Features Opinion Tech
Privacy is our new friend

Personalized print can help brands strengthen consumer trust

May 10, 2024  By A.J. Rai

Privacy is a top concern for consumers. Photo: Just_Super / E+ / Getty Images

This year’s big three marketing trends are advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, hyper-personalization as well as changes to privacy and data protection systems.

The emergence of digital ads and mass e-blasts has been tough on the industry, but as privacy comes under scrutiny, businesses must prioritize consumer trust so that they can obtain stronger data to meet company objectives (i.e. growth as well as new markets and product lines).

Data collection


With the implementation of privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S., businesses are required to obtain explicit consent from users before collecting and processing their personal data. Marketers now need to be transparent about the type of data collected, the purpose of its use, and offer users the option to opt-out.

Cookie restrictions

Many web browsers have introduced stricter controls over third-party cookies and limited  cross-site tracking. This has led to a decline in the effectiveness of advertising methods relying on tracking user behaviour through cookies. Reduced access to user data and tracking limitations make it more challenging for marketers to target specific demographics accurately. Therefore, marketers are exploring alternative methods such as contextual advertising, which focuses on the content a user is currently viewing rather than their individual browsing history.

Ad personalization

Privacy settings make it difficult for marketers to personalize ads based on individual user behaviours. Instead, they are moving toward more privacy-friendly methods like using aggregated and anonymized data to create broader audience segments.

Focus on first party data

With limitations on third-party data, there’s a growing emphasis on leveraging first-party data. Businesses are investing in building direct relationships with customers and encouraging them to share info in exchange for personalized experiences.

Privacy-centric tech

The rise of privacy-centric technologies in browsers and search engines has prompted marketers to adapt their strategies. Marketers need to be aware of these changes and consider how their messages can reach users who actively seek to protect their privacy online.

Educating customers

Marketers are focusing on educating consumers about the value exchange between their data and the personalized experiences they receive. Building trust is crucial in a landscape where privacy is a top concern for users.

What does this mean for print? Personalized print in the context of marketing in correlation with first-party data allows us to create more materials tailored to individual preferences and characteristics. We’re seeing a fall in digital ad and mass spray and pray marketing campaigns. We can use this narrative about privacy to reintroduce print as a solution instead of showcasing it as a commodity. This will help open new markets for us. 

A.J. Rai is the vice-president of sales at Mitchell Press. He can be reached at

This column originally appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of PrintAction.

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