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No more smoke and mirrors: why data transparency benefits your customers – and you

We’ve established that data is good news for your business, but it can bring its own set of challenges. With recent high-profile data breaches, customers are understandably more on edge. As B2B brands start to recognise the benefits of data-driven marketing, transparency has become crucial to ensuring both the company and its customers remain happy.

Shining a light on data

The value of data should not be underestimated. Used correctly, data can help improve a customer’s experience; a vital tool in every b2b marketer’s toolbox. But as we have more access to data, how can we ensure we continue to protect customers’ privacy? The practice of brands using customers’ personal details without their knowledge or consent, as well as the buying and selling of data between third parties, has become commonplace over the years – seemingly without any consequences.

But this all changed recently. Anyone with an email address will have found it difficult to miss the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018, with the wave of marketing emails asking consumers to accept their updated terms and conditions. And it’s not just the legislation. High-profile films like 2019’s The Great Hack have helped bring the use of data under the spotlight – with customers becoming increasingly wary. Events such as the Cambridge Analytica data leak have provided B2B marketers with a much-needed incentive to make changes to their data transparency and help distil any fear and confusion.

Navigating a tricky landscape

Dealing with data can be a minefield, in all respects. For brands, knowing what’s useful, how to source it accurately, and how to use it compliantly can feel like hard work. Customers, rather than brand owners, have driven data transparency – but it is up to B2B marketers to adapt accordingly. Privacy legislation is continually evolving; meaning the issue of compliancy is also an ongoing journey.

But don’t let this extra effort put you off. Data transparency can be just as valuable to you as it is to your customers. In fact, being transparent about your data collection and usage can help build trust in your relationships. Customers appreciate authenticity, and being transparent about your data practices increases loyalty and wins their respect.

Data transparency can be mutually beneficial. With these new practices in place, B2B marketers are forced to organise their data so it’s relevant, streamlined and easy to understand. This is a crucial step in developing achievable data-driven strategies – helping you to effectively target customers. Remember, the more accurate the data, the easier it is to reach the right people.

More than just ticking a box

It’s easy to simply comply with data legislation and then forget about it. But don’t obscure your data dealings or hide behind the walls of your Privacy Policy. There are plenty of interesting ways to use data and shout about them. Try inspiring your customers with the insights you can draw from the data and how it can affect them. If people can see the value they are getting from sharing their data, they will be more willing to do this again.

B2B marketers should not be scared about the increasingly stringent legislation on data privacy and customers’ growing concerns. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to build loyalty and trust – and ultimately engage the right people at the right time with a thoughtful, targeted campaign.

Data transparency is the only way forward in today’s B2B marketing industry. Read our latest guide for marketers on creating effective data-driven campaigns in the latest copy of The Knowledge.

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