Medialab has labelled the proposed new EU data protection legislation the biggest marketing challenge for a generation.
To understand why, look to Germany to see how its opt-in law is set to clip Google’s wings. Following a recent court ruling, processing data that reveals aspects of private life is unlawful unless users give their explicit consent. What’s more, the law applies to each collection source - Google’s practice has been to apply one permission to combined data collected across all its services.
Soon, all EU countries will be obliged to gain an opt-in. Tacit agreement implied by people not ticking an opt-out box will generally not be enough. But many brand marketers are seemingly unaware of - or unconcerned about - having to persuade customers to tick the opt-in box if they want to continue marketing to them. Unless brands can collect enough opt-ins before the law comes into force, this legislation will limit the wide use of personalised direct marketing.
Even before the EU law arrives, consumers have become increasingly cautious about revealing personal information - concerned about who will have access to their data, how it will be used and how it will be stored and protected. This has prompted them to look at permission statements more closely before deciding whether to allow further marketing contact.
The tenth wave of the fast.MAP Marketing GAP Report, launched on 7th November, revealed:
The DMA has recently invited debate on the “ancient” art of copy writing. One of the greatest “improvement opportunities” is at the point brands ask a consumer for consent to market. This pure copywriting challenge has the key attribute of immediate accountability. However, weak-willed marketers often delegate sole responsibility to lawyers with catastrophic consequences and then wonder why their database diminishes.
If marketers can start to evaluate the commercial value of consent in the same way as customer lifetime value, this will change the nature of the debate. We have developed a metric - Incremental Permission Value (IPV) - of the benefit to a business of each additional 1 per cent of consumers who consent to marketing.
Until now, brands could not measure whether the wording of their permission statements was generating the maximum response. To take the guesswork out of the process, fast.MAP has linked with data protection and permission-maximisation consultancy Opt-4 to build a new industry standard, Data Permissions Benchmark. By comparing current or proposed permission statement wording with actual results from thousands of consumers, the Benchmark allows marketers to measure quickly potential opt-in rates for both first- and third-party statements.
This will show what works and what doesn’t, compare the scores against the benchmarks, and gain insights into how and why consumers share their data. Each statement’s wording is benchmarked against the 14 key attributes which affect sharing: clear, trustworthy, honest, flexible, appealing, inviting, reassured, gives confidence, rewarding, control, welcoming, values me, gives me choice, my data will be safe.
Results can be compared with statements which perform highly in areas where the benchmarked statement is underperforming in order to identify beneficial changes, refine and re-test. Director of Opt-4, Rosemary Smith, says: “Live testing of multiple-data protection statements creates an untidy legacy of consumer promises that brands are obliged to honour. Benchmarked research is the sensible alternative.”