This post is part of our Think 2020 series, in which we explore the mindsets, behaviors and emerging solutions shaping marketing and communications in the year ahead.

It’s been hard to escape the headlines about user privacy during the past several months.

Last March, Apple went all-in with its “Privacy. That’s iPhone.” campaign.

Throughout 2019, major internet browsers – led by Safari and Firefox – made myriad enhancements to their tracking protections.

In October, Nevada became the first state in the country to launch consumer privacy legislation on behalf of its residents. On Jan. 1, the much-discussed California Consumer Privacy Act followed suit.

And it doesn’t stop there. In fact, 27 states – plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico – are in various stages of exploring some form of their own privacy laws.

As we enter 2020, privacy-related changes are everywhere. And while it remains to be seen how many users will adopt new smartphone and browser tracking / privacy controls, marketers are already experiencing a big shift in media targeting, retargeting and personalization.

How Consumers Think About Privacy

97% of consumers worry about protecting their data
43% of consumers would provide detailed personal data for a discount
32% would share it in return for exclusive benefits or perks

According to a report from Telium, a consumer data platform

What’s Next

Expect to see the conversation about user privacy and data rights go mainstream in 2020.

Until the federal government passes nationwide privacy legislation, marketers will be required to keep close tabs on individual states’ laws and tailor their collection, usage and disclosure of user data accordingly. Action items will vary from brand to brand depending on the size and location of a company, the location of its primary audience(s) and the nature of the data collected and used.

But ensuring data privacy compliance is only half the story. Marketers’ ability to target, retarget and personalize messaging on publisher platforms and even owned channels will continue to shrink. That means brands that don’t already have robust first-party databases – that is, a healthy rolodex of current or prospective customers who’ve opted into communications because doing so delivers something of value – should make building one a top priority in the year ahead.

Think 2020

Time for a privacy checkup for your brand? Here are three ideas for where to start:

Privacy Policy & Disclosures

If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your website’s privacy policy or cookie disclosures, now’s a good time to take a look.

Both should clearly communicate what user data you collect and how you use it across your various marketing channels, including your website, social media, e-news campaigns, digital media, etc. If you do significant business in California, you’ll also need to allow California residents to request, see and delete their data.

Email Campaigns

Know one of the best ways to future-proof your marketing strategy? Start taking small steps to minimize your dependence on publishers, social media giants and other third-party platforms to reach your target audience.

Platforms may fall and cookies may crumble, so to speak, but a robust database of highly qualified leads provides limitless opportunity to reach and target your most important audiences with messaging that resonates, adds value and ultimately drives your bottom line.

Declared Data

It’s one thing to have an email list. It’s another to have a detailed picture of your audience’s interests and preferences provided by your users themselves.

Think about how interactive micro-experiences that educate or entertain can deepen your brand’s relationship with its customers long-term, allowing you to deliver highly relevant content, offers and other conversion-driving messaging.

Let’s Connect

We can’t predict the future – but we can say with certainty great ideas are fueled by curiosity and collaboration. If you’re looking for a partner to tackle this decade’s business challenges with relentless creativity, we’d love to hear from you.