Finding harmony: How marketing, security and privacy can co-exist

Marketing teams can sometimes be at logger heads with security and privacy. While marketing is driven by data, security and privacy consider big volumes of data to be a potential risk to both businesses and individuals, especially because of the risk of leaks.

Many marketers view data privacy practices that limit their access to data as a potential inhibitor of their effectiveness. In reality, appropriate privacy practices can greatly support effective and robust marketing, delivering measurable impacts on organisations’ bottom lines.

The idea that increased privacy protection can stifle security and targeting needs re-evaluation. This starts with greater collaboration between marketing, security, and privacy teams at every touchpoint, so everyone benefits in the grand scheme of things.

For security and privacy teams, dialogue with marketing teams can happen in three areas.

Understanding the audience

Marketers can fall into two general camps — those who are so heavily fixated on results they are blind to the bad data privacy practices that could undo all their hard work, and the ‘data conscious’ who fully understand the impact data quality has on their programs.

Effective communication with these two audiences differs greatly.

‘Data conscious’ marketers spend a lot of time fixing inaccurate data. Most aren’t privacy experts, and security and privacy leaders can add value through regular meetings and brainstorming sessions. This will foster collaboration, with mutually beneficial outcomes.

After all, data conscious marketers want to solve their data issues accurately and efficiently.

For goals-focused marketers who disregard data importance, security and privacy leaders can acknowledges challenges, which may include lack of recourses and ambitious objectives.

Communication means education around the very real risks and costs associated with potential privacy breaches. If data issues are not addressed, it creates even greater resourcing issues and barriers to achieving marketing goals in the longer term.

Understanding the ethics

Most agree there is no place for unethical behaviour around how data is sourced and used, yet organisations around the world carry out such practices – consciously or unconsciously – even knowing the irreparable brand damage this can cause.

Partnering with marketing to land on core values around ethical data practices, and championing them, is not only the moral approach – it’s a good commercial one too.

Good marketing practices not only help organisations or companies stand out, but they also establish meaningful customer and stakeholder relationships at different stages.

Understanding the data

To remediate bad data, first you need to understand it.

Unfortunately, a plethora of customer relationship management (CRM) systems, as well as CDPs and DXPs, have actually complicated the data management situation.

Over time organisations may have used add-ons and plug-ins to achieve specific functionality, meaning the data potentially passes through many different hands and formats.

In some cases, marketers bypass their CRMs altogether, putting it in the ‘too hard’ basket and using Excel spreadsheets instead. Data mapping is crucial for marketers to understand the state their data is currently in, and needs to be in.

Data mapping is also a key requirement of many new privacy laws, so better understanding assists both marketers, and their security and privacy teams in meeting legal requirements.

Gone are the days of marketing, security and privacy operating in silos. Collaboration between these business units reduces the risk of issues and crises, saves time, and delivers a measurable positive impact on organisations’ bottom lines.


Guy Hanson is the Vice President Customer Engagement at Validity Inc.