Inoculating Against Customer Vulnerability
This chapter offers defensive strategies to protect customers from vulnerability and thereby guard the firm against financial harm and customer defection. We compile best practices from academic studies, business advice, expert insights, and our own extensive research with companies and customers. Rather than dealing with the technical details of cybersecurity, which is the purview of IT experts, we instead study and review inoculation strategies that can protect the firm by establishing sound data privacy “marketing” practices that are designed essentially to benefit customers. Companies can create powerful shields to guard against the harms of privacy failures simply by keeping customers’ best interests as the core of everything they do. We acknowledge that there are many sophisticated approaches for keeping data safe, but our goal is to consider the ways data are collected and managed by the company’s marketing team, because today’s marketers must take responsibility to consider how they gather and use data in the context of establishing and offering customer value. We also continue to emphasize the value of transparency and control, as well as creating a company culture that explicitly prioritizes minimizing customer harm. Such companies can realize important benefits to their own bottom lines and create an effective defense against the myriad harms of data breaches and other possible privacy failures.
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