Best practices for data privacy in B2B marketing with Kate Parker, COO at Transcend

Data privacy is not new to the B2B world. But it now presents the challenge of both protecting an audience and learning about their purchase behaviour.

On this episode of the FINITE Podcast, Alex had an interesting conversation with Kate Parker, COO at Transcend. She gave advice on adopting data privacy and how to make it a winning factor to compete with other B2B tech companies.

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Full transcript

Alex (00:06):

Hello everyone and welcome back to the FINITE Podcast today. We’re going to be covering a very important topic in the B2B tech marketing world at the moment. And that is data privacy, meaning how we use our customers data, how we can understand our data footprints as marketers, how we can implement data privacy practices that don’t just tick boxes, but actually help to create great customer experiences and maybe even drive growth. 

We’ll be joined by Kate Parker who is currently the chief operating officer at Transcend and has had an impressive career at companies like Google and Uber. And so I’m excited to hear her perspective on a very important and current topic, enjoy!


FINITE (00:41):

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Alex (01:01):

Hello, Kate, and welcome to the FINITE Podcast. Thank you for joining me.


Kate (01:05):

Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.


Alex (01:06):

Looking forward to talking. We are going into data privacy as a subject. I don’t think we’ve recorded an episode specifically around this, and I feel like it’s on everyone’s radar for good reason at the moment. 


So I’m looking forward to some deep expertise and insights that you can bring to the table before we do that. I’ll let you tell us a bit about your background and experience. Because I know you’ve been in all kinds of interesting roles. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about them.


About Kate and her role at Transcend

Kate (01:32):

Absolutely well it’s as I said, it’s wonderful to be here. I’m glad we’re talking about data privacy. It’s an issue very close to my heart. My background is in marketing for regulated markets and regulated issues. So that’s taken me into a lot of different areas from consumer safety to economic development, and now more recently data rights and privacy, and thinking about how we protect and make sure that we’re really championing the regulations that exist as well as the sort of industry trends that we’re seeing across data rights and data privacy. 

So I’m at Transcend where I’m the chief operating officer. I oversee our go-to-market efforts, including our marketing and sales work and partnerships as well as all our business associations and operations. And before joining Transcend, I was at Uber for quite a long time where I ran consumer safety across all of our different lines of business-focussed, particularly on brand product marketing and how we can really sort of turn around the company reputation on issues around safety. So it’s great to be here. It’s great to be chatting with you about this. I love chatting about all things regulation and as it relates to marketing. So I think this will be a fun conversation.


Alex (02:47):

Cool. It will be. And tell us a little bit about, before we get there, about the marketing function at Transcend and kind of maybe what the team looks like or what areas you focus on, how you structure things.


Kate (02:57):

Yeah, Absolutely. So Transcend is a B2B company. We focus on helping other companies get their data privacy working really well. So we’re sort of the one-stop-shop for all privacy engineering that you might need for tools that you’re just going to pull off the shelf and be ready to go for access and deletion. 

Our marketing team is set up to be really sort of flat and working across a number of different go-to-market components, including product marketing, growth, demand generation, content and communications. And then we partner really closely with our sales team where we have our outbound engine working as well. 

And so all those pieces coming together, I think gives us a fairly traditional viewpoint and structure when you think about sort of B2B marketing organisation, but it also allows us to be really nimble and think about where we want to go next, how we want to make sure we’re continuing to chat about data rights, data privacy and helping to connect those dots for the great customers that we serve, like Robin Hood, Groupon and others.


Alex (03:59):

Cool. Let’s dive into it and talk about data privacy. Then as a subject, I feel like all the kind of stuff that hits the news around data privacy is typically more from kind of in a consumer environment. And I think we’re all as a society, much more conscious about data generally. What do you think B2B marketers really care about when it comes to date’s privacy at the moment?


What do B2B marketers value the most in data privacy

Kate (04:22):

Yeah, so I think it’s interesting. I think that data privacy is a growing topic amongst B2B marketers. I would say, I don’t think if you look back, a year or two years ago, you would find this to be a topic of conversation that was top of mind, more traditional areas would be growth, demand gen, leads, brand, and content marketing. 

