address privacy as a priority

33 million D&B corporate contact data shared on the net

This is the nineteenth of 20 daily ‘thoughts’ examining the trends in marketing in 2018 and beyond.Previous thoughts have addressed the importance of personalisation and customisation in marketing and the role data plays in facilitating personalisation and customisation. In marketing, ‘data’ is currency and like all currency, it needs to be protected.

Failing to protect data can lead to prosecution and public relations nightmares. Breaches of privacy can cost a business in fines, lost productivity, lost customers and, ultimately, lost revenue.

Many very large businesses have had their data compromised. Consider some examples from 2017:

  • Dun and Bradstreet – data relating to 33 million contacts ‘shared across the net’
  • IHG (Crown Plaza etc) – reported data breaches affecting 12 of its properties
  • Yahoo – reported that 1 billion of its user accounts may have been breached
  • UBER – reported on breaches affecting the data of 57 million users

These are just 4 of the thousands of breaches impacting on businesses and in some cases there were multiple breaches for these businesses in 2017 alone. In all cases, the impact of these breaches was significant.

So, what are you doing to protect the ever-increasing amount of data you are collecting from and about your customers? What protections do you have in place? Do you have a documented privacy policy and an equally well documented data breach policy and data breach procedures as part of your overall crisis management plan?

With the growth in personalisation and customisation, there is also a growing trend towards businesses developing policies, strategies, and processes for protecting customer data and responding optimally in the event of a breach. There is a growing understanding of the legal and PR implications of not having such policies, strategies, and processes.

It is not good enough to think – ‘it will not happen to me’.

I am by no means an expert on this subject, but it became clear in my reading on trends in marketing in 2018, that addressing privacy and the potential for data breaches is a significant trend. It seems to be an area in which we all need more knowledge.


Develop and document effective privacy policies, strategies and procedures.
Develop and document, as part of the overall crisis management strategy, data breach policies, strategies and procedures.

Mitigate against the potential legal and financial fallout from data breaches.


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