Walking the Talk of Respectful Marketing
July 12, 2021

Graphic: Your personal info is none of anyone's business.

Privacy has become one of the most prominent issues in the online world – just look at Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency policy or Google’s phasing out of 3rd party cookies. This is new territory we are all navigating. The Me2B Alliance strives to do its part in shaping an effective, privacy-safe paradigm that works for both consumers (Me-s) and businesses (B-s). Every day we are figuring out pieces of this in our own marketing efforts. We want to share our learnings to help others succeed in the new world of respectful marketing.

Shifting to more respectful marketing is often not a simple, black and white change. There is a lot of grey area and our principles help guide us as a shining light. One key point is we look at digital relationships between Me-s and B-s as we would a real-life human relationship, with respect of boundaries and putting yourself in the other’s shoes to find the best mutual solution. We don’t aim to just extract maximum data – that is not how you treat someone  respectfully. Consumer demand is waking up to this reality and it’s gradually becoming the norm. Businesses must adapt to keep their customers happy.

Our marketing objectives are like most other organizations – we want to educate our audience on the issues, mobilize support, and grow our donation base to fund more projects. Our challenges are in the myriad of status quo marketing tools and techniques that don’t align with the new model of respectful marketing. Can we use analytics to be more effective yet still respect our visitors? Can we ethically use tools provided by big tech companies if their principles don’t seem to align with ours? While this is challenging, it is also exciting to help pioneer this new inevitable model.

We have privacy and technology expertise on our staff that is crucial for resolving these questions. Most organizations do not have this in-house expertise, which is why we’re sharing ours with you. Our ultimate goal is for all to adopt respectful marketing. So let’s get into our first tips…

Identifying respectful marketing technology has been a big focus for us. For instance, until recently, we had no analytics enabled on our website. That is a bit extreme – we need some insight to better serve our audience. We recently deployed Matomo Analytics, a privacy-safe alternative to Google Analytics. It provides a standard analytics dashboard with insights like which content is the most popular and which sources are sending people to our website. However, Matomo has many privacy settings that we have optimized such as masking IP addresses so there are no personal identifiers – our analytics are anonymous. Additionally, we have provided a clear opt-in notice on our website so that visitors must consent to analytics before they are activated.

This is a recurring process – find the most privacy-friendly platform and then make sure to fine-tune the platform’s settings for optimal privacy. Other examples are MailChimp for our email marketing and Vimeo for our video hosting. Our research determined they are the best solutions available for respectful marketing. Sometimes there are tricky decisions where the maximum privacy for a feature is too detrimental to user experience or too complicated for our organization – tradeoffs must be weighed to find the best solution for all parties. For example, we first tried self-hosting our videos but that became a significant burden on our website’s bandwidth and was complicated to manage so we decided to go with the most respectful video embed service available. We need to find solutions that are not overly cumbersome. We want to use practical solutions that can be widely adopted to effect the most positive change in the digital world.

There are many more lessons we will share as we continue charting the course to respectful marketing. Stay tuned for future installments of this series. We will go more in-depth on our decision-making process with step-by-step guides showing you how to optimize privacy settings across our marketing tools. In the meantime, we’d love to hear if you have any tips on how to do respectful marketing! Reach out on LinkedIn or Twitter and let us know about your experience. If you ever notice something we can improve on feel free to send us an email at admin@me2ba.org.