Addressing the Privacy Paradox: Balancing Personalization with Data Privacy

 In Data, Personalization, Privacy

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The new era of privacy has created complexity for organizations in every industry. It’s a given that today’s consumer expects true personalization from every business they interact with, not just from digital-native businesses like Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify. At the same time, consumers are more conscious of their data privacy than ever. A recent Tealium study on consumer data privacy found that 97% of consumers surveyed said they are somewhat or very concerned about protecting their data. This apparent inconsistency between customer concerns over privacy and their actual online behavior and desires has been coined “the privacy paradox” by Gartner. 

If organizations can achieve this balance of privacy and personalization, it can turn into a massive strategic advantage. Research by Accenture shows that 88% of consumers say companies that provide personalized experiences without compromising their trust are more appealing and can relate to their needs better than others.

Actually achieving this vision of a perfect balance of data privacy with personalization efforts is no walk in the park for any enterprise, but it’s especially difficult in highly-regulated industries like healthcare, financial services and insurance. These industries are faced with additional regulations around controlling and processing sensitive data (e.g. HIPAA) as well as added financial penalties if they don’t remain compliant.  

This complex, regulated environment and specific concerns around keeping private data, well, private, can ultimately lead to conflict among leaders in data and analytics, CX, marketing, security and risk, and other business and IT stakeholders in these enterprises. Marketing and CX leaders want to drive customer experience and personalization (and need rich data to achieve it). On the other side, IT and InfoSec leaders want to ensure that private customer data is kept private. 

Where to Start with Data Privacy? Team, Technology, and Strategy

So how can organizations leverage their customer data while keeping privacy top of mind? The answer lies (as often it does with solving complex customer data issues) with focusing your efforts on the people inside the organization, your strategy, and the technology that is enabling those two. Let’s talk about all three of these points and how they help.

Teams and Strategy

Start from the position (and remember it along the way) that trust is a company-wide effort. Your company likely has a mission statement and a set of core values for employees to rally around. Trust should be one of those everyday missives. 

If trust hasn’t previously been a messaging priority, identify internal leaders who can act as a council of data stewards. Include security, architecture management, database operations management, data warehousing, marketing and business intelligence management. Also, host internal training as needed. Like your strategy to unify siloed data, a company-wide plan to ensure consumer data protection and trust will keep your team on the same page while rallying support.


Technology should ultimately enable your people and your strategy to balance data privacy and deliver personalization. 

As data sources and usage grows, it’s essential for organizations to detect, mitigate and minimize the risk associated with sharing first-party, second-party, and third-party data across the technology stack. When selecting vendors, choose technology providers that take data privacy just as seriously as your enterprise does. One way to identify these vendors is by looking for privacy certifications like HIPAA, PCI, SOC 2 Type II, Privacy Shield Framework, ISO and others. Also, ask your vendors if they’ll sign a BAA or offer a private cloud environment.

Enterprises should also employ tools and eliminate silos to unify their customer data. While data silos lead to overall internal inefficiency, they also pose a huge data security risk. These tools also drive the creation of (and control over) a data supply chain. 

The Importance of a Data Supply Chain

A data supply chain is essential to breaking down silos and helping enterprises manage both privacy and personalization. A central hub, spanning the full lifecycle of customer data, is critical for regulation requirements that can be addressed before propagating out to the wider technology ecosystem.

Let’s take a look at how Tealium enables the creation of an end-to-end data supply chain.

During the collection and standardization stages of the data supply chain, Tealium helps establish a single source for customer data collection, addresses customer opt-out (across the entire tech stack) and begins to establish an audit trail.

During the transformation and enrichment stage of the data supply chain, Tealium’s capabilities enable you to stage customer data prior to transmission downstream, transform data as it’s collected to speed activation and reduce any needs for expensive and inefficient post-processing, and resolve identity to ensure accuracy dealing with user requests.

In the integration and activation stages of the data supply chain, Tealium capabilities allow you to manage all customer data centrally before integrating out across the tech stack, prevent or enable transmission based on your requirements and enable full visibility across the entire lifecycle of data.


For our most privacy-focused customers, Tealium also offers a private cloud for customer data. Tealium Private Cloud brings the complete Customer Data Hub to a private cloud environment (single-tenant or multi-tenant). All data in the Tealium Private Cloud is isolated, regionally designated and processed in accordance with the unique security controls required by the tenant. This enables customers to create a secure and scalable data foundation that is safeguarded in accordance with their data security standards.


Balancing personalization and privacy is likely going to be an ongoing effort for every business as both privacy regulations and customer data strategies change over time. However, setting up the right organizational tools, processes and strategies now can help any company start to take steps towards achieving that balance. 

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