Loyalty In a Data Privacy-Centric World

Last week, the Irish Data Protection Commission ordered Facebook’s parent company Meta to pay two fines totalling €390 million for being in breach of the EU’s overarching privacy law. The ruling is significant as data-protection history is being written as we speak. How enterprises react towards data privacy from a compliance or trust-building approach will […]


  • Last week, the Irish Data Protection Commission ordered Facebook’s parent company Meta to pay two fines totalling €390 million for being in breach of the EU’s overarching privacy law. The ruling is significant as data-protection history is being written as we speak.


    How enterprises react towards data privacy from a compliance or trust-building approach will decide the future of the brand and impact relationships with consumers. It’s important to note consumers are watching closely.

    The date  January 28th is celebrated as Data Privacy Day (DPD) worldwide to sensitise individuals and disseminate privacy practices and principles. It encourages those who handle, store and use data to remain committed to the culture of privacy.

    As consumers become increasingly aware of their data privacy rights, obtaining third-party data is a looming challenge.

    Privacy has never been a larger priority for the brand-consumer relationship. With regulations like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in place, those handling consumer data must obtain users’ explicit permission to share and use the data generated through digital interactions.

    It’s a trend here to stay, and brands that get ahead of the curve will be at a competitive advantage.

    Stringent data privacy rules and regulations make it difficult for brands to engage with their users effectively. Loyalty programmes are the way forward. These programmes help brands effectively engage with their customers, gauge their needs and desires, and collect data to feed design and execute targeted marketing campaigns.


    “One of the inherent benefits of loyalty programs is the data and insights marketers can glean about their best customers. Data fuels customer identity so loyalty marketers can better understand the behaviour of their members, predict future behaviours and, as a result, drive more loyalty to their brand,” said Patrick Sim, Senior Vice President – APAC, MEA, Epsilon

    Marketers regard first-party data in higher esteem as it is collected directly from the audience and is easy to manage and store.

    This data type consists of customer interactions on the website and the app. It also comprises consumer purchase history, contact information, like email, phone numbers and addresses, SMS, point-of-sale (PoS) and CRM data at call centres, subscription information, and social media data. This data is collected directly from customer transactions and by placing a pixel code on the brand website, mobile app, product or social channels. This information gets recorded on CRM or DMP platforms.

    Traditionally, a cosmetics manufacturer looking for prospective consumers to purchase their bold makeup product range will try to obtain data from a consumer segment of women between 20 and 35 who prefer bold colours in lip shades or nail colours while purchasing at stores. Most brands buy this third-party data to find critical demographic information about prospective customers, such as their age, income, gender, and interests, that help them create brands’ richer customer profiles and improve their personalisation strategies.

    First-Party Data

    Data that provides significant insights into customer behaviour helps brands improve customer engagement. By adopting effective customer data collection, storage and usage methods, brands can enhance their personalisation strategies and send tailor-made messages to customers, pivoting around their needs and wants.

    First-party data is essential for maintaining direct customer relations and can boost cross-selling and upselling of products. With this type of data, marketers can segment their target customers far better and thus connect with them using relevant messaging, like informing customers about new products and services from their preferred category. Moreover, as this data is collected from the source, it is privacy protected.

    Consumers are protective about how brands collect, store and share information and are sceptical if their data is being collected without consent. But a recent YouGov poll showed that US adults would happily share personal information with brands if they received discounts, free products, or rewards in return.

    Second Party Data

    Unlike first-party, second-party data is non-proprietary and is first-party data collected by entities outside organisations. Brands obtain second-party data from trusted partners with whom they share a mutually beneficial relationship. Second-party data measures performance for specific vertices, such as Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), and partnering with retailers allows them to measure the performance of campaigns and what consumers purchase in-store.

    Zero-Party Data

    Forrester, a research and advisory company, coined the term zero-party data to speak about data shared voluntarily by customers with the brands. When brands collect first-party data by tracking customer interactions and behaviours on their website, they build first-party data assets. Customers are not openly disclosing information about their every move, so marketers and customer experience experts are tasked to observe and predict customer behaviours. In the case of zero-party data, there is no room for inference.

    Zero-party data consists of loyalty programme memberships, data collected from interactive quizzes and game responses, preference data, and purchase intentions shared by customers.

    Marketers refer to zero-party data as a gold mine as it is definitive and trustworthy. While dealing with zero-party data, brands have to trust what customers are sharing with them. Using this data, brands can directly access customer intentions. This data is not collected by keeping customers in the dark.


    The biggest concern for brands when dealing with customer data is to convert it in a meaningful way which will maintain control of the data and help brands establish a worthwhile relationship with their customers. When there are gaps in understanding consumer sentiments, brands cannot succeed in making a real change. To create and sustain lifelong relationships, marketers must have the right setup to enable relationships to interact with consumers on their terms. And naturally, more data-driven brands will have a competitive advantage for insights and reach vs those relying more heavily on walled gardens. It becomes imperative to adhere to regulatory scrutiny and ensure that your data is safe from any breaches to safeguard the interests of your consumers.

    If you liked reading this, you might like our other stories
    Welcome to Loyalty 2.0: Patrick Sim, Epsilon
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