In today’s digitally driven world, organisations routinely collect a plethora of data that individuals submit – be it to extend product offers or to keep their customers informed about a topic of personal interest. It is the right of the individuals who submit this personal data to expect its ethical management. Since organisations can leverage this data in many ways – whether for lead generation or targeted marketing based on profiles – it is important for them to ensure that it is legitimately used.
In Singapore, personal data is protected under the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA). This Act has various rules governing the collection, use, disclosure and care of individuals’ personal data.
For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), creating awareness about your product or service is vital for growth. But with the PDPA, you will need to heed its various stipulations so that you do not tread on customers’ (or potential customers’) privacy. This may seem like a hindrance, but few realise that the PDPA can actually be a blessing in disguise. It actually gives companies the opportunity to allay concerns of data mismanagement, which in turn helps to build customer trust. We outline five reasons why the PDPA is good news for small businesses.
- Reassure your customers
Stating clearly and noticeably that you are mandated by legislation to comply with ethical standards for the collection and use of personal data reassures customers. By doing this, you also attract customers who may have previously been hesitant to share personal data with smaller organisations such as yours.
- Upgrade your technology
Use this opportunity to invest in technology that is up-to-date. This will provide creative ways to analyse the data collected to gain further insights into customers, thereby improving customer service. A good contact management solution can help your business in this process. If you are worried about the costs involved, fret not as the government provides various grants to SMBs (including automation equipment) to help you grow.
- More strategic data use
With the PDPA, businesses will have to fine-tune their messaging strategies. Companies can now create messages that reflect the lifestyle or purchasing behaviour of their customers, who will in turn be less likely to delete messages they regard as spam if they receive communications relevant to their areas of interest.
- Build long-term relationships
Besides allowing for targeted marketing, taking more time to study customer profiles also makes them more ‘real’ to companies. For instance, a sales executive might discover that his customer’s birthday is next month. He can then arrange for the company to send out a personalised birthday card or gift that would be appreciated by the customer. For large businesses, customers might expect that these processes would already be in place, but for a smaller business, it would likely come as a pleasant surprise and go a long way towards developing loyalty towards the company’s product or service.
- Get more out of marketing budgets
Thanks to the PDPA, there is also huge potential for wiser spend of valuable marketing dollars. Since companies are required to obtain individuals’ consent before collecting, using or disclosing their personal data, it would result in a more receptive audience (only those who are interested in the product or service would opt in). This in turn means that companies can now save what they might have spent on a non-relevant, uninterested audience – thus potentially being able to get more out of smaller marketing budgets.
By addressing the concerns of individuals about the use of their personal data and by providing businesses with lawful ways to treat this data, the PDPA is helping to reinforce trust in Singapore’s world-class business environment. There is thus huge value in embracing the PDPA.