Some of the UK’s most illustrious marketers give their views on the value of personalisation and how brands can balance it with a privacy-first approach
30 September 2022
As scrutiny around online security grows, it’s little surprise that privacy and personalisation are top of mind for brands. However, a common misconception is that, in order for brands and businesses to provide the latter, the former has to be compromised.
However, this isn't the case. In partnership with the Marketing Society, Meta spoke to five industry leaders on privacy and personalisation within advertising. “The two aren’t incompatible,” explained Russell Pert, industry head, financial services at Meta. “People can see content that’s more relevant and meaningful to them, and businesses can reach the people who are more likely to take the actions they care about, without compromising people's privacy.”
Rather than being at odds with one another, industry leaders shared the belief that privacy and personalisation can co-exist – so long as marketers employ technologies that evolve alongside consumers’ shifting expectations. Put simply, empowering consumers with insights into how their data is used allows them to connect meaningfully with brands and businesses – without sacrifice.
Sponsored by Meta
By Albert Abello Lozano, head of automation, Treatwell
Can privacy and personalisation co-exist?
How do you fulfil people’s desire for personalisation at the same time as respecting an increased demand for privacy online?
Where do the risks and opportunities lie in this new marketing environment?
Click here to download 'Leading the Personalisation Conversation', a new report from Meta and The Marketing Society. Find out more about Personalised Ads here.
Michael Inpong, co-founder, Sport&Brands: I believe there are three principles here. First, brands need to respect the guidelines in a legal framework. Second, personalisation can delight customers and make their experience better, engineering a positive customer journey, which is the heart of everything. Third, empowering customers to be in control of their privacy when and how they want it.
Roisin Donnelly, non-executive director, HomeServe and former brand director, Northern Europe, Procter & Gamble: At P&G we were hugely excited by personalisation. For example, Pampers' customers were only with us for two years, so being able to personalise ads for the parents and knowing the age of the baby was exciting from an advertiser’s point of view. Plus, people only want to see ads that are relevant to them. So, I think there's a huge appetite and demand from the consumer, but we have to navigate carefully because it needs to be permission-based.
Becky Brock, executive commercial and customer director, Costa Coffee: I'm a big proponent of personalisation online because it's a way for people to create connections with relevant information. There is a real value exchange, but it needs to be transparent.
Mark Evans: If you don't have enough first-party data you are at a massive disadvantage. It's now a race to have first-party data advantage because, without it, everything else is rearguard action.
Roisin Donnelly: Everybody's investing more in first-party data. And that's a great opportunity because, if you own the data, it's your data and they’re your customers. I think the biggest risk is talent. There just aren't enough data people who truly understand the power of data.
Sabah Naqushbandi: Our aspiration is to focus on better collection and activation of first-party data, integrating CRM data and first-party data into our partner ecosystems. The big thing about first-party data is that it returns to the importance of investing in brand and brand building.
Mark Evans: I think there's some shared responsibility here. I think there's a role for regulation, but it needs to be considered in a more strategic way. It's the long tail where most of the dodgy stuff is, rather than big brands who wouldn't risk their reputation in that way.
Becky Brock: Legislation has to be consistent. It has to be done in a simple way that consumers can understand and then you're building trust rather than creating legislation for legislation's sake. In an ideal world, there would be a self-governing, independent industry body.
Where does responsibility for governance lie?
Roisin Donnelly: We need to really understand what the customer wants. What does the customer need? Who is the customer? What do we need to do to make it easier for the customer? I hope we can educate them better – we must be absolutely customer-obsessed in everything we do.
Michael Inpong: The number one rule for personalisation is delighting the customer. And part of delighting them is answering their desire for privacy. ■
What do brands need to consider to ensure privacy and personalisation can exist in harmony?
Mark Evans, managing director for marketing and digital, Direct Line Group: I don't think many customers understand the value exchange of the free internet. And if they do I don't think they care.
Roisin Donnelly: People generally don't understand that advertising funds the free internet as we know it, because the internet has always been free. So it's a big challenge to go back and tell them, ”Actually, it is quid pro quo and somebody is funding it.” It's going to be a big challenge to get people to truly understand the value exchange.
Sabah Naqushbandi, global marketing director, Mr Porter: I challenge whether people need to understand the value exchange. Personalised ads do fund the free internet, but do people want to hear that?
[Consumers] want to feel that they can have the internet and their privacy. And if they give their data, it should be enhancing their experience and it should be on their terms. People need to understand and be given a choice about what's been done with their data. So, it's about transparency, but it's also about explaining the value add and the service. People love the way brands like Spotify and Starbucks use personalisation, because the fact that they know you is not seen as invasive, but as a way to provide a service.
How do you communicate the value exchange of the free internet to consumers?