But I think more and more, we’re starting to hear broader conversations about data privacy and that’s included in the B2B space. So I think we’re right at the beginning of a pretty large trend and an interesting switch in the industry in terms of it moving up the prior list and marketers having to think about it more and more. 

And there’s a lot of reasons for that we can go into, but it’s kind of interesting to see this become a topic that B2B marketers are a little bit hungrier for to make sure they’ve got their company set up in the right way that they’re attracting the right types of customers. And that they’re really showing that their company honours data rights and data privacy in order to make them more competitive against others in their same sector.


Alex (05:29):

Yeah. It’s interesting. Do you think it’s like there are areas around kind of diversity inclusion and sustainability and other areas that we’re just as consumers and in the business world, very much more conscious of these data and for very good reason. And it feels like data privacy is one of those areas that, do you think it’s driven by the consumer world initially and how we all view our personal data. And then as we come into B2B environment, it becomes something we’re just more, more conscious of there as well.


Data privacy in B2B is driven by the consumer world

Kate (05:57):

Well. I think that’s exactly right. I view it as a really interesting cycle or sort of a backwards funnel that starts with the end-user and the consumer. The more the consumer cares about a particular issue. They’re going to put more pressure on the companies that they do business with. So the business to consume companies. 

And then as that starts to bubble up and becomes more of an issue, B2C companies are going to turn around and make sure that they’re putting the appropriate amount of pressure on the companies that they do business with. So you’re almost looking at a sort of value chain that goes all the way from the end-user and the consumer to the B2B network and industry. And when you launch that pressure sort of increase that’s when we start to see change, really take root, particularly on the B2B front.


Alex (06:43):

Yeah, absolutely. And so where do you think B2B marketers need to approach this topic from? Because I think there are kind of superficial layers sometimes of cookie policies and banners on websites and the few track boxes, but I get the sense that from your angle, it’s a bit deeper rooted than that. How do B2B marketers start approaching the topic as if they feel like it’s an area that they haven’t really thought much about so far?


Approach data privacy from the beginning


Kate (07:09):

I think the best way to think about it is to start to identify it as an industry trend and start there. And the reason that I say that is because sometimes some of these issues, you mentioned sustainability, which is another great example. Data privacy can be very similar sometimes as marketers, when these types of issues come up, we are sort of at crossroads, do we own them and hold them close and view them as a key part of the brand? 

Or do we have, and sort of push off into another part of the business for ownership there? And on data privacy in particular, what can happen is that we sort of push off data privacy into the world of compliance and legal. And so from the marketing part, we might say: Oh, that’s not really my job. You know, my job is to focus on growth.


Kate (07:53):

My job is to make sure our brand is built in the right way and that we’ve got the right market penetration. I’ll let legal or other aspects of the business handle data privacy, and you can replace data privacy with any type of, sort of regulatory issue. I think that can be really a missed opportunity for marketers because what we’re hearing, in general, is that data privacy is a rising issue for, as we talked about earlier, end-users, B2C companies. And so, by nature B2B companies as well, and we need to make sure that that can be really owned by the marketing department. 

So I like to start at a really top level and just think about it as an industry trend. So how do we think about brand building around data privacy? How do we think about walking the talk on data privacy?


Kate (08:41):

What is our competitive advantage on data privacy, particularly in comparison to any competitors that we might be sort of dogging it out within the industry. And then if you start there, it sort of trickles down, then you can get to the enhanced complexity. 

Obviously, there’s a lot happening in the ad tech world. We’ve got new states rolling out new laws, which can affect outbound engines, the way you might handle email marketing, consent data collection. So it can get pretty complex pretty quickly. 

But I like to encourage folks to just start from more of the POV your perspective and understand, are they going to own data privacy and sort of lean in from the marketing perspective or are they going to let it be a missed opportunity and just sort of sit in the compliance world and checkboxes as they go.


