The ethics of managing customer data will take on a critical new dimension in digital marketing in the coming years as companies struggle to win back the trust of consumers, Gartner predicts.
The research firm has for the first time included customer data ethics in its Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing for 2020, indicating that it has moved into the ‘innovation trigger’ phase.
Customer data ethics will prove to be particularly important in areas including mobile marketing and advertising targeting, marketing campaign design, customer segmentation, passive data collection, and customer service and loyalty programs, Gartner said.
But the concept is expected to take at least 10 years to reach full adoption and reach full adoption.
Gartner VP Analyst for Marketing Mike McGuire said the growing need for data ethics will stem from two main factors.
“[These factors are] the concentrated market power of a few digital tech giants controlling massive amounts of customer data and consumers’ deep-seated concerns about how their data is collected and used,” he said.
“In five to 10 years, demand for the ethical treatment of customer data will intensify as consumer trust decreases. To win back consumer trust, marketers must talk about customer data ethics and demonstrate, in transparent ways, their commitment to be more than legally compliant.”
Meanwhile, Gartner has predicted that there are four other trends and technologies included in the Hype Cycle that have the capability to transform how marketers respond to changing conditions.
The first of these is real-time marketing — an organisation’s ability to interpret and respond to opportunities in real time using dedicated tools, technologies and processes.
Second, Gartner said the hype around AI for marketing has moved past the Peak of Inflated Expectations on the hype cycle to the Trough of Disillusionment as marketers encounter challenges including data availability and team skills gaps. But AI techniques are still finding their way into multiple major marketing systems, the company said.
Third, the emergence of personalisation engines commonly used by marketing, digital commerce, merchandising and customer experience teams to optimise content and campaigns and make recommendations also has the potential to shake up the market.
Finally, Gartner expects location intelligence to help marketing leaders manage and make available correct information about the physical locations under their control to search engines and other websites.
But the company said the promise of the technology is hampered by the tension between consumers and brands over how consumers’ location data is used.