially amount to a constant stream of data fed into a digital marketing system. Consider how this increases value for consumers and how you can use the data to personalize and provide relevant, timely services. It’s crucial to do this the right way while being sensitive to the times.

Some retailers have set up a digital alert option for consumers to let them know when products will be available or have run out. Others are implementing tactics to digitally reach a consumer looking for something they offer. However, when the pandemic is over, be considerate in relation to the data collected and held. Providing consumers privacy choices about their data may be strategically prudent in these circumstances. For example, should you collect the data for use only during the pandemic? If you don’t need certain data, consider getting rid of it where appropriate, so as to avoid potential security breaches.

Communicate Pandemic-Related Messaging Based on Audience

If you’ve redirected your marketing spend due to the coronavirus situation and determine that it’s relevant to your customers, digitally communicate to let them know what benefits this could afford them. If you’re offering new relevant products and services that consumers do not know about but might need, offer these through your digital channels. If organic traffic and conversions are down, consider alternative digital marketing techniques.

Consequently, email isn’t the only effective way to reach consumers. As you consider your digital strategy, and to protect consumers’ privacy, avoid personalizing all digital marketing content during a crisis. For example, there may be a variety of products and services that consumers may not feel comfortable about having tracked. Personalized messaging should be avoided unless it’s secure or expected.

Consider local need during the pandemic and where you might fit in to help or provide a valued product or service. Ensure you are communicating these efforts through local digital channels. This is not a time to use personal data in your possession to take advantage of consumers and their needs. In fact, some marketers are heavily engaged in marketing-related philanthropy and helpful efforts in these crisis times.

Also, if you have enhanced privacy and security in your services, for your products, or for customer data in response to the crisis, communicate this to consumers—it may matter. This can assist in enhancing their trust in your organization, especially due to the further reliance on digital marketing that you may offer. Don’t forget to address privacy and security as you communicate to reassure consumers about the longevity and resilience of your brand and the steps you’re taking during the coronavirus. This can help consumers build confidence in your organization and address their privacy and security concerns.

Consider Whether This Pandemic is a Trigger to Creating a Privacy Culture

Many digital marketers are concerned about the growing regulations on the privacy front and complying with various jurisdictions. However, if a privacy culture is built, this can help with compliance efforts and create an opportunity to be a privacy-conscious digital marketer. Although this is not an alternative to understanding the intricacies of global legal regulation as applicable, consider whether this is a way to enhance your privacy orientation. Proactively considering privacy in a digital marketing context can help form a basis for marketing decision-making for online channels. And, if your organization proactively implements privacy-enhancing strategies, why not tout this as a differentiating factor?

Marketing in a digital context is especially complex amid a global pandemic. It also opens opportunities to reconsider privacy and security related digital marketing strategies. These strategies can help guide and inform your marketing decisions with the hope that the pandemic concludes in the shortest of order.

Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay.

Dr. Raj Sachdev is an academic, speaker, researcher, digital marketer, lawyer and privacy and security professional. A graduate of Oxford University and former visiting researcher at UC Berkeley and instructor at Stanford University, he serves as assistant professor of marketing at Columbia College.