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Siobhan Solberg

How a marketing team found growth by embracing privacy

A story on how a marketing team turned it all around by focusing on privacy (of all things).

Marketing was hitting a dead end. Not making ends meet and failing to hit their quarterly KPIs.

The ROI on ads was dropping to the point where it wasn't sustainable.

On-site conversions were stagnant no matter how much they were optimising.

Up-sells were non-existent.

And nothing the team did was helping.

They had it all. The data. The analytics. The mailing list.

And then the legal team started butting in.

What fun.

"You can’t send those emails - they are considered marketing emails."

"You can’t track that user - they did not consent,"

It was shit, at best.

Then on top of that, legal wanted to bring in a consultant (me!) to help marketing “understand privacy”.

Needless to say, I was not well received.

And why would I be? They didn’t know me. They thought of me as just another privacy fanatic. Or, even worse, a lawyer.

It took getting to know each other.

Time to realise that I used do doe the same exact job they did. That I understood them and their hesitancies when it came to all that regulation.

Most importantly, it took the time to understand that we all wanted the same thing.

I wanted growth, I wanted the business to thrive.

Just like marketing did.

So how did we turn it all around? How did we nurture growth?

And how did we do that all by making it about privacy?

Step 1: What do we actually need?

It was back to the drawing board. We gathered everything. From clicks to emails. From pixels to payment processors.

We collect all.

And then we had a moment, taking it all in.

It was a lot.

Did we really need all that? Were we taking actions on all of that data?

Maybe a ¼ of it, if that.

Step 2: Back to basics

We trashed most of it.

We turned off all tracking not required.

We stopped spending money where there was no ROI.

We stopped working with third party vendors we didn’t think helped us.

It was scary. It was ballsy. It got our adrenaline flowing.

And suddenly making decisions on data was so much easier.

Step 3: Start respecting the customer

Now that we actually understood what was going on we started brainstorming how we can make it about the customer - for real.

Really respect them and their data - not just say we do.

We reworked content, we made sure we were transparent about what we do with data, we were accessible, we were clear.

No legalese anywhere (we worked with legal to rework everything).

In the end…

Customers were happier.

Customers spent more money (while my client spent less).

We sent less emails but increased revenue from emails.

The money we spent had actual ROI.

This is privacy-first marketing.

It’s putting the customer first.

It’s respecting their data.

It’s respect.

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