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Trend: Privacy Policy Revamp: How Google is Paving the Way for Marketers

Google recently announced a change in their privacy policies. The new format will combine existing privacy policies into one, gathering customer data from all of its services including search, Gmail, YouTube, Google+, and Google Docs. Essentially Google is making a move to be more competitive with the likes of Facebook who has been collecting a wider spectrum of data while providing its customers a more personal experience. Having a unified privacy policy that applies to all products will allow for data integration across multiple mediums and will improve the personalization of a user’s experience. So what does this mean for marketers? Overtime customers will become desensitized to such policies as the all inclusive privacy model becomes the norm. Google is leading the way and opening the flood gates for other marketers to revamp their privacy policies as well.

Takeaway: The winners will balance privacy with increased value through personalization.

In order to make this work to your advantage, you will need to reassess your privacy policies and find a balance that customers are comfortable with. Most privacy policies were created between 2001 and 2005 when the public was still sensitive about this subject and therefore are due for a makeover. However, in order for a revamped privacy policy to provide balanced benefits, it must be carefully tailored to fit the behaviors and comfort levels of its customers. You will need to dig into your existing policies and adjust accordingly.

In past postings we have covered data gathering best practices and noted the importance of analysis and segmentation for the purpose of marketing automation. But before any policy changes are made, you will need to choose what additional data you wish to collect. Marketers are by nature greedy, but in order to maximize success, you will need to strike the right balance between data gathering and usage. We know that data gathering is key, but it is even more important to gather the right data and use it in the right way.

How to: It’s still a balancing act

What additional data do you NEED and how will you use it?

You need to decide how you will make use of the new data you will collect and how it will affect your customers’ experience. There is no point in having a wealth of information if it’s not put to good use. This new trend in privacy policies may provide considerable opportunities for you to capitalize on even more specified data and in turn, message personalization. Also, you should keep in mind that, as with any policy change, there may be customer push back. Changes should be slow and deliberate. It may take several tries to find the perfect balance between desired data and customer comfort levels.

Transparency is key!

Any change in policy will be received in a more positive light if customers feel informed and respected. So instead of simply alerting a customer that their privacy settings will change, tell them when, how and why these changes have happened. If a customer knows what their information will be used for, they will be less likely to complain or find issue with the changes you have made.

Keep it legal.

Finally, you should complete an assessment of possible liabilities. Consulting a legal advisor outside of your company’s general council will be best, as privacy policies are typically a specialty. If the goal is to construct a viable new privacy policy to aide in data collection, then a specialized industry expert is needed.

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