Alex (09:28):

Absolutely. Yeah. So do you see marketers working with IT, compliance, data and legal and is it, I guess somebody needs to own it right? Eventually, but it sounds like it’s something that’s much more cross-functional that it really transcends the entire business rather than just being sitting under one team.


Data privacy sits under the marketing team

Kate (09:49):

That’s exactly right. And I think that marketing can play such a key role at the table. Particularly because marketers and the marketing organisation has quite a bit of ownership over data rights and data consent. 

So what’s interesting with B2B companies is that they play the role as both the data controller and the data processor. And so, you sort of break down those terms. What that actually means is that from the B2B side, they have to honour their customers, data processing structures, and those are often set up through data processing agreements. 

And then they also have to recognise that they have their own data from the business that they’re just doing. So the marketing and sales efforts that they have, the data that they’re collecting about customers, the folks that they’re trying to reach, or get on the phone or bring to an event.


Kate (10:43):

So in many ways, B2B has the sort of dual complexity of having to deal with every single one of their customers, viewpoints on data privacy, as well as themselves. And a lot of that work actually does fall to the marketing team. Particularly if they’re having to handle deletion, if a customer comes to them and say: “We have a number of users who have requested deletion, and we now need that process through your company” that can be quite a bit of work for the marketing team to actually go through and pull those user profiles out of their databases and out of their data systems. 

And then they also need to do all of that work for themselves as the data controller for their own sales and marketing efforts. So there’s a lot of complexity and a lot of it actually sort of falls onto the marketing team to work hand in hand with folks like legal and engineering to make sure that the company is well set up and has the right structures in place.


Kate (11:36):

And I think as we’ll get to what’s really interesting is that in a fiercely competitive market, there’s a fairly large brand component of data privacy as well. When you think about the customers that you might want to be going after, let’s just take enterprise as an example where that enterprise potential prospect might be evaluating companies based on their data privacy stances, do they have the right security in place? 

Do they have the right privacy in place? Does this match the type of company that I need to do business with in order to uphold my brand perceptions with the end users that I’m working with? So there are a lot of layers here, particularly from the B2B side. And I think it’s important for marketing to have a strong seat at the table as a part of that conversation.


Alex (12:24):

Yeah. That’s interesting that you say that cause it then almost becomes like a procurement issue as well. And I’ve seen all kinds of procurement forms where they ask about do you have a sustainability policy and obviously they ask about data privacy, but yeah, it feels like it’s becoming a much, much more current topic, which is interesting.

I feel like there’s an expectation around transparency generally in terms of what we expect, how much visibility and transparency we can see from companies that we give our data to and in a B2B or B2C environment, but then the kind of the data rights, the practices, privacy, it changes all over the world. It’s often hard to understand there’s a lot of legal, technical waffle. That’s hard for people to just get their head around. Are there ways that B2B companies can be more transparent around data privacy rights practices?


Tips on how B2B companies can be more transparent in data privacy

Kate (13:12):

Absolutely. I think it starts to your point with really understanding the complexity and making sure that you’re well set up to understand that. And the great thing is that B2B marketers excel at taking complexity and boiling it down into something that people can really understand. So I think when you sort of look at strengths of where B2B market sort of already naturally have chopping up that complexity is something that I think is really powerful and something that B2B marketers will probably lead on across the industry. 

That would be my guess just based on the strengths that they already have, but there are a number of things that B2B marketers can do. The first of which that I like to recommend is really having a journey map of your data. So, CMOs are very familiar with a user journey map, understanding how someone comes in meets your organisation, how they flow through your organisation, the different brand touch points that they have across that, and having the same sort of mapping for data.


Kate (14:16):

Privacy can be incredibly important. It gives you a footprint of your organisation. It helps you understand your responsibilities, particularly on the data processor side. It helps you understand your controller responsibilities with your own sales and marketing activities. And it helps you understand more generally how data flow through your organisation and where it sort of sits. 

Couple key questions to think about are you storing personal data from lead gen to outbound sales motions? You know, are you storing that within your company? Are you passing that along to sort of third party marketing vendors or different components of your tech stack? How easy is it for you to access and delete that data if you’re required to, is that something that you can turn around and really walk the talk on quite quickly? Or does it require quite a bit of effort from your marketing team in order to execute that?


