Forget the fear factor, GDPR will be a force for good

julian saundersMost marketers will have woken up to the fact that the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to radically alter how digital marketing works. Much of the talk in the media is cause for sleepless nights as it focuses on the crippling fines marketers could incur for minor transgressions of a seemingly complex piece of legislation.
However, this is little more than scaremongering. For marketers with a flair for innovation and a desire to create more efficient and effective campaigns, GDPR is actually a godsend.
The main thrust of GDPR is the promotion of transparency, accountability and control over the use of personal data by organisations. It has far reaching consequences for how data is collected, held, secured and used. The main component for marketers is gaining explicit consent from people to receive marketing messages.
In essence, people need to explicitly opt-in to receive messages, they need to give consent on how their data is analysed and used, they should be able to revoke their consent at any time and demand that their data is either sent to them (porting), edited or deleted.
This is nothing to be feared for the simple fact that it forces organisations to remove the dead wood from their marketing databases and optimise their marketing. By running a campaign to gain explicit opt-ins for future marketing messages a database may whittle down from say 200,000 to 20,000 customers. However, these 20,000 customers are naturally highly engaged and ripe for conversion.
The result could be a huge reduction in send volumes and, therefore, the price of individual email or SMS campaigns, as well as much greater scope for innovation and experimentation. For example, segmentation of a smaller, highly engaged customer base can enable hyper-personalised messages. Analysing the results of campaigns will provide richer insights.
More variations and experimentation with campaigns can take place because of budget savings from ending large volume pray and spray sends. Naturally, the ROI for each campaign should be much higher – unless your marketing has intrinsic flaws. In which case, a post-GDPR world will make this abundantly clear, allowing rectification of these issues.
The marketing world in general should soon see higher standards. Spamming should be a thing of the past and, with customers empowered to remove their consent, marketers will have to be much more considered in the messages and tactics they use.
To become compliant with GDPR most companies will need to invest in data management technology solutions. Again, this will be a boon to marketers because data management architecture underpins more advanced personalisation, targeting and analysis of marketing spend. Including, enabling a single customer view and attribution modelling.
The best marketers will approach becoming GDPR compliant as a grand opportunity to radically improve the effectiveness and quality of their campaigns. It is nothing to be feared.

Julian Saunders is founder of data management and GDPR compliance solution Port

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