While the coronavirus pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone in terms of safeguarding our health and learning to live with restricted social freedoms, it has undoubtedly afforded us an opportunity to revolutionise the way we work.
Now we’ve had a couple of months for the dust to settle, we explore what challenges the regulations have created for businesses in terms of marketing, and what opportunities they present moving forwards.
The GDPR is aimed at granting greater power to individuals over how their data is managed and ensuring that any companies operating in the EU are held accountable for the misuse of data.
How has GDPR impacted marketing?
The most notable shake-up in marketing in the wake of the GPDR is that firms can no longer blast promotional emails out to any and all customers but can only communicate with those who have explicitly opted in to continue receiving promotional material.
Going forward consent needs to be ‘freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous’ and reinforced by ‘clear affirmative action’ from the user. No more sneaky pre-ticked boxes at checkout allowing businesses to bombard their customers with newsletters!
Furthermore, individuals in the EU now have the ‘right to be forgotten’, allowing them to request the removal of outdated or inaccurate personal data.
This also pertains to customer data held by businesses, with firms now required to have a clear process for users to access the data a company holds on them and to request its removal.
This has resulted in some culling of valuable user data from marketing firms, especially as customers become increasingly aware of privacy concerns following the Cambridge Analytica Facebook scandal.
In this new environment, marketers have to be more disciplined in what data they collect, with the GDPR requiring firms to legally justify the processing of any personal data.
While having reams of data on an individual can be useful to build a customer profile for them, businesses will now have to consider whether knowing a consumers’ favourite animal is necessary to their customer journey!
Given that failure to comply with the GDPR can led to fines of up to €20 million ($22.1 million) or 4% of global revenue (whichever is greater) marketers are understandably concerned about falling foul of the regulations.
Taking opportunity of the changing marketing landscape
However, while GDPR may be a hurdle for some, firms willing to openly rethink their marketing strategy may find that the post-GDPR landscape offers plenty of opportunities.
In fact now is a great time for marketers to overhaul their old scattergun approach.
Using feedback from the GDPR consent forms makes it easier to work out which marketing campaigns were effective and which ones turned off their customers.
This can help businesses to narrow the scope of their marketing campaigns so they are more focused and relevant to users and so that marketing budgets are spent more effectively.
Furthermore, the added transparency in data handling procedures bought in by the GPDR can also work in a business’s favour by building a new level of trust with consumers.
Recent studies suggest that up to 90% of online shoppers have expressed concern over the security of their personal data, offering a great chance for businesses to promote how they are going the extra mile to protect their customers.
If you’re looking for new ways to collect data, offering custom tailored content like guides and brochures in exchange for contact details is just one way in which a business may look to gain user consent.
Meanwhile, recent innovations in technology are helping marketers communicate with users in new and more efficient ways without having to collect mountains of personal data.
For instance, many companies are now looking to employ contextual adverts as part of their marketing strategy, analysing content in real time to target ads where they will have the most impact.
Firms should also look into new ways of utilising their social media presence, many prospective clients’ first point of contact with a business may now be through their social media accounts and leveraging this through social selling should play a crucial role in your new marketing strategy.
While the GDPR is no doubt a headache for many marketers, those willing to look at their strategies from a different angle may find that the new regulations have actually helped to liberate them from the stale marketing habits they’ve fallen into in recent years.