Kate (15:10):

What does your purchasing sort of process look like? Do you purchase data? Do you not? Is that a claim that you sort of uphold from a brand perspective do you sell data and then really understand that from a using sharing, collecting component, I think offers the best way in once you have that sort of top-line map, then you can start to think about how we create more transparency around it. 

I would say most companies that I’ve seen in the B2B space, although not all, but quite a few have sort of the basics, the policy up on a website, the structures that kind of talk through how they might process data. But we’re now looking at this conversation sort of moving forward from an industry perspective. So now might be a good time to revisit a few things.


Kate (16:01):

One, do you have an API for data access and deletion that your customers can easily use? Do you work with a privacy engineering platform can help to make sure you’re honouring your data processing components very quickly and easily. And is that a promise and sort of something that you can show to the prospects and customers that you’re interested in? Are your security protocols, safeguarded? How are you treating end-user data? Because again, all of this can be quite a competitive conversation. 

B2C company that upholds data privacy and wants to make sure that they can talk about the way that they’re safeguarding end-user data. It’s the responsibility of the B2C company to make sure that their partners, in many cases, the B2B companies that they contract with are doing right by the same structures that they have set up. And so it can be helpful to be able to really walk the talk and show specifics around the way you’re going to make it easy, structured, and safe for you to partner with those types of prospects and customers.


Alex (17:08):

Yeah, those are some great tips.


FINITE (17:10):

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Alex (17:30):

I guess this is where the next part of our conversation goes in terms of like this becomes about actually not just an annoying thing that is a box-checking exercise, but actually about providing a superior and better experience ultimately. And actually then beyond that becoming a lever for growth and driving better business results, which I guess historically data privacy hasn’t been looked at in that way, but it feels like that’s kind of where this is going. 

So we can kind of dive into some of that. I guess that with that experience piece in mind, I think there’s so many marketers that have really struggled with implementing simple things like, you know, cookie notification where you have to accept cookies before and later gets dropped. I don’t know, maybe, you know the stats, but I feel like a good 75% of those don’t actually do anything or they’re not functional.


Alex (18:19):

They just, you know, you click a button, but actually, the cookies are dropped anyway. If you carry on using the site, small things like that can actually cause quite big marketing headaches. You know, if you implement that properly, you probably lose a chunk of your analytics data. Like you’ll lose some insight. 

So there are a lot of challenges that come with doing this properly and it feels like there’s a way up and a tough decision to be made a compromise sometimes of do you want to be following data privacy best practice? Or do you want marketing data? 

And maybe they’re not too complete opposite ends of the spectrum, but it can sometimes feel like that for marketers. So how can they do all these things without interrupting their audiences’ experience, but also giving themselves enough good quality data to work with?


How to protect audience data privacy without losing marketing insight

Kate (19:02):

It’s a fantastic question because I think there are so many similarities to the evolution that we have seen in just the core marketing tech stack. And so I would say that even a few years ago, I would’ve agreed with your question completely in the sense that there are a lot of trade-offs to be made. And there is a real lack of great privacy tech stack tools that can help you close the gap and do so efficiently. 

So all of the examples you mentioned, I hear that from companies daily, in terms of not having the right trackers set up that is being managed appropriately from a consent perspective or a cookie banner placement is covering a checkout or a contact us sales bot or is interfering with the chat functionality on the website that’s driving demand and growth. So in many ways, when you think about that, it does sound very binary because you’ve got on the one hand work to try to make your company as compliant as possible.


Kate (20:12):

And then you’ve got real friction with the demand generation and funnels that you have set up. The great news is what’s happening and unfolding really rapidly right this moment is a proliferation of engineered privacy tech tools that remove that covering not just cookies, but 200 types of trackers flexibility on your site, so that you can continue to get the data that you have approval and consent for, but quarantining the data that you don’t, different types of products that speed up your efficiency. 

