Why Data Transparency and Consent Unlocks Growth

May 14, 2021

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Transparency is the future of lead generation, it is the basis for the way the industry is changing and will continue to evolve. The most successful companies of tomorrow will be the ones who embrace absolute transparency today. But don’t just take our word for it…

This week we spoke to J Cromack from MyLife Digital and Data Guard to try and explain why data transparency and consent unlocks growth. Below are some extracts taken from this amazing conversation with a man who is passionate about the protection of consumer’s data and has a strong vision of what the future of digital marketing will look like.

It’s up to you whether you embrace it or pull away from it, but whatever you do, don’t ignore it. Total transparency is on its way.

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The issues around data transparency and consent are really becoming prominent at the moment, right?

J Cromack: Yeah. When we set out in 2014/15, it wasn’t really “the thing” and people didn’t really think about it. But actually, there was a white paper released by the World Economic Forum around the same time which was effectively looking at personal data through a new lens, and it was really trying to speak to three core pillars around how organisations are looking at personal data going forwards: Transparency, Empowerment and Accountability.

If you look at those three things, they’ve been very much picked up within 3 years of GDPR. You now have to be completely transparent, you’ve got to inform the individual, and I think GDPR has obviously helped because organisations are starting to really understand that it is more important than just tick boxes when it comes to getting consent.

What you’re seeing with Apple, they are using Privacy as a differentiator. You’re staring to see lots of organisations recognise that Privacy needs to be like the new Fair Trade Coffee. Consumers will start buying products based around how the organisation looks after their Privacy.

I think this is really important because people are really starting to understand that their data has a value. It can be used for good and it can be used for harm, and they want to make sure that they are working with reputable organisations.

In actionable terms, what can companies start doing to protect and value a consumer’s data?

I’ll give you an example. Pre-GDPR we all got bombarded with those emails asking us to consent into marketing, didn’t we? It was an absolute nightmare, but there was a reason for that, because there was a lot of this “implied consent” going on pre-GDPR, and obviously when everything came into force what it meant was, your consent around using data had to be of quite a high grade. You needed to be able to determine where you collected the consent, what information you provided to the data subject, time-stamping it, all of those things.

A lot or organisations didn’t have that. So, when we talk about the value of data, we were speaking to one prospect who on the 24th May, 2018, had the ability of contacting - via email - 1.8 million prospects, then on the 25th May, 2018, they could only contact 18,000.

So there was one area, more around the trust in data, because as well as the individual having to trust you, if you’re a marketeer and you can’t trust your data - because of the Providence, or why you collected it in the first place etc - you also lose all of the value of the data, and a lot of organisations found themselves in that position where they had to eradicate a higher percentage of their data base.

Another area, which we found with the regulation, was organisations really did have to start understanding the data they did hold on people. What purposes they were using it for. And then once they did that they could see where they had the right permissions in place to use the data, and once they had that mapped out and understood what they could and couldn’t do with data, they could start to put in place strategies to capture the right consent.

What’s the difference between consent and intent and why is transparency so important to this?

This is why we talk about the fact transparency drives the value, because you get much better quality data coming off the back of it. There are certain lead gen sites that may be acting in a way that is “legal” but the accountability of buying that data falls on the organisation as well. It falls on them (the organisation) to validate the consent that has been received by a third party.

I think it’s a challenge for the organisations to demonstrate validity. I know your guys product (Databowl) has great lead providence and kind of receipting if you like around the consent of leads being generated, so when you do pass it on to a third party or a client, you know you’ve got a proper valid consent on their behalf.

But so many companies deliver what I call the minimum viable product around consent, and not really understood what consent is, because they haven’t really taken a human centric approach… they take what you guys refer to as a sales centric approach. You know, “Just give me as much bloody data as I can get and I’m just gonna bombard the crap out of them.”

Whereas informed consent that is transparent, delivers far better value.

Want more? Be sure to check out the entire podcast on Apple, Spotify, or watch the video over on Databowl’s YouTube Channel.

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