FullContact CEO shares 5 principles of building a better trust network

Targeted marketing is under attack. We are in the midst of a major shift within marketing and advertising technology. The industry has made attempts to get ahead of regulation by innovating with regard to privacy solutions. In response to this dynamic period of transition, legacy marketing and advertising methods must share the road with more decentralized and consumer-powered innovations. We didn’t jump straight from Gordon Gekko’s brick cell phone to the iPhone, however. There were a lot of innovation stops along that route.

What we are seeing is a Digital Economy accelerated by the pandemic, but dependent on the seamless flow of information through interoperability. We see convenience as the dominant driver of decision-making as well, but the speed of evolution travels only as fast as trust allows. As we evolve the interoperability of MarTech and AdTech solutions, convenience and trust are necessary to increase the adoption of innovations.

I’d like to focus specifically on the “trust” component as I think that’s the critical element to allow for your company to thrive in these changing times.

What does a trust network look like? The technology itself continues to evolve, but I recognize a few clear principles that each actor within the trust network should espouse:

#1 Transparency

Don’t try to trick consumers into subscribing or giving information. Be transparent and open about what you’re doing with consumer data and why you need the information to serve them better. Ask for specific permission on how to use the consumer’s data. Simplify your terms of service and policies to ensure that consumers have an easy understanding of what you’re doing and why. Let them know when data will be used, and give the consumers a real benefit for its use. Give the consumer real-time visibility into the information about them, and allow them to update the information or modify their permissions.

#2 Decentralized Control

It can be hard to inject privacy into the customer’s brand experience when previously you were focused on speed of service and deepening the engagement metrics for that experience. The key is to create a balance between making the experience convenient and empowering. Lean into privacy and provide the ability for the customer to control the interaction while you explain the value exchange. This builds your permissioned first-party data asset.

Build architecture to support the first-party data and to create mechanisms on the edge for consumers to control their zero-party data at will. Avoid holding consumer data indefinitely, and ensure your data use is purpose-driven.

#3 Value Exchange

Provide commensurate value exchange. Consider partnerships with innovative technology companies that allow for the monetization of personal data. Be sure there are no surprises. Your customer should know what they’re getting into. Consumers should be rewarded for the use of their information, and at any time should have the ability to revoke the use of that information. Any downstream partner of your company should meet your privacy standards, and personally identifiable information (PII) should only be shared when absolutely necessary.

#4 Interoperability

Build out your trust ecosystem through business partnerships with companies that allow for interoperability of permission, identity, and data. What does this mean? It means that permission, identity, and data are decentralized. For FullContact, this means that we can store and forward permissions in real-time, to ensure that trust is maintained throughout the entire chain of custody of your data. Regarding identity, it means that FullContact empowers control over identity and that personal identifiers are not our own, but rather we are simply stewards to protect and minimize their use.

Ideally, identity solutions should be agnostic and standard protocols should be established between companies to create a trusted network of providers. APIs are best suited to enable this. Interoperability should not require deep integration to become a reality.

#5 Consumer Protection

There is no denying that data security and privacy are intertwined. Loss of personal data through a data breach creates distrust and destroys the fabric of a trust network. It’s best practice to remove data that you’re not using to reduce the blast radius of a data breach. Personal identity should be protected and limited in its use, which means creating proxies for sensitive data that can’t be reverse-engineered back to the sensitive data.

FullContact has enabled this through our use of Private Identity Clouds, an environment where identity proxies are used instead of personal information, and sensitive data is stored in encrypted lockers. This limits liability without compromising your ability to abide by consumer wishes and still effectively communicate with them.

FullContact supports the building of communities that empower trust. Your company should strive to develop a network of trust between you and your customers that includes any downstream partners. Create a bubble around your brand with trusted partners that, in turn, use techniques and policies that align with your own trust values. I’d encourage every company to lean into data privacy, and into consumer control specifically, to empower an environment ripe for building and maintaining trust.

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