It has been one year since the fear was put into business and marketers alike.

Opt-in campaigns were all the rage and many saw the value of their databases diminish overnight.

The sudden realisation that we had to have data, about data, created confusion and frustration. For me, I became addicted to Visio. Data workflows and process maps.

Despite the burden and workload, the General Data Protection Regulation brought to all sectors, it is important to remember that all organisations had 20 years to comply. The Data Protection Act 1998.

Without going into the intricate details, GDPR (Data Protection Act 2018) focussed on three key areas:

  • Permission for processing
  • Inclusion of digital practices
  • Changing the rules surrounding the fines which can be imposed on companies

As many will reiterate, the focus is on the customer. Data needs to be treated as currency. You wouldn’t give your money away for nothing. The same can be said for data.

If your marketing practices involve collecting data from third parties or scraping it from online profiles – then that information has not been given freely by the data owner.

The last thing I want this blog to be is another article on GDPR and what you need to do to comply with.

The rules are clear:

  • Audit your processes
  • Justify your stance and policy on data with documentation
  • Ensure your marketing activities and data transactions are adhering to the rules set

So what is the point of this post?

Having worked on GDPR, it got me thinking about what our focus should be in the post-GDPR world.

Last year, media coverage of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, brought digital marketing, and the types of data we are collecting, into the public domain.

The power we have as marketers through digital has pushed us to invest heavily in this one area. I’m calling it now – we have created a digital silo.

With all the media and literature surrounding marketing, we seem to be in an era where digital marketing is pitched as the silver bullet.

Marketing nirvana.

Yet, GDPR is not the only regulation we need to be aware of – PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations) sits alongside GDPR concerning direct marketing.

This is due to be updated to the ePrivacy regulations.

The concept of consent impacts all areas of digital marketing. Especially if customers opt-out of cookies and other analytics.

Goodbye to remarketing, custom audiences and optimising biddable media! The new regulations at the time of writing, are still pending review.

And I guess that’s why there’s so much concern.

We have invested heavily in digital marketing, that the new rules are imposing a risk to our current set-up.

But let’s not see this as a negative – it provides us with new opportunities in a post-GDPR world. Here are a few ideas:

1. Be customer-centric – review marcomms and optimise processes

One of the activities we have had to engage in with GDPR is mapping out our data flows. Justifying the how, what, why, of all our processes.

This audit now presents us with invaluable information – it’s the outline of our student/customer journey.

We constantly talk about user experience and optimising campaigns. Now there’s an opportunity to go through the journey from their perspective.

Not only does this enable us to identify areas in which we can create tailored and personalised content. But also review how these messages are disseminated to them. Our marcomms must have substance if we want our customers to engage with them.

You can check out my previous blog on the distribution of content marketing here.

2. Incorporate a broader marketing mix

New technology has given us new toys to play with. We have been tempted by the analytics available.

Sure, there are many products within this realm, but they should be seen as channels – not strategies.

Think of it from a customer’s perspective – how many other mediums do they engage with? Out-of-home (OOH), radio, TV, newspapers, email, texts, apps, instant messages, magazines, search, streaming channels, voice-activated assistants… the list goes on.

There are so many outlets now, that we need to look at an integrated approach.

If we put all our eggs into one basket, we are limiting our own potential. More importantly, what is driving them to search online? Were they prompted by something outside of the web? Was it a recommendation from a friend or an influencer?

If customers opt-out of digital tracking, digital marketing will be in the same predicament as other media. We need to broaden our marketing mix and focus on creating integrated campaigns to ensure brand longevity and recall.

I’ve covered how we can track media outside the digital realm in another blog. 

3. Be market-led with your portfolio

If you go back to marketing theory (varies depending on which model you refer too), there are the 7 Ps:

  • Place
  • Product
  • Promotion
  • Price
  • People
  • Process
  • Physical evidence

What this shows is how broad marketing actually is. When you think about it, we are promoting products/services to a market – but which approach works for our market? Who is our target market and what are they demanding?

By limiting ourselves to just focussing on marcomms, we have isolated ourselves from the origins of our portfolio and how it is delivered to the customer.

We live in a world where customers are much more aware of the tactics we use.

Even though we come up with buzzwords such as Growth Hacking, the reality is in a post-GDPR world we need to actively encouraging customers to come to us.

We have to ensure that we create something which takes into consideration all elements of the marketing mix:

Share your thoughts

Has GDPR impacted on your marketing activities? What changes have you made to adjust to this new world? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @CJPanteny.

See you next time.

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