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The hottest topic of the year, what are the the implications of the new GDPR rules on digital marketing?

As the rules around collecting, storing, sharing, and using personal data set to change with GDPR, it’s all too easy for businesses to become spooked by these impending changes, and the media headlines that go with them; leaving businesses asking so many questions, and feeling reluctant to use the data they hold for their customers, particularly for marketing purposes.

Whilst the new rules around GDPR will affect digital marketing efforts, we think it’s really important for businesses to feel confident about their marketing, so here, we explore what the new GDPR rules really mean for digital marketing.

Digital marketing and GDPR: what it really means

No more assumptions: under the new rules, consent must be given by the individual to the business, and consent must not be assumed. This means that things like silent consent, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity no longer equal consent, and rather the individual must provide a ‘positive opt-in’ to receive information.

What this means for marketing: although this will inevitably shrink your email marketing and direct marketing lists, ensuring individuals consciously ‘opt-in’ to receive information from you also ensures a better engagement rate; quality over quantity. This will also have a positive effect on your conversion rate.

Having a ‘legitimate interest’: where individuals perhaps haven’t given their expressed consent to be contacted by a business, in some cases, businesses can argue having a ‘legitimate interest’ to contact someone. This is not a ‘way around’ GDPR, but rather refers to the way in which a business communicates with an individual surrounding:

  • Data processing
  • Fraud protection
  • Security measures
  • Transferring data between different parts of an organisation
  • Having a legal obligation to communicate with an individual (e.g. as part of a contract)

What this means for marketing: your reason for contacting an individual must be real and not too vague, and you must be able to prove your reasoning. It doesn’t mean you have to stop communicating with individuals completely.

Buying lists: as consent needs to be clearly given by the individual for use by an organisation, third party data providers will be affected, and a lot will lose their lists; volumes of data will decrease, and buying lists will inevitably become more expensive.

What this means for marketing: this is actually a really good thing for marketing! Low quality lists from dodgy providers will slowly decrease, and the need for businesses to grow their own, organic lists will increase. Whilst this may feel like a lot of work, and means that pools of data will dry up, it also means that the individuals on your lists will want to hear from you. This is an opportunity to stop relying on third parties, and create your own exclusive pool of data; people who are really engaged with your brand!

Don’t let GDPR scare you

Essentially, don’t let GDPR scare you, and certainly don’t let it hinder your marketing efforts.

GDPR is coming into force to protect individuals not penalise businesses, and will actually lead to some interesting opportunities around data and digital marketing.

Rather than viewing it as a punishment and a reason to stop marketing to individuals in certain ways, use it as a reason to improve the quality of your lists and a way of improving your overall conversion rates.

You’ll end up marketing to individuals who want to know about what you’re doing and what your selling, rather than wasting your time and money talking to anyone and everyone who won’t really care, and will end up putting your emails or letters straight in their trash. If you’d like to know more about GDPR and how we can help you communicate with your customers, contact us today.

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