Russell Howe is VP EMEA of data privacy company Ketch. We spoke with Russell to find out about what his role entails, the key elements of a successful data privacy program, and how businesses can overcome data privacy’s most common pitfalls.
Tell me about your role – what does a typical day look like for you?
My day starts with an hour of research into our market. It is key for me and my team to understand what people across our industry are talking about. I share this with my team on multiple channels to ensure the latest and greatest is top of mind for everyone.
I then connect internally with team members throughout the morning across a number of areas – education, enablement, support on opportunities and customer strategy. This is all interlaced with customer and prospect meetings. With us predominantly working from home, it is mandatory to get that 30 to 45 minute workout included in the schedule, which helps to break up the day and refresh you for the afternoon. My afternoon then switches to engaging with our US teams that come online. There are more check-ins with internal teams, marketing and PR activity, engagement with partners, as well as customer success, product management and leadership discussions too.
The beauty of my day is diversity. By wearing multiple hats as an EMEA leader, it’s not just about sales, but understanding and supporting the entire business operation from end to end.
What are the key elements of a successful data privacy program?
Technology has to be a central pillar that is both scalable and flexible in its application. Gathering data responsibly, ensuring you are across the four key tenets of data management best practice: Transparency, Consumer Choice, Data Minimisation, Appropriate Retention.
A quote from our inaugural Privacy Matters conference in NYC (Oct 20th ’22) from Debbie Reynolds, “The Data Diva”, really sets the tone for a successful data privacy program in my view: “Privacy is a DATA problem with LEGAL implications, not a LEGAL problem with DATA implications” – if you interpret that correctly, everything else I just said makes perfect sense.
In contrast, what are the biggest challenges that brands typically face in relation to data privacy?
The biggest issues faced by brands in relation to data privacy are the perceived complexity, confusion and poor implementation of first-generation technology that was never designed to solve the data problem. This includes the orchestration of consent, for example. We have seen multiple brands around the world falling foul of data protection regulations because they rely on out-of-date, compliance-only, point-in-time solutions to solve for a constantly evolving legislative and data landscape.
There is also the challenge of scaling across jurisdictions and changing laws, and ensuring your brand is compliant across different territories.
How does Ketch simplify the complexities related to data and privacy?
We simplify the complexities with scalable and flexible automation, and by enabling businesses to control responsibly-gathered data across the data lifecycle (from collection to storage, to usage to retention). We offer integrated tools for consent and preference management, data discovery and classification, DSR automation and consent orchestration. Most simply put, we treat privacy as a data challenge.
What trends or innovations do you predict will come to the forefront of your industry in the next 12 months?
In my opinion, in the next 12 months we’ll start seeing a shift away from first-generation, legacy tools that focus on privacy workflows to tools that actually help collapse the cost of compliance, build trust with consumers, and enable businesses to be responsible stewards of data.
Privacy is a team sport, and we are seeing thought-leading, innovative and disruptive brands embrace this concept. This is where the office of the CMO, CIO and Legal come together on privacy projects, because it is a brand and customer experience growth lever. We created a report last year that looks at how consumers engage with brands that take their data privacy seriously, which you can see here. One of the key findings revealed that purchase intent among consumers increased by 28% when they perceived a brand as treating their data responsibly. That is why CMOs and marketing teams are starting to pay closer attention to the whole topic of privacy and consent.
What’s next for Ketch?
Our vision is that privacy and responsible data practices are the foundation for the next generation of the Internet. Responsibly-gathered data will be the default. Data strategy will be considerate of consumer preferences. Brands will lead with transparency and choice, and build trust by enforcing people’s data choices across their data ecosystem. Privacy will merge with ethics and support the rise of AI and ML. Responsible data stewardship will be at the core of a brand’s value exchange with consumers. Ketch infrastructure will be built into the data fabric – we call it “Trust by Design”.