The late Andrew Grove once wrote a book called Only the Paranoid Survive. It’s not surprising that he saw the importance of privacy management long before the EU enacted GDPR in 2016.
I began my career in the CRM industry. CRM systems help in driving customer relationships. A world run by organizations with accessible data warranted an effort to build contact databases back in the 1990s. The goal for any business was to gather as much data as possible from contacts so they became leads. The next step involved lead conversion, a process in which a lead record is converted into accounts, contacts & opportunities. This happens when a lead is identified as a qualified sales prospect.
The focus in the business world is aggregating leads interested in specific products or services. Ultimately, leads became customers associated with active accounts. An overall purchase funnel concept is used in marketing to guide campaigns targeting different stages of the customer journey. So much of the business world is still driven by the purchase funnel concept even with the onset of social media and e-commerce.
A happy customer could be validated by surveys such as NPS or CSAT. Achieving desired outcomes resulted in customer success. My customer success journey was geared toward the specific needs of startups. Customer success has become the mantra for the CRM industry. Firms that offer great products and services continue to spend huge efforts to build sophisticated marketing databases and satisfy customers across all channels. Omnichannel is a term that grew from the earliest days of CRM as businesses cultivated strong relationships across customer touchpoints. It might be through a website, call center, mobile app, retail operation, or conference.
Customer Analytics and Artificial Intelligence
Knowing your customer increased opportunities to grow your business. Steve Jobs, arguably the greatest influencer in the tech industry, became a guru to today’s entrepreneurs. In today’s world, every time you operate a device, your data is fed into databases so that large and small companies can analyze ways to sell you more products and services. Even governments know nearly everything about you with close partnerships among data stewards in the tech industry. Predictive analytics have reduced and often, replaced human-to-human handholding.
Privacy and Data Protection
Thanks to the growth of the CRM industry in the last 30 years, known (government) and unknown (private sector) databases carry nearly everyone’s data mostly without their consent. U.S. Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang suggested that the private sector pay people for using their data. There is certainly a reward for free products and services such as those from Google and Meta. The cost is you submit your profile details and data usage history. The same data gathered by good-faith actors in Big tech can be sold to bad guys at small firms. Case in point, nefarious characters can easily manipulate and gain access to nearly anyone’s contact details which originated from government and private directories. Ninety-nine percent of people are of good faith. Still, one percent of the earth’s population can wreak havoc on the rest by data hacking.
Focus on Data Privacy
In a world where there is almost no data privacy, how can firms and data stewards contribute to the public good? They can protect our data. Our data was opted in by many parties without our consent. Now, we have opportunities to opt out. GDPR was adopted in the EU and impacts any firm doing business there. The California Privacy Rights Act was enacted in 2020. Many other laws have taken effect across the world. I recently learned about the International Association of Privacy Professionals and took a course in privacy program management. This niche area complements my career. I believe that data can be used as a force for good while keeping privacy in mind. There are substantial opportunities to achieve profitable growth while developing stronger privacy frameworks. More guardrails will be rolled out and privacy compliance will be essential for business survival.
I will share more about my foray into this arena.