Picture the scene. You’re a marketer who has been tasked with the challenge of ensuring your customers know about a brand new product being launched by your company. You’re under pressure to deliver quickly. You draft an email advertising the specifications and send it to your entire customer database. Job done?
Failing to make the most of the data at your fingertips and instead adopting lazy marketing practices is going to deliver poor results. If customers are receiving information that is irrelevant, using a medium they do not like and at a time when they may not be at their most receptive, you’re going to lose their business.
A return to more human-focused communication
Thankfully, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), due to be implemented later this month, will lead to a return to a more human-focused approach to communicating with customers. Often referred to as the biggest shake-up in data regulation, GDPR replaces the Data Protection Act, which was implemented back in 1998 long before many of today’s marketing channels existed. GDPR applies to any company in possession of EU data and should be taken seriously, with significant fines and reputational damage at stake for those who fail to comply. The regulation is set to increase transparency between brands and consumers, ultimately leading to more mutually beneficial relationships.
Under GDPR, there are several legal grounds under which businesses can contact customers. One which is commonly discussed in the media is consent, but other legal grounds such as legitimate interest also enable brands to contact their customers. It is essential that marketers take the time to understand the new rules. Plus, customers need to be given the chance to opt-out at every stage. If marketing is timely and permissioned, opt-out rates will remain low, but lazy marketing will increase opt-outs. Businesses should be aware – once a customer is out, they are out for good!
Marketers should also think outside the box when it comes to the medium they use to keep in touch with customers. If relying on legitimate interest, direct mail is a legally safer option. Not only this, but it is proven to resonate with consumers, providing an inobtrusive and tangible alternative to email marketing.
There is no question that data is an integral part of how most modern businesses function. Now, more than ever, it is critical to ensure that this data is the right data. A key component of GDPR requires businesses to keep data up-to-date and accurate or deleted. In essence, clean it or lose it. Laziness is no excuse.
Thankfully there are services available which can ensure your data is cleaned in real-time. And the benefits for brands will be vast. Take direct marketing, for example. If you market to the previous address of an individual who has relocated, you’re wasting your marketing budget. Plus, you could be losing contact with a previously engaged customer, whilst the current occupants of the property will be critical of a brand that is inundating them with a previous tenant’s post.
By keeping your data up to date, you’ll know when and where someone has moved, and continue to make the most of that relationship – saving money in the process.
Marketers should be looking forward to GDPR. It will bring forth a more positively engaged customer base – one that now knows what data a business possesses, how they are going to use it, when and why. Marketers need to make sure that their interactions with customers are exceptional across every interaction they have. And GDPR will act as a catalyst to ditch outdated, lazy marketing practices and usher in a more profitable age of marketing.