Final discussions are due to take place on 15th December that will define how the General Data Protection Regulation turns out. That means the new legal framework for data-driven marketing could be approved in early 2016 giving practitioners a two-year window of opportunity during which to adjust.
With the arrival of the new law, there will be a lot of scary headlines. Lawyers will be out in force warning about the dire consequences of getting it wrong. Given the proposal for fines of up to 5 per cent of global turnover, they may have a point. But the sky is not falling in - we are all just going to have to adapt to some climate change.
With that in mind, here are three ways to get ready that will move your marketing into the right place.
1 - Start to think like a consumer
It is noticeable that when you ask marketers about what they consider to be best practice with data and communications, they will offer up personal experiences. That is actually a good place to start - businesses are no longer rigid structures that bend the individuals working there to fit an existing framework. Instead, they are groups of people who share a vision and bring those personal experiences to bear on defining the marketing framework.
Had a good customer experience with Apple or John Lewis? That is not just your own benchmark, but that of your customers, too. So you need to identify the brands who are getting it right when it comes to collecting personal information and deploying it in their marketing and follow their lead. Pick ones with values that align with your own business, of course. But bring your inner consumer to work and you won’t go far wrong.
2 - Work out your data narrative
How do you engage with your customers from their first (anonymous) interaction online to the moment they become a repeat purchaser? What information do you capture from them at each step and how is this replayed to them during that lifecycle? We have become very familiar with the concept of the customer journey, but less discussion has taken place about the role data plays in supporting or shaping it.
That means recognising where personal information is critical to the narrative and where you can run an interaction without it. Under the new Regulation, there may be more disruption of existing journeys because consumers decide not to give their consent for your marketing or profiling. Rather than let those individuals drift away, determine how you can put your brand in front of them using other data sources, such as third party information on their needs, actions and life events.
3 - Be transparent
One of the big new consumer rights to emerge in the revised Regulation could be the much-debated “Right to be forgotten and to erasure”. This revision will give consumers back control over their personal data. In principle, there is no more obvious sign of badly targeted, irrelevant marketing than a consumer asking to be taken off your database. But in reality it is not that different from an email unsubscribe.
Given that the majority of businesses are keen to retain as many customers as possible for as long as possible, the focus is on marketing to shape up and respond to this new revision.
Get your targeting, timing and messaging right and consumers will not want you to forget them, even if they are not in the market for your product or service right now. Even lapsed customers can be kept warm by providing an ongoing insight into how your brand is developing and reminding them why they bought from you in the first place.
This may sound like a lot of change and in some respects it is. Marketing needs to become more end-to-end and continuous if it is going to build consumer relationships for the long term. The good news is that there will be two years during which to test and refine this new model. Even better news is that, by meeting consumer expectations and respecting their new rights, your data-driven marketing should become even more effective.
Royal Mail Data Services, in conjunction with DataIQ, will be hosting a roundtable followed by a buffet dinner on 18 January 2016 at the Mondrian Hotel, London. The purpose of the roundtable is to discuss and debate the issues and challenges surrounding the use and management of customer data. To request an invitation to participate in the roundtable discussion, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org