The importance of data protection in marketing and why marketers must not cross the ‘creepy’ line.
When it comes to data quality, GDPR was a game-changer. For all the fear-mongering, it’s had an enormously positive impact on marketing.
It’s put the customer’s interest front and centre, where it always should have been. For too long companies believed that any and all data belonged to them when really it forever belonged to the consumer.
Despite the change that GDPR has brought, there remain significant data opportunities for brands. Personal data remains the world’s most valuable resource.
You can still use the information you collect on customers to enhance your engagement with them however irrelevant mass emails will soon prompt people to think how a brand got their private information and that’s when the creepy line starts to get crossed.
Data regulation should act as a gatekeeper for brands, allowing them to continue to communicate effectively with their existing customers and prevent them from conducting poor marketing. Regulation is good for customers, and best is driving practice for brands, in large part due to the ‘explicit consent’ requirement.
It’s important marketing teams see this requirement as a positive one. Why? It gets rid of poorly thought out ‘one size fits all’ email marketing campaigns. Spray and pray sales tactics will (hopefully) become extinct, as brands are forced to tailor and target campaigns aligned to what they know their customers want.
It’s important to point out that we are still in the early days of data protection and the high-profile blunders and fines to hit big brands including British Airways and Marriot International are examples of the transition period we’re now going through.
To be successful companies need to embody this simple principle; “never do anything with someone else’s data that you wouldn’t want someone else to do with yours”.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing in a recent report found 57% of consumers don’t trust brands to use their data responsibly. It’s up to brands to repair this loss of trust by ensuring consumer data is being put to good use, to give them better experiences, whilst always allowing them a means to object and opt-out.
Data provides significant information about your customer base and so should be used and used well – providing the customer has provided the right consent. Relevant, responsive and well thought out execution of personalisation to warm prospects allows brands to ensure they stay clear of ‘creepy’ or ‘questionable’ use of customer information especially if the message is over-aggressive. If a brand is looking to engage their audience they should think about the right channels to utilise for doing so.
Targeted social and email can be less effective than a well thought out personalised piece landing at the customers home.
We all just need to keep marketing communications relevant and informative using data and do unto others what we would have done to us.
Written by Steve Kinder, Co-Founder and CTO at Paperplanes