Should Chief Marketing Officers be involved in security and privacy decisions?

In a report issued today by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the management consulting firm urged Chief Marketing Officers to get more involved in data protection.

"In a lot of organizations, it gets relegated to an IT problem or an IT function," said Carolyn Holcomb, PwC's data protection and privacy leader.

She also recommended that CMOs be brought into the budget and strategic discussions at an earlier point.

"One of the key things that we recommend in this space is a strong data governance program," she said, "A C-level committee that is responsible for making data decisions -- and the CMO and the CSO need to be joined at the hip on that committee."

That includes involving the CMO in discussions about how data is collected, how it's secured, and how the company is complying with laws and regulations.

"What we're seeing is that the CMO is not brought into those conversations, or not brought in early enough," she said.

The CMO has several areas of interests when it comes to data protection, beyond the obvious issue of having to save a company's reputation if there's a data breach.

But the CMO should also be involved in creating and enforcing a data privacy policy, she said.

In this year's US Consumer Confidence Index survey by Harris Interactive and TRUSTe, Inc., 89 percent of respondents said that they avoided doing business with companies who they did not believe protected their privacy online.

Meanwhile, according to the 2014 CMO Survey from McKinsey & Company, Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, and the American Marketing Association, 41 percent of companies use consumer information collected online for targeting purposes, and 81.7 percent of CMOs expect that practice to increase.

CMOs need to be careful so that the increased use of customer information doesn't backfire on the company.

According to the PwC report, that means understanding what privacy promises the company already made to its customers and the laws it needs to comply with, creating a culture of privacy that puts privacy protection on every marketing agenda -- especially those that involve outside vendors.

When it comes to creating new marketing initiatives, privacy should be a requirement from the start, rather than added on at the end.

The report also warned CMOs to be careful about combining different sets of data.

"An organization might collect emails in one place, credit card numbers in another place, shopping preferences in another place," said Holcomb. "And the key is when you aggregate that data, you now create a new privacy concern that previously you didn't have."

Customers might have agreed to the collection of data at each of those separate points, but when the data is aggregated it can be used in different ways than originally intended, or that the customers may have expected.

"It's not that companies can't do that," she said. "They can use that data to their advantage, they can monetize this data -- but it has to be very clear to the customers."

Next, the report suggested that companies make it easier for their customers to see what data is being stored, and give them a way to control how it is being used.

According to a recent PwC survey, 87 percent of customers said they wanted to be able to control the amount of information shared.

The report recommended that CMOs use a company's privacy as part of their marketing efforts, and promote it to customers to demonstrate responsibility.

And the communications need to go both ways -- PwC also recommended that companies create a way for customers to provide feedback about privacy issues, such as whether personalized marketing was helpful or too intrusive.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Does your brand need a personality review?

There are five tell-tale signs your brand needs to take a long hard look at itself.

Charlie Rose

Senior Strategy Consultant, Principals

How to create profitable pricing

How do we price goods and services? As business leaders, we have asked ourselves this question since the history of trading.

Lee Naylor

Managing partner, The Leading Edge

Sport and sponsorship: The value of event sponsorship

Australia’s cricketers captured the nation’s attention during their recent run to the semi-final of the ICC Men’s World Cup. While the tournament ultimately ended in defeat, for over a month it provoked a sense of belonging, hope and empowerment for millions of people across Australia. Cricket, and sport in general, has a near-unique ability to empower individuals, irrelevant of their background, demographic or nationality.

Nikhil Arora

Vice-president and managing director, GoDaddy India

I had the same vision about change from CX terminology to HX. Even with almost the same title: 'Forget customer experience...' https://ww...

Ekaterina Khramkova

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Thank you, so do I.

David Freeman

Sustainability of message: H2coco founder's commitment to consumers

Read more

Hi Harry, thank you for pointing this out I can confidently say both these bottles are in transition away from PET as we continue to impr...

David Freeman

Sustainability of message: H2coco founder's commitment to consumers

Read more

I’m confused. He has a giant 2l hard plastic bottle in Coles and his pink bottle is also in plastic??

Harry

Sustainability of message: H2coco founder's commitment to consumers

Read more

Great message from an Aussie company about sustainable business practices, particularly packaging. Wish more businesses would think more ...

Krisy

Sustainability of message: H2coco founder's commitment to consumers

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in