[ Blog ] GDPR: Embrace the change

Those four letters that, well, frankly everyone has heard enough of, but those nodding off at the back of the class bear with me here. As I’ve just eluded to, there has been plenty of ‘What is GDPR?’ and ‘Stop! Panic! GDPR is bad’, not to mention the Game of Thrones analogy of ‘GDPR is coming’. They key here though is that not a single one of those thinks about what this means and how we can see GDPR as a positive.

Having worked in marketing technology for my whole (albeit relatively short) career I am used to change – vendors release new functionality a minimum of every quarter. We all see this as new and exciting, namely because it doesn’t radically change your marketing techniques granted. Nonetheless though, if we treat new legislation such as GDPR in the same way we have a fantastic opportunity to lead from the front.

So, how can it be a good thing? Well, not to mention the obvious but it is there to stop the email blast to 100k people once a month (so 2005). If we look a little deeper though it brings about an item I feel very strongly about – relevance. Relevance is perhaps the biggest consideration – GDPR essentially forces you to market in a way that builds relationships because by having people opt in to specific categories you are talking to them on a level and on a subject matter that they want to be talked to on. So, stop for a moment, consider carefully what your ‘specific categories’ are and make sure you are creating relevant journeys for those who are really interested.

This segways nicely into my next point – focus. I fully appreciate that marketing has been about packing the top of the funnel for years now but North Korea has been a dictatorship since its inception – it doesn’t make it right. The top of the funnel has shifted and rightly so. We no longer focus on ‘data’ – the argument that I can get x MQLs, opps and closed deals from a database of 50k records is no longer. Now we focus on a significant pot of ‘engaged’ leads. By focusing on a smaller number of leads who are showing buying signals you will see an increase. How? For me it is simple: you make sure you create personas and build tailored customer journeys (coming back to my first point of relevance). “How good will it get?” you ask. Honestly, I don’t know, and it depends on a number of factors, but there will be an increase simply because you are presenting content that the reader wants to consume, and at the right time.

Focus and relevance are not reserved for the channel of email only; GDPR shifts even more emphasis on a multi-channel approach to your marketing. Social will become (if it hasn’t already) a core channel for you. Here you’ll need to figure out which tactics to use on what channels and there is certainly going to be a period of learning but your marketing conversion will be all the better for it – that I can guarantee as I have seen it many times over.

Now, with the technology at your fingertips, the ability to personalise the customer journey has never been easier (note I didn’t say ‘easy’, but nothing good is, as they say). Using social you can personalise their first touch with you and using web personalisation you can personalise their second. Web personalisation is an underused tool in B2B which means there is an opportunity for you to be the ones who can pioneer a true customer journey in your industry. Finally, we then have the opportunity to continue that personalised journey through nurture as we know who they are, what they’re interested in and when they want to be presented with information.

With a bit of a switch in mentality, and a real focus on the customer and personalising journeys specifically to your personas, you will see the results you need. It may seem like all I have discussed is change and that means time and effort – true, I have, but consider the fact that whilst none of what I have discussed is new, not many companies have truly adopted this kind of approach. So, come on, embrace the change, lead the way and leave the nay-sayers behind.

For more in-depth insight into these topics watch our on-demand webinar, five steps for marketers to turn GDPR into potential, NOT problems

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