How GDPR can help us transform our Marketing. Let’s take advantage of it.

As we explained in our previous post, 25 May will see the entry into effect of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) across European Union countries, following a two-year transitional period until full implementation.

This new EU regulation will signify a marked transformation of how companies obtain and handle data.

Though we are aware of this impact and the need to make profound changes to adapt to its implementation, we also need to be optimistic with regard to the numerous benefits its day-to-day application can offer Marketing departments.

The greater the quality of the information = The greater the success of our actions = stronger ROI.

GDPR will compel us to “clean out” our databases and update our permissions. It is highly probable that this will signify a reduction in the scope of our actions. Should we be alarmed? No, not necessarily.

With some effort and a sound marketing strategy to generate engagement with our clients and prospects, we will again obtain their consent. If we don’t, let’s think about the following: targeting our communications to a new database comprising only those clients who have opted in can help us boost our results and conversion ratios. For example, the CTR (Click Through Rate).

In short, we should lend preference to the quality of the information rather than to the quantity of registers by training our focus on where we can obtain the greatest return (ROI).

A new approach to marketing

Modern marketing involves designing a more customised Marketing and Communications strategy, together with a deeper understanding of the Customer Journey of our clients and prospects.

The consent of each contact to receiving our information will not be permanent. On the contrary: following a certain period of inactivity their data can no longer be used.

What does this mean? It means that only with creativity and innovation will we be able to demonstrate to our clients the value of each and every one of our interactions. Otherwise we will be “vetoed”. We must evolve from opportunistic, campaign marketing to the marketing of “conversations” and creating relationships.

And there are also deep-seated “practices” and “customs” in marketing departments that will require improvement. For example, following an event, the attendees will then have to authorise us to use their data for any given action. This presents us with a great opportunity to implement automated processes with which to obtain these authorisations; e.g. while thanking them for their attendance we can also measure their satisfaction and send them targeted, customised documentation.

A step forward in the use of technology

CRM tools will be more important now than ever, to enable us to: swiftly identify what personal data we have, or to receive notifications and alerts to help us quickly activate those registers at risk.

We should remember that, although GDPR affects the personal email accounts of each individual, we cannot send mass mailing to lists that have not been updated. Every recipient must have given their express consent and we are obliged to store proof of this in a structured manner. This makes CRM and Marketing Automation solutions in technologies ever more critical when performing these processes, as we are obliged to use the data solely for the purpose stated when furnished, and must delete it when this purpose has been served (campaign, communication, etc.)

Let’s seriously consider using functionalities such as “Preference Centres” and automatic archiving of opt-ins in CRM. They will help us to be much more efficient.

Positive impact on image

GDPR can have a positive impact not only on our database and marketing methods. It can also help to enhance the image of our organisation in the marketplace. Publicising the fact that we are fully prepared for this law means the public will see us as a company committed to excellence and concerned about the confidentiality and security of such sensitive information.

By achieving a significant level of transparency, our organisation will build greater trust on the part of our clients. This is a major cause of controversy nowadays, as shown by the Special Eurobarometer Report:

“70% of Europeans are concerned about the improper use companies may make of their personal data, using it for purposes other than those originally intended”.

This widespread suspicion can lead people to protect their privacy by supplying inaccurate or false personal information (incorrect telephone numbers, invented names, etc.). According to a report by the Pew Research Centre:

“86% of American consumers misrepresent or omit information”.

A pivotal factor

After a rather eventful week, during which the main news focus was on the lack of confidentiality and the improper use of the data shared on social networks, we can say that GDPR arrives at a time when it is more necessary than ever to raise our organisation’s awareness of the importance of protecting and safeguarding both our clients and their data.

According to a recent nationwide study by IDC and Microsoft, companies are expected in 2018 to increase their investment by 44% to adapt their processes and systems to this new regulation. There is particular interest in reviewing and improving the applications that handle personal data (66% of companies), together with their internal communications and employee training (61%). Should these forecasts finally materialise, GDPR will have become a major lever for change in the companies of our country.

We have before us a great opportunity to improve many things. Let’s take advantage of it.