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Get Your Privacy House In Order, or 2016 Will Hit Your Business Hard

Fatemeh Khatibloo
Fatemeh Khatibloo
Principal Analyst
November 9, 2015

Now that we’re firmly settled in the Age of the Customer, it’s time to take stock of the factors that are really going to drive business success — or failure — over the next few years. At Forrester, we’re betting our hats that privacy will be one a big one. In fact, we think that privacy is integral to each one of the 10 success factors in 2016.

Consider this: more consumers than ever are using privacy protection tools, and Internet giants like Apple and Google are making privacy controls central to their new product releases. Meanwhile, regulators from California to the EU are passing laws to protect consumer privacy and make “marketing surveillance” harder and riskier to do.

As part of Forrester’s annual business predictions cycle, we’ve identified the seven greatest privacy challenges that marketers will face in 2016. They cover a range of issues, from regulation to career opportunities. But, there are two predictions that I’m especially excited about:

The first is that the ad-blocking movement is going to become a privacy battleground. Forrester believes that, as more consumers take control of their online media experience using these tools, they will break advertisers’ and publishers’ data collection practices, leading to better privacy.

The second is the effect California’s newest privacy laws will have on the rest of the country. Few companies can afford not to do business in the state, so their marketing teams must decide how to balance their need for customer data against some pretty strict rules about how data can be collected and stored.

Privacy is a game changer; it will be to organizations in 2016 what websites were to companies in 2000. So this is the year to up the ante on your investments: you need the right cross-functional team, good governance practices, and the technical tools to ensure that all of your systems are in compliance with both laws and internal privacy guidelines. Making the right investments will let your firm drive business growth, win new customers, and build deeper customer relationships.

In the end, it’s the customer-obsessed business leaders who get privacy right that will thrive in the Age of the Customer. Are you up for the challenge?

Privacy predictions authors also include: Enza Iannopollo, Renee Murphy and Heidi Shey.

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