As the new changes come into force this month, we take a look at how the GDPR is creating new opportunity for the marketing industry.
Recap: What is GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new, Europe-wide law that replaces the Data Protection Act 1998 in the UK. It is part of the wider package of reform to the data protection landscape that includes the Data Protection Bill. The GDPR sets out requirements for how organisations will need to handle personal data from 25 May 2018.
While GDPR will undoubtedly place a number of demands on a business, many would contend that its arrival is to be embraced, not feared, and that the new legislation represents a genuine opportunity to improve marketing activity, build trust and confidence with customers and ultimately deliver better returns.
Getting GDPR ready has been a complex and gruelling task. For some companies, it’s likely to be a complete shift in mentality. There was a time when marketers would hoard customers’ details, but many of these people will have handed over their information without thinking about it – not necessarily because they really want to receive further communications. This leaves brands with an extensive, but diluted, database.
With GDPR requiring customers to actively opt-in to handing over their data, businesses can be more confident that they are engaging with an interested audience, and can be much more focused on how they go about their work and campaigns.
In that sense, GDPR actually does a lot of the work filtering out those customers who are simply never going to engage with a business after making a purchase – and instead leaves brands with a much more primed audience.
The stipulation that companies must have a lawful basis or explicit consent for contacting customers, will shift the focus from who has the largest database to who has the most engaged. This means that in a GDPR world, every person in a company’s marketing database will have a sincere reason for giving consent to receive marketing, and as a result, their customers are likely to be more interested in what the brand has to say. This will have a positive impact on the return on investment, simply because you will be communicating to a much more responsive audience that is already familiar and engaged with your brand.
In addition, communicating with an engaged audience will enable marketers to build up a more accurate picture of who their customers are. By removing records of people with little or no interest in a company, the insight gained from campaigns becomes much more valuable, as it comes from people who have a genuine interest in – or have taken the time to interact with – the brand. As a result, a much more reliable picture of the consumer’s behaviour and purchasing trends can be compiled (providing the necessary controls are in place for how that data is collected and used).
The days of dreading being inundated with emails when the shop assistant asks for an email address to ‘send out a receipt’ are almost over! The GDPR is designed to give customers control over where and when their data is used – and to stop them falling into traps of unwittingly giving away their data.
The upshot is increased trust in brands. Knowing that consumers’ data won’t be taken advantage of, means that customers will be more willing to share information with brands where they have a genuine interest. It will also help to combat some of the fatigue around email marketing, meaning that we can expect engagement rates with campaigns to improve.
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