Marketing has long relied on insights into target demographics for success. Lead generation is the process of identifying and cultivating those potential customers.
It’s a critical aspect of business growth and revenue generation, but some companies have been known to use less-than-scrupulous methods to achieve those insights. (In fact, 29% of companies admitted to using unethical data-gathering practices in 2021.)
But now it seems the days of cavalier (and sometimes unruly) data collection are drawing to a close – as more countries and states enact and improve data privacy laws.
While most people can agree this is a positive change, it has left many companies faced with some difficult questions:
How can we ensure we’re doing the right thing? Will we begin losing massive amounts of leads? Can our company’s marketing methods possibly withstand this change?
As a business owner, ensuring that your marketing strategies comply with these ever-evolving regulations can be a daunting task.
Still, the risks are clear: you must ensure your company is collecting, storing, and using customer data in a way that meets legal requirements and customer expectations – or else risk costly fines and reputational damage.
But how can you strike a balance between generating leads and preserving customer privacy?
This is where a Fractional CMO comes in.
A fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is a highly skilled marketing professional who can help your business navigate the complex world of privacy compliance while still ensuring that your lead-generation efforts are effective.
In this article, we will explore the crucial role that a Fractional CMO can play in ensuring compliance and driving lead generation, and how they can help save your business from potential legal and financial risks.
The Rise Of Data Privacy Laws In The U.S. and Worldwide
When marketing went digital, marketers were delighted to find that detailed, down-to-a-science demographics and valuable insights into buying customers’ behavior lay at their fingertips. Before long, it became impossible for anyone to visit websites or use apps without leaving behind a goldmine of personal information.
It was this ready access to any website visitor’s or app user’s location, interests, buying behaviors, political views, health (and more) that inspired companies to begin sharing and selling consumer data – without the consumer’s consent.
But it wasn’t long before consumers – increasingly assailed with unwanted ads and data breach notifications – realized what was up.
How safe WAS their personal data in the hands of corporations and governments? How protected was it from ending up in the hands of bad actors?
It only makes sense why 86% of US consumers have cited data privacy as a growing concern for them. Clearly, it was time to demand more transparency from companies and greater control over their personal information.
As this demand has grown stronger, government officials have sat up, taken notice, and taken action.
In 2018, one of the most significant international data privacy laws – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union – went into effect. Under it, essentially any organization — regardless of where it’s based in the world — that targets or collects data from people within EU member nations must comply.
The GDPR led the way, and today, more than 100 countries worldwide have enacted their own data privacy laws to protect consumer data. (Currently, the United States is not on that list. The American Data and Privacy Protection Act (ADPPA) reached a full stop in the U.S. House of Representatives.)
With a lack of nationwide legislation, states have begun crafting their own data privacy legislation. In 2018, California took charge with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and there are now four more states preparing to enact privacy laws in 2023.
Today, there are so many privacy regulations that businesses must comply with, depending on their location and the nature of their business, that ensuring compliance can seem like a daunting task.
The Written And (Unwritten) Risks of Non-Compliance
The most obvious risk of non-compliance with privacy regulations is significant fines and legal action.
For example, the GDPR allows for fines of up to 4% of a company’s global revenue or €20 million, whichever is greater.
The CCPA allows for fines of up to $7,500 per violation.
But in addition to financial penalties and legal action, non-compliance can also result in something far more devastating.
In 2018, an IBM survey found that 75 percent of US consumers claimed they will not buy a product from you – no matter how great it is – if they can’t trust you with their data.
Knowledge of this statistic makes the costs exceedingly clear. While no one wants to face legal action, there is a far greater risk that comes from failing to comply with privacy regulations.
Non-compliance can create a loss of trust and damage your credibility with the people who matter most – your customers.
The Good News: Data Privacy Done Right Can Actually Mean More And Better Leads
Privacy regulations don’t have to be the detriment many see it to be. While the costs of non-compliance are clear, privacy regulation also introduces fresh opportunities for business growth.
Because, when it comes to consumer data, the name of the game is consent.
Customers want to know what they’re signing up for and who they’re signing up with. Unsurprisingly, customer consent has been shown to result in higher levels of customer satisfaction.
Take Apple’s iOS 15 privacy update in 2021 for example. This update allowed users to control and monitor the way their apps used their data for the first time and its reception was incredibly good.
Best of all, it’s this need for consent that presents marketers with exactly the information they’ve been seeking all along – what the customer wants.
Consent gives marketers a natural space for customers to let companies know exactly what they want from the relationship, from the services they want to hear more about all the way to their preferred means of communication.
Data provided by a customer or lead who genuinely wants to give it will be of much more value to your company than information obtained via shady methods.
As a result, leads generated shift from quantity to quality – and consumers and companies alike can benefit from such a shift.
The Role A Fractional CMO Plays In Privacy Compliance And Lead Generation
As contract-based marketing executives, fractional CMOs bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the businesses with which they engage.
Since their job involves helping organizations to develop and execute effective marketing strategies, they must stay “in the know” about data privacy legislation and take regular steps to respond to changes in legislation.
A fractional CMO can help:
- Implement policies and procedures for handling personal information that comply with relevant regulations.
- Develop effective lead generation strategies, like opt-in forms that clearly explain how personal information will be used.
- Craft lead nurturing campaigns that provide value to customers while respecting their privacy
- Use data analytics to identify and target potential customers via inbound marketing.
- Stay up-to-date with privacy regulations and ensure that businesses are complying with any changes or updates.
- Navigate the complex world of privacy compliance – while also ensuring effective lead generation – as it evolves.
Where To Begin: 3 Ways To Start Making Your Lead Generation Activities Privacy-Compliant
There are several strategies that businesses can use to balance lead generation and privacy compliance:
1. Provide clear and concise privacy policies.
Privacy policies, crafted in an easily accessible style, should explain how their personal information will be collected, used, and shared.
2. Use opt-in forms.
Let them know your data collection is on the up and up. Allow customers to easily opt out with a terms and conditions pop-up. This ensures: 1) they’re providing their information voluntarily, and 2) you gain their trust.
3. Provide value to customers.
Lead nurturing campaigns that provide relevant and useful information build customer trust and ensure your business is complying with regulations.
Feeling overwhelmed? We’re here to help.
While privacy compliance and lead generation may feel at odds with one another, you don’t have to sacrifice one for the sake of the other.
Our fractional CMOs are uniquely equipped to help you balance these two needs. And we’re here to help.
Our Fractional CMOs will provide you with strategic marketing guidance that ensures compliance with privacy regulations and maintains customer trust – while also driving effective lead generation and business growth.
Because, at yorCMO, we’re on your team.
By partnering on the C-Suite, our marketing experts fully engage with your company, aligning your marketing strategy with the right tactics and giving you clarity for continued, predictable growth.
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