GDPR: Time To Move On

by Garry Lee RedEye

Ok everyone, GDPR has happened and the impact hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as everyone feared (are you old enough to remember the Millennium Bug?). But for some it’s had a serious effect on their database and specifically their ability to communicate with as many people as before. Chances are, you fall into one of three camps:

1. You were given bad advice that led to losing a large proportion of your database
2. You were not affected too badly, but it took up a large amount of time and stopped you doing strategic projects
3. You saw it as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and align everything to your customer needs.

It’s Happened, Dwelling On It Won’t Change The Situation

GDPR exists and it’s not going away. Yes, more guidance would have helped everyone, but the reality is, this ruling exists for a reason. Too many companies persisted in having bad practices in place and controls were clearly needed. In many ways, we, the marketing industry, brought this upon ourselves and the customers are rightly taking back control.

I personally know of some good companies that have great marketing departments that were caught out by some terrible advice. Unfortunately, that’s happened and going back over it won’t drive your business forward. Trust me, the authorities are not suddenly going to listen and change the guidelines!

If you want proof as to how and why change can be a positive – one of the people that asked us a lot of questions about how we collected their details as a prospect, has recently included us in an RFP, partly because of how well we handled their questioning. Here are some of the ways you can deal with the aftereffects of the implementation of GDPR and survive any of the damage done to your database.

I’ve Lost My Database, Panic!

So, you’ve got a smaller pot of people to communicate with. It seems many are reverting to type and focusing solely on acquisition and spending millions on filling up the database again, probably with names that are not engaged with your brand – which may well be what got you into a mess in the first place.

Instead, why not focus on building it with quality over quantity. Collect new people in the right way, only adding people that are clearly engaged with the brand and want to hear from you. Take the opportunity to clean house and link this to a better communication strategy for the future. Too often companies confuse database size with customer base size and certainly engaged customer base size. Just because you had a large database, it doesn’t mean it was successful.

As you rebuild your database, take the opportunity to learn more about these new people as you add them. Give them the chance to tell you more about themselves so as you begin this new communication journey with them, you might actually end up sending them things that are relevant to them. Then maybe, just maybe, they will be more likely to join the loyal base that you build your business around. This is your chance to stand out as a brand that understands and considers your customers.

Treat Your Loyal Customers Better

Talking of a better communication strategy, how about you put a far greater emphasis on those customers left on the database. They, more than anyone else, deserve your attention. They deserve a personalised communication plan that delivers them what they want, when they want it, via the channel they want it in.

So, now is the time to seek out the right MarTech to fit your future. What should you look out for? I’m glad you asked.

1. Deliver real automation: Integrate CDP with your MA tool

You need to maximise your database now more than ever, so you need to ensure that your core data is directly linked to the tool you are using to deliver communications. This gives you the only real chance of delivering a joined-up message to your customers, regardless of the channel they are using. It also gives you true automation, which is key if you are to do the things you are good at. The brand. The messaging. The strategy.

To do that, you need to automate as much of the comms plan as possible, take the grunt work away and let the system do the work. Ensure your provider can deliver seamless automation and that you can have hundreds of campaigns in place that are working for you on an hourly basis.

2. Predict the future

Why not take that one step further? Don’t just rely on customers performing key actions that kick off an automated campaign, anticipate their needs and send campaigns that will actually make a difference.

Choose a solution that delivers genuine predictive models. They should work across your data to predict next likely actions and help you decide on the best way to communicate with those customers that have stayed loyal to you. Work hard for them, they deserve it.

3. Proper support – not sales people

A recent Gartner CMO Report stated that one of the principle reasons CMOs are not maximising their MarTech spend is a lack of good human resources. So, either you need to fully staff your teams, which is often hard to justify in your budget, or find a solution that is properly supported. That isn’t your provider allocating a glorified sales manager, it means people working on the account that know your strategy, understand your brand and who will add value – it’s a cliché but they need to feel like part of your own team. That way, you get strategic support as well as advice on maximising the tool you bought.

So, in a post GDPR world, remember the following:

1. Stop grumbling, it’s happened already
2. Rebuild your database responsibly and with customers who are genuinely engaged
3. Put a greater emphasis on those loyal customers you still have
4. Use this opportunity of change to get the right strategy in place, supported by the right MarTech.

Discover more about GDPR here.