Epsilon Customer EngagmentThe marketing promises that big data continues to bring seem to stretch on without end. Data allows brands to gain the deep insights needed to generate personalized and meaningful customer experiences, target segments with an unparalleled degree of specificity, and significantly increase customer engagement in the process.

But becoming so enamored with the exciting possibilities of big data can leave some blinded to potential issues. Marketers need to be cautious and constantly vigilant with the data they collect, analyze, leverage, and share. Consumers often give their personal data to companies in exchange for a variety of benefits and services, and they do so with a high degree of trust. Therefore, the misuse of data by unethical players can leave consumers feeling uncomfortable or even violated, which can certainly be bad for business.

Epsilon understands the ethical line that marketers must tread, and it stands as an organization committed to the protection and proper management of all customer data. As a data-driven global marketing and customer engagement company, this is a mission that Epsilon genuinely respects.

“Epsilon stands for a responsible company that is taking care of consumer data.” Jeanette Fitzgerald, Epsilon Chief Privacy Officer, told Loyalty360. “We protect it. We use it only as our clients and consumers understand it will be used. And we take that seriously because we think that is incredibly important if we are going to develop and maintain trust on the Internet.”

Epsilon creates connections between brands and people by combining innovative technologies, creative ideas, and rich data sets to achieve the results for its clients all across the world.

Epsilon’s excellence in this area has seen it become a leader in its class, and this recognition has become well known. In fact, by demonstrating leadership and commitment to best practices and self-regulation in data security, privacy and consumer protection, Epsilon was recently named to the Online Trust Alliance’s (OTA) 2015 Online Trust Honor Roll.

What’s more, this is actually the fourth consecutive year that Epsilon has received this honor.Epsilon high data management

As a non-profit organization, the OTA is committed to enhancing online trust and empowering users. And Epsilon has continually proven that it can set and maintain high industry standards of how customer data should be managed and protected.

“Through recognitions like OTA’s ranking and approval, and other such awards, it shows we are definitely doing exactly what we are saying,” Fitzgerald said. “We are not talking from an ivory tower.”

Since the entire concept of customer data is a relatively new force in the business sphere, and since the marketing landscape is also continually and rapidly evolving, marketers are in desperate need of a guiding process, or an ideal, that can illuminate a path going forward.

Epsilon is now in a position to provide such guidance, and this view was most strongly communicated by none other than the OTA itself.

“OTA applauds Epsilon for its ongoing commitment to responsible data stewardship and consumer protection,” Craig Spiezle, OTA Executive Director and President, said in response to Epsilon’s continued status on Online Trust Honor Roll. “Epsilon has demonstrated that security and privacy are deeply embedded in their brand’s value proposition. We encourage other marketing companies to follow Epsilon’s lead by implementing security and privacy practices that protect users’ data.”

It is also important to note that Epsilon’s philosophy transcends the legal obligations and restrictions placed on using customer data. It wants brands to understand that they also have a responsibly to behave in an ethical manor.

For Epsilon, this means considering the customer’s perspective. And it calls for brands to think about what customers would consider a “realistic use of their data.”

“The data should be used in a manner that corresponds with the disclosures that were provided when the data was obtained,” Fitzgerald said. “So if the privacy policy states that you are never going to share an email address, then you shouldn’t share an email address. And if you think that you are going to use the data for marketing purposes, then you should be saying that. It is very important to be able to tell the consumer how you are using their data, and to think about whether that use is something that the consumer would expect.”

And even beyond just setting a new standard of responsible data management practices, Epsilon is working hard to create a process that demystifies the entire system for consumers. This includes a number of outreach efforts that help educate and inform the public through a variety of channels.

Epsilon’s website, for example, features resources to helps consumers understand how marketers use their data, ways they can opt out, and where they can get additional information. Epsilon also includes an 800 number to allow those with more specific concerns to talk directly to a source, and it even provides access to personalized reports to show consumers what data exists about them within Epsilon’s data solutions.

“We are very proud of what we are doing,” said Fitzgerald. “We are trying to do good outreach in the industry, and we are trying to do outreach that benefits the consumer. The bad guys are only a small part of the industry. We are promoting good practices because we think they are helpful to the industry.”

About the Author: Mark Johnson

Mark is CEO & CMO of Loyalty360. He has significant experience in selling, designing and administering prepaid, loyalty/CRM programs, as well as data-driven marketing communication programs.

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