Not so long ago, previously thriving small media companies started to crumble. They relied so much on ad revenue generated from free traffic – via organic search – driven to their sites that once search algorithms changed, companies started to see audience declines north of 60%.

Once free traffic from organic search dissipated, they started to fold. I know this firsthand, because I had to help dismantle some of these companies, and I'd prefer to never have to experience that again.

When companies start to rely heavily on single-threaded marketing strategies, ignore regulatory changes, or close their eyes to the technology transformations in front of them, I start to worry. Reacting to a disruption often means you are already too late to properly address it.

To weather future storms, marketers need to focus on three immediate areas:

  1. Diversify channels
  2. Pay close attention to regulatory and sentiment changes
  3. Un-platform stacks

For the purposes of this post, we will focus solely on the second area, paying attention to regulatory and sentiment changes (see “‘Un-Platform’ Your Tech Stack” for a meaningful perspective).

Pay close attention to regulatory and sentiment changes

Some of our predictions for regulatory and sentiment changes are as follows:

  1. GDPR was the edge of the wedge; be prepared for more (aggressive) regulation to come.

    We all know about GDPR and CCPA, and are following what is happening in other states and countries. These are policies we saw coming, yet many companies were still unprepared. This is a one-directional trend that you must account for.

    Additional states will pass regulations, the call for a federal approach will increase, and there will be a scarcity in the necessary resources to implement these policies.

    A forward looking organization will begin to staff for privacy and start to look toward future policies (don’t be surprised if ethical AI becomes more of a factor early next year).

  2. Changes in user sentiment toward privacy will force companies to proactively address data collection and usage ahead of new regulations.

    Political beliefs aside, the growing cacophony of advertisers banning certain platforms has nothing to do with regulations and everything to do with consumer and societal sentiment.

    Organizations must prepare for the potential of consumer driven ethical regulations that their consumers/users/audiences place on them, which will often be more aggressive and meaningful than most government policies.

  3. A large percentage of technologies will supersede policy and more aggressively pursue privacy controls.

    The browser wars are over? Maybe for end users, but for marketers, a new battle will brew with upstarts like Brave (https://brave.com/) grabbing attention (“Joe Rogan Backs Privacy-Focused Brave Web Browser” — by Stephanie Mlot, PCMag).

    Cookies will fall, browsers will become more restrictive, and the challenges will grow. Privacy focused technologies will continue to push marketers down a path they may not want, but should quickly get ready for.

It’s time for marketers to plan their strategies around disruption. For the foreseeable future, we will be witness to countless forces that will drive changes in the market.

Some of these forces will result in significant policy adjustments and others will cause change without regulations. Now is the time to plan and prepare versus the reactionary position that is often taken by so many.

Habu Data Clean Rooms help marketers, analysts, and business strategist prepare for ongoing disruptions by creating a flexible environment. To see it in action, request a demo.