So your marketing operations or marketing tech lead is not spending 10 to 20% of their time, just processing access and deletion requests from your customers, but is instead of taking that time back because they’ve procured, you know, automation or some other type of tool to help them on that front. And then they’re able to redirect that time into more growth-oriented strategies.


Kate (21:15):

So I would sort of encourage marketers to take a look around the industry, see what’s out there, because there are actually quite a few different types of tools that can help just speed, not only the development of data privacy, but remove some of that historical friction that popped upright. 

As many of these regulations were popping up. And the longer that we have these regulations in place, the smoother and smoother that’s gonna get, where I believe it won’t cause as much of a sort of trade-off and a friction decision point for companies, it will be easier to do. It will be easier to have great data rights and data privacy practices set up because you will have all the tools, you know, at your fingertips to enable you to do that well and still run your business.


Alex (22:02):

Interesting. Yeah. And this is where it then transitions into really becoming a competitive advantage, right? Like done properly. It can positively impact growth and go-to-market and scale across a number of different areas I think I’m conscious of maybe I don’t want to draw the comparison to sustainability as a topic necessarily because you know, different thing. 、

But, I think we’ve seen maybe a similar trend of a lot of companies, really leveraging, really positive perspective on how they view sustainability and the things that they do as really fanning the flames of growth. And do you think that could be the next step when it comes to data privacy?


Data privacy becomes a competing factor

Kate (22:41):

Oh, I know it will be because I hear it already from the companies that we chat with. I hear increased conversations about data privacy in the prospecting, in the procurement phases. I hear a focus on particularly on enterprise customers and sort of winning enterprise deals, more pressure for B2B companies to be able to show competitive advantage around data privacy and data rights. 

And you know, as we started the conversation talking about the consumer, I think it does start there, but I think it also relates to just the increase in regulation that we’re seeing. Companies are having to think about this, not just from an EU perspective anymore, but now soon Virginia, Colorado. 

We’ve got California, which now has one already on the books. And another update to the regulation, you know, coming right down the pike in terms of enactment. And that’s only the start when you zoom out even more, you know, on an international basis, you’re seeing even more data privacy components pop up.


Kate (23:49):

So I think that the companies that lean in quickly on this similar to sustainability are really going to reap rewards both through the demand generation and the growth perspective, but also just in the brand halo that it’s going to get them through their industry. If they can be seen as responsible leaders of end-user data and data rights in general, they are going to be, I believe sort of selected as the winner in those cases where it’s just, you know, it’s neck and neck and it’s edging out, always looking for that advantage of the product and what you’re offering it. 

And this is a key part product that people are interested in looking for to make sure that their data that they’re passing to you is going to be safe ultimately with your organisation. And I think Solarwinds from a security perspective was a very sobering reminder of that and how quickly it can go the other way.


Alex (24:42):

Yeah. And I guess to some extent, I mean hopefully, those events such as Solarwinds don’t keep happening, but with everyone that happens, it shines the spotlight more on this as an important topic, to some extent. So not I’m hoping for more events, such as those to take place, but I guess a silver lining to those types of events is more awareness of the challenges and this as a topic.


Kate (25:04):

That’s exactly right.


Alex (25:05):

Yeah. You mentioned some of the differences in laws and you’ll have to forgive me cause I’m not too familiar with all of the different like federal and state laws and everything in the complexity that you’ve got in the US. Obviously, we’ve got GDPR and all the stuff happening in Europe. I feel like I’ve seen a few websites recently where there’s been like California specific policies and GDPR policies. And is there a risk that we end up with?

I don’t know, a website footer that links to 30 different pages and a web of complexity or I guess maybe that’s where Transcender solution can help kind of consolidate and simplify, but for a lot of our listeners in global fast-growing B2B tech and SaaS businesses, they are having to think about this on a global basis. And it feels like that’s just getting more complicated in lots of respects. What do you think?


Data privacy in the US

Kate (25:49):

Yeah, I think we’re right at an interesting inflection point for the industry based on regulation. I think for the first couple laws that came into place, let’s just take GDPR and CCPA two examples. Although certainly not the only ones. We all sort of thought about and I’m talking we in terms of marketers and compliance, we thought about it as just following each of the individual branches of legislation as regulation starts to increase. 

