Honesty is the best policy

09 oktober 2018

Open and transparent: for now and for always

So why do I begin with this? Well for different reasons. I was taught and brought up on these values. I can say from experience that it’s not always pleasant to have to be honest, especially if there are consequences. But I’ve reached an age now where my friends, colleagues and contacts trust me to speak the truth and keep the promises and appointments I make with them, even if it in hindsight wasn’t the best option for me.

After being an entrepreneur for 11 years and working in the commercial industry for over 25 years, my network knows how to find me if something needs to be done within the field me and my company works in. It is difficult to have to say no sometimes, but I’ve learned from experience that it more than pays itself back.

Transparancy and openness repackaged for AVG

The norms and values which go with being honest (and transparent when talking about data and privacy) have been paying back and are of huge importance for my company at the moment as there have been some shifts within the field of data companies (or marketing information companies). The realisation of the AVG has also resulted in that many company lawyers are forbidding anything that has to do with data. Marketeers are lining up at companies such as ours and are unsure what to do next. How can they still keep working with data so that they can best serve their customers?

 

It is strange that as a result of the AVG, companies are now wanting to use data as little as possible. Data is the new gold. But then you’re backed in to an ethical corner. We saw this in the Personal Data Protection act, which has more or less the same information as the AVG. The big difference is that the opt in clauses included announcement such as ‘Your data will be shared with third parties’ and the AVG enforces that your company name as well as other companies who use the data must be named.

Due to capacity problems, only the large cases are being overseen meaning that most companies – to put it politely – haven’t thoroughly looked in to the matter of data and privacy. Resulting in large amount of databases of which nobody has a clear understanding of how the data was collected.

Being honest to yourself and your customer

I often wonder how its possible that so many companies at this moment in time are not yet AVG-proof. I have mentioned before that AVG is the chance to work on your engagement with your fans. By being transparent and, yes I mention it again, by being honest about the information and data you have stored on the person in question.

Data companies are also under attack. Some large data companies who have always been market leaders in the field of personal data are actually stopping and closing up shop. Have these companies had free play trading data of unknown origin? Why are the closing their doors? Here I again; honesty is the best policy.

A new transparent playing field

For me and companies such as CDDN it is important to realise that now there’s a level playing field in which data companies who are transparent can actually work together. The customer and the consumer will then receive what they’re entitled to; traceable information which was rightfully obtained by businesses with the guarantee that it can be used by those parties in profiles and marketing campaigns.

For such data companies the transition to an AVG-proof environment is not so large and most of them were ready way before the 25th of May 2018.

The truth will catch up with you

The moral of my message is that it is does pay to be honest and transparent. We live in a time now where we can’t hide behind procedures and internal rules hoping that the applicant will eventually give up. The consumer isn’t stupid and knows their rights when taking about privacy. This is apparent when looking at the requests we receive from consumers. It’s therefore not fair to string the consumers along. I mean there is Social Media now and consumers have an even louder voice than ever.

Be transparent but start with central data maintenance. Be honest internally as well about the data you’ve obtained. If in doubt, delete. Especially if you no longer know how you obtained the information. You’ll notice customers will love you more than before.

Martijn de Boer, CEO Consumenten Data Centrum Nederland (CDDN)