Key takeaways

  • For customers to get the experience they want, TMT companies need access to their data. Historically, privacy has not been a primary concern.
  • Consumers who feel they can trust the businesses they interact with are more likely to grant data access in return for superior services.
  • Businesses should proactively develop a privacy approach that suits their own needs and tolerances while also delivering the consumer privacy experience that customers demand.

Today’s consumers want a highly personalised, omnichannel, authentic, engaging experience — all delivered in real time. Technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) companies that are using consumer data to develop and deliver products or services have what it takes to deliver that experience — but to create a compelling experience, it must respect consumer expectations for privacy and compl with fast-changing regulations.

Meeting these needs will not only lead to more proactive and cost-effective compliance, it will enhance companies’ access to ever-more refined data that will create ultra-personalised products, services and experiences to delight their customers. Critically, nurturing trust by providing the privacy experience consumers seek is key to building a brand loyalty and securing future growth.

Privacy fatigue

TMT companies — both B2B and B2C — are encountering ’privacy fatigue’ from concurrently responding to evolving consumer privacy preferences and a raft of regulations across multiple jurisdictions. They are also navigating shifts in industry practices, such as the move toward first-party data. Adapting to this ever-changing environment requires substantial funding, human capital and executive attention — while creating friction with business goals.

Meanwhile, regulations are increasingly requiring companies to give consumers more choice and control over their data. In the wake of COVID-19, TMT products and services have become increasingly essential in the day-to-day lives of people. As more scrutiny follows, even more privacy challenges are likely to arise.

Rather than reacting to each privacy challenge as it emerges, business leaders should proactively determine and create the privacy experience that consumers want, in accordance with the regulatory environment, the needs of the organisation and their own capabilities. The result will help safeguard speed-to-market, enable expansion into new regulatory jurisdictions, reduce compliance costs, and increase confidence in compliance.

For many, this focus on consumer privacy preferences also offers a competitive differentiator. Almost 85 percent of consumers told us they want more control over their own data. And more than 80 percent said that they would willingly share data with a company they trust.

Meanwhile, in line with industry shifts, TMT companies are seeking direct customer relationships to replace third-party data. They are also building new business models based on ultra-customised products, services and experiences — eventually targeting a segment of one. In this context, greater access to data will be critical for business growth.

The consumer privacy experience

The vast majority of consumers we surveyed — 70 percent — told us that the benefits of sharing their data outweigh the risks. And while a scant one-third of consumers said they were willing to share more data for a more personalised experience, the finding reinforces the opportunity for companies to educate consumers about what they will receive in return for sharing their data.

Companies should carefully consider the overall consumer privacy experience that they will offer (or help business customers offer their consumers) in exchange for customer data, then communicate the value of that experience.

Providing the best experience

How then do you provide the optimal consumer experience? To get started, put some thinking towards these four questions:

  • What experience do you want to create for consumers? – Whether your relationship with consumers is director or indirect, start with consumer experience. We know customers want a high level of personalisation, across different channels at the time the exact moment they seek it. The experience should be authentic and engaging. Build on that initial feedback by seeking out the voice of your consumer via surveys, focus groups, co-innovation and A/B testing for privacy controls, data-for-value exchanges and more. New metrics can precisely define how best meet customer preference — matching a company’s capabilities and strategic goals with what consumers want.
  • What data do you have and how are you handling it? – Data crosses boundaries: a single consumer might share data via multiple devices or services or apps with multiple subsidiaries of a single organisation. Companies will need a complete data inventory: one that follows the consumer journey across every digital or physical touchpoint where data is collected. Assess your different data functions, from acquiring, storing, and governing the data, to using and protecting it. Then, identify and close gaps in the data and data governance to provide the optimal experience. Make sure to consider the impact of new internal and external privacy challenges on your access to data, such as regulations.
  • Which privacy stance should you choose? – With consumer preferences front and centre and a holistic view of your data (and accompanying vulnerabilities), it’s time to make a strategic choice. Determine which privacy stance will provide the optimal consumer privacy experience — one that delights customers, supports your data strategies, aligns with your enterprise readiness and provides cost-effective compliance. There are a range of different stances a company can take, from reactive compliance-based approaches and agile privacy platforms, to privacy leading and branded, cutting-edge approaches. 
  • How do you get there? Even basic compliance can be a challenge, with many companies managing as many as 1,000 customer touch points across digital and physical properties. As a foundation, all TMT companies need at least a centralised privacy strategy aligned to consumer personas and journeys, a shared accountability framework across the organisation, a consistent, transparent privacy experience for consumers that includes easy-to-understand ways to consent to share data and continuous monitoring of new compliance requirements. 

Your north star for privacy: Consumers

Within the ever-changing privacy environment, one north star remains constant: consumers. A focus on the experiences they prefer offers the clearest path to keep them coming back. It also prepares your company to meet ever-evolving compliance requirements, including regulations that require companies to offer consumers ever greater control over their data.

For the many TMT companies that depend on ongoing access to consumer data, this approach to privacy offers a competitive edge. If you offer experiences and value that win consumers’ trust by giving them reasons to want to share data, you will safeguard your access to that data. Start gradually: Win trust by offering enhanced experiences and value-for-data programs in limited parts of the business. Assess results before expanding to other parts of the business.

Your company’s optimal privacy posture today may also change tomorrow, especially if customers begin making more purchasing decisions based on privacy. A trusted privacy program will provide the foundation you need to thrive, one in which consumers willingly offer consent to share their data.

For further guidance on the different privacy stances available, along with their attributions and questions to help you choose which works best for your business, visit PwC US’ consumer privacy experience



Toby Spry

Toby is a Cybersecurity, Privacy and Forensics partner at PwC US.

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Phil Regnault

Phil is a principal in PwC US’ CMO Advisory practice, and the Adobe Alliance leader.

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