GDPR May Be Great for Marketing
If you think that something called the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) only applies to EU-based companies, think again!
GDPR affects any multinational organization doing business in the EU and all companies that store personal data of EU citizens. And it brings with it a specter of significant fines/damages, to the tune of millions, if you aren’t compliant. Given that, why would anyone suggest it’s the best thing to happen to marketing?
Since the dawn of the trade, marketing has sought to gather as much insight about consumers as possible. We’ve hosted customer focus groups; observed consumers from behind two-way mirrors; followed consumers around the store with clipboards; invented the loyalty program and more. And then there are surveys. Oh, the surveys we’ve conducted! And now with digitization, we have intensified those efforts. We’re dropping cookies and using location services to surreptitiously observe consumer behaviors. We’re making programmatic ad buys based on the behaviors and attributes a DMP thinks apply to specific individual consumers.
Why does it seem like we’re spying on our consumers?
For too long, we have justified clandestinely gathering all of this consumer insight, because our intentions are pure. Our goal is to provide a gloriously personalized customer experience across the entirety of the brand. Unfortunately, we assumed that as marketers, it is our job to dig up all of that often-personal consumer data. Fortunately, GDPR allows us to move beyond that fallacy.
First and foremost, the GDPR regulations stipulate that the consumer opts in before the business can collect any personally identifiable information (PII) on the consumer or market to her based on that data. On the surface, you may think this would limit marketing’s understanding of the consumer and, thereby, its ability to reach the consumer in a personally meaningful way. However, this is specifically where GDPR becomes the best thing to happen to marketing.
GDPR empowers consumers to decide what data a marketer can use and specifically what can be done with it. So, while marketers have to explain to consumers the value of sharing their data in exchange for a heightened and more personalized experience, the chances are that if consumers get the commensurate value back, they will gladly share their data. Especially, as long as they know what you, as a marketing organization, are going to do with it and how you’re going to protect them.
What an awesome opportunity. Marketing now gets to proactively talk to customers about all the things they’re able to do to provide an elegantly personalized experience, as well as show how they are simultaneously protecting their valuable personal data. What better way to show your customers that they are the center of your universe and establish credibility in the marketplace?
Related story: Don’t Think GDPR Will Impact You? Think Again