Privacy vs Personalization – How Marketers Manage the Balance


Delivering personalized experiences to customers has become increasingly difficult leaving marketers frustrated at every turn. And it’s little wonder, with consumers more protective of their data, greater scrutiny by regulators, evolving and inconsistent privacy regulations, and changes by technology companies like Google and Apple.

Although consumers have become cautious about sharing their data, research shows they crave more personalized messages. For example:

  • 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them.
  • 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences.
  • 90% of U.S. consumers find marketing personalization very or somewhat appealing.
  • 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging.

But marketers are struggling to keep up with this changing privacy landscape to continue providing customers with the quality of experience they have come to know and enjoy. It’s like walking through a maze, not knowing which route will get them to their destination.

Getting guidance and accurate information to help find the best path is a challenge as well since none of the partners or providers seem to have the answers either.

The risks of taking the wrong path are a concern too. If marketers lose the ability to personalize, they could cost their companies in terms of sales, brand image, and engagement, for example. It’s like being caught between a rock and hard place!

Where can marketers turn to get answers and a roadmap?

To learn more about how marketers are handling this balancing act we assembled a group of marketing executives to hear what they need and are experiencing as they navigate this digital disruption. Here’s what they had to say.

Marketers recognize the importance of personalization

There’s no doubt that it’s essential to brand success that marketers need to continue leveraging personalization to drive customer engagement and sales while remaining compliant with evolving regulations.

Janice Dru-Bennett expressed how important this is by saying, “Maintaining compliance and privacy will demonstrate to our customers we value their info and help with building trusted, synergistic relationships. Those who comply will get ahead of the curve, and those who don’t will be the ones who face friction, unable to keep up with the personalization trend.”

Consumer expectations are clear

Marketing executives know that consumers feel conflicted too. Although they have become more protective of their data, they crave personalized marketing messages and experiences.

Aileen Cahill explained consumers’ expectations and understanding that it’s a win-win when they share their data safely, by saying, “It’s called “Fair Exchange of Value.” Tell me something about yourself and then the company uses that information to actually serve them better, adding value. In essence, the foundation of a mutually beneficial relationship, not blast marketing.”

Inconsistent regulations increase complexity

With increasingly inconsistent data privacy regulations across the US and around the globe, remaining compliant while attaining a reasonable ROI is becoming nearly impossible.

As Aileen Cahill explained, “With GDPR taking the lead and CA following with CCPA I believe we have a framework to drive an open discussion, but we need a unified approach in the US. IMHO creating a patchwork of state-by-state regulations will be unwieldy and make compliance and performance marketing ROI ever more elusive.”

The challenges and needing partners

Balancing the ever-shifting landscape of compliance while efficiently implementing marketing tactics has become nearly impossible. Marketers need agencies or vendor partners they can rely on to ensure they remain compliant while continuing to provide customers with a desirable level of personalization. This will enable them to sanely accomplish these tasks while lowering risks and driving results.

Jason Grizzi expressed this by saying, “The complexity of personalization and programmatic media has increased exponentially making it difficult to execute marketing tactics on our own. We need specialized agencies or those with clean customer contacts to execute on our behalf and this raises our cost and limits what we can execute.”

It’s time to manage the balance. Get in touch with us today

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