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Merkle Data Type Driving Personalization May2020With Europe’s GDPR and California’s CCPA being in place for some time, marketers are able to take stock of the impact. Fortunately, some two-thirds (67%) of marketers see recent privacy regulations as positively impacting marketing, while 9 in 10 (92%) are confident in their ability to comply with new privacy regulations. The figures, published in a recent report [download page] by Merkle, also show that marketers have been changing their approaches in the new environment.

Given the importance of consent, obtaining first-party data offers the potential to track and manage its collection directly without needing to audit the practices of third-parties. As a result, just over half (54%) of marketers say they have been more aggressive in their acquisition of first-party data.

The use of data allows marketers to make the experience for their customers more relevant. In this regard, a greater percentage of companies (37%) say that first-party data is driving more of their personalization compared to third-party data alone (21%). However, given the benefits associated with enriching customer data, the largest share (41%) state that they use first-party and third-party data equally when it comes to driving their personalization efforts.

Staying on Top of Data Compliance Takes Work

Even though a large share of marketers are confident in their ability to comply with regulations, that doesn’t mean that they’ve been laissez-faire in their efforts.

Many appear to have turned to external experts to help in this regard. Some 7 in 10 enlisted their marketing service provider to help comply with regulations, while around half turned to external legal support (53%) or a consultancy (46%).

Making sure that compliance is ongoing is also a cause for concern, as 40% said that the most concerning regulation component was keeping an accurate inventory of customer data. Given that consumers have been exercising their rights under CCPA, close to 1 in 5 cited either the need to return data to customers in a readable format (10%) or quickly erasing customer data when requested (8%) as their top concern.

Digital channels tend to be the ones experiencing the most significant impact, per the report. Respondents said that email and digital media are the channels most affected by privacy regulations, whereas traditional channels such as Point of Sale (POS) and direct mail were seen as the least affected.

As Changes Occur, Agile Marketing Increases in Adoption

For many years, threats and opportunities emerging from change have led companies to explore new ways of working – often under the banner of digital transformation. Another term and approach that has seen increasing adoption is agile marketing.

While a previous study by AgileSherpas and Aprimo found that two-fifths (42%) of marketers were using at least some aspects of an agile marketing approach, more than twice the percentage (88%) of Merkle’s survey respondents said they had adopted an agile approach. With the caveat that the samples are likely to be quite different, as Merkle’s respondents work exclusively for major brands, this does suggest that an agile approach may be seen as an answer to dealing with a continually shifting marketing landscape – particularly given the changes in marketing as a result of coronavirus.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Figures are based on a February 2020 survey of 400 marketers at major UK and US brands across a variety of industries.

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