And as we start to see a massive proliferation of the types of laws that are on the books and the regions that they apply to you and the different nuances of how it might impact your marketing tech stack. So as an example with California’s new regulation, you know, it’s do not sell or do not share data, which sort of opens up a whole other component that you have to think about for inputting that into your marketing tech stack and into your, across your company’s data systems. For other laws, there’s introduction of opt-out of behavioural advertising.


Kate (26:55):

You know, so now you sort of have to think about how you’re going to allow that to happen from a data perspective and from a data system perspective. So I think what we’re seeing in terms of this inflection point is the potential for you to continue to just follow the different branches or to create a system and to get a privacy engineering platform that allows you to just have that sort of middle road that handles everything, every complexity, every structure, a possible nuance, but you can build it all on one tech platform and have that really seamlessly operate across your data tech stack. 

And I think that’s where we’re headed. And that companies that have thought that through are gonna be leaps and bounds ahead of companies that are just sort of playing whack-a-mole with each end of visual component and carve out because it all goes back to the same premise, which is, can you operate on the data that you hold to meet the data right.


Kate (27:56):

That is applicable for that individual circumstance? So it can be your biggest enterprise customer coming to you and saying, here’s a list of data deletions that we need to process. It could be another customer coming to you and saying, we need to make sure that you are opting these people out of X, Y, and Z flows that we use your company for. 

And the proliferation just goes on and on. So you have to really start thinking about what’s the platform and that’s going to enable me to make that possible. Obviously, Transcend, it does that, you know, we’re a privacy engineering platform to enable you to do that. And I think that it will be helpful for folks to really reap the benefits of efficiency behind data privacy, because then that’s when we start to remove the friction. Once we become more efficient, then you can really put your brand behind it.


Kate (28:48):

Then you’re excited to talk about it. Then you’re excited to shout it from the rooftops because you know, you’ve got the system set up to be able to handle it and to go back to our sustainability, you know, sort of analogy that we’ve been talking about. It’s very similar, you know, once you’ve got the structures in place and it’s process, of course, and you’re always gonna be working on improving, but once you’ve got the core structures, you’re going to feel really good about telling your prospects about those structures. 

You’re going to feel really good about making sure your brand for your industry is aligned with sound, data rights and data privacy practices. And you’re going to find that that’s going to be helpful in sort of having that competitive advantage when working with customers who are discerning about data privacy and looking for that. And I think that sort of discernment is only gonna increase as we go.


Alex (29:39):

Yeah, I was thinking of another parallel. That’s interesting that I guess there’s almost like a maturity around data in a similar way to marketing teams reaching a maturity where they need HubSpot and they go for an all in one platform and they move away from spreadsheets and an email tool and things kind of plugged together. And maybe there are some parallels to, you know, a cookie policy and different things around data privacy to stored from places and not really connected and not talking to each other, to moving to a platform that just helps manage everything kind of under one roof.


The transformation of data privacy 

Kate (30:07):

It is such a good example. There are more similarities to that than you would even know. This spreadsheet, in particular, I have talked to many companies that say, wow, we are actually moving off of a spreadsheet. If you can believe it for listing the types of data that we need to process. 

So X company said, we need to delete name, name, you know, date. And so now we actually have to go that through. And so they have a spreadsheet that has everybody tracked against whether or not that’s happening. So that evolution is has a of similarities to think about. And it’s got the same types of benefits on the other end as well.


Alex (30:47):

Yeah. Interesting. Well, there’s a lot there. I think this will definitely get our listeners thinking about data privacy and I’m sure many already are, but if they haven’t been then they definitely will be now. So there are some great insights there. And I think I feel like I’m going to go do some research myself across everything that we do because it’s important to be on top of and have everything kind of house in order on this front. So thank you for sharing everything. It’s been a pleasure talking. Thanks for all the insights.


Kate (31:12):

Thanks for having me. I really enjoyed it.


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