Best Practices in Marketing: Collecting, Using and Protecting Personal Data

Most marketers who use data and analytics work hard to ensure that personal consumer data is used in a legitimate and ethical way – but only to identify markets, not individuals.

We asked some of Canada’s leading analytics executives to provide insight about steps that people who work with personal data must take to prevent privacy breaches. Here are their reflections:


“When we hear of a data breach, it reminds consumers to be more careful about what they do online and reminds those of us who work in the field to be more vigilant.  Even with new regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, and efforts by some companies to create workplace policies, there is nothing   that will completely protect us from future incidents. As consumers, we need to understand what we sign up for (by reading the terms and conditions when completing a survey). At work, we need to use office policies, employee training, and common sense to protect people’s confidential personal information.”

Nick Sleeth,
Spectrum-AG Canada


“Data can and should be used by organizations to not only make smarter, more informed decisions but to make consumers’ lives better. Some examples of positive data-driven applications include better targeting of marketing messaging and offers to consumers, helping non-profits optimize their fundraising efforts by understanding giving capacity with donors, creating better and more relevant customer experiences by really knowing the who, what, where, why and how of consumer behaviours, and helping municipalities effectively and efficiently allocate resources (think: emergency services, recreation centres, etc.).

To accomplish this in an increasingly privacy-centric marketplace, organizations need to continue to push for the innovative application of data-driven insights while being transparent and ethical in how they collect, manage and use consumer data. Data privacy and security must be at the core of an organization’s data governance policy, providing a roadmap for every part of the business, including Marketing. It is also vital that they select partners that adhere to data collection, management and security best practices.”

Evan Wood,
Chief Sales and Marketing Officer
Environics Analytics


“As marketers, it is our responsibility to understand: why we require customer information to drive strategies and marketing applications, when this information should be masked and when it must be treated as personal, and what rules and regulations govern data use relevant to specific jobs. Staying educated and up-to-date should be as important as monitoring customer trends, creative innovations or new marketing capabilities.”

Jesse Wolfson
Enterprise Client Success
Domo, Inc.


“Our primary focus in marketing has always been customer acquisition and retention. This leads us to keeping a significant amount of data in our CRM system while acquiring customers and as we try to increase the customers' lifetime value with cross-selling, up-selling and retention activities by leveraging this data.  As responsible marketers, we must be mindful that personal data is a private asset of the customer. We must understand and comply with Canadian privacy and anti-spam laws, as well as new international regulations like GDPR if applicable. All have strict requirements on how to collect, use and disclose personal data , as well as minimum records that companies are required to keep.”

Ersegun Kocoglu,
Founder & CMO
Market Me Marketing Consultancy


“Remember that to act in good faith and be compliant with customer data means that the burden is always on you (the organization). It is your responsibility to retain records to prove opt-in consent, it is your responsibility to make it easy to opt-out. If this means capturing and storing more data points, then it isn’t an option – it needs to be done. If this means avoiding communicating to customers where you don’t have proof of an opt-in – it needs to be done. There is no grey area in today’s environment – consent needs to be black or white.”

Matt Anstett
Director, Business Optimization & Analytics
Allianz Partners Canada

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