Since the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in 2018, the landscape of privacy in marketing has changed considerably, ushering in a major global shift in power to consumers. B2C marketing leaders face even more challenges in the coming year and will struggle to retain access to the consumer data they depend on for their marketing and advertising practices.

If you plan to use consumer data in 2020, you may need to adjust your privacy and data ethics strategies. Our predictions include:

In 2020 privacy class action lawsuits will increase 300%.

  • Third-party consumer data is going to come with a catch. Some data brokers and adtech vendors will struggle to comply with GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Vendors will have to navigate varying levels of regulation, meaning spotty data in some places or less data overall — for example, open exchanges — may fall apart in the face of the UK’s ruling that real-time bidding violates GDPR. Assess your third-party vendor ecosystem to ensure that it (and your own form) doesn’t face class action lawsuits — which we expect to increase by 300% next year.
  • As consumers thwart government surveillance, their actions will spill over into the data economy. It’s not just that regulation is catching up to address privacy concerns. Consumers in geopolitical hot spots are adopting the growing number of antisurveillance and privacy products. As more of these products come to market, the consequence for marketers will be the loss of access to all kinds of data, from location and facial data to device IDs and IP addresses.
  • Dark patterns and shoddy data ethics will cost brands their reputation — with consumers and employees. Where regulation falls short, consumers take up the slack. Privacy dark patterns that make it hard to opt out or nudge users to accept overbroad data sharing will make headlines and result in brand damage. Meanwhile, firms whose poor data ethics practices are exposed will lose employees and access to qualified candidates.

The risk of bad privacy practices is skyrocketing. If the direct cost of failing to reach compliance isn’t enough of a motivator, consider the costs you’ll face by alienating customers with dark patterns or relying on creepy surveillance data. Our “Predictions 2020: Privacy And Data Ethics” report provides a deeper dive into the five key issues marketers will encounter in 2020. Adopting better digital responsibility standards pays off, and this is the year to make it happen.

Download Forrester’s Predictions 2020 guide to understand the major dynamics that will impact firms across industries.