Marketing has changed substantially over the years, especially after the rise of the internet and the social media. However, some of the marketing principles have remained unchanged even today. Personalization is one of those principles. In fact, in the digital era, customers want personalisation more than ever. From newsletter emails to social media notifications, everything includes personalisation in the modern world.
However, the growing threat of cybersecurity has forced customers to take every form of personal data breach seriously. That’s why the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now in enforcement. It gives EU citizens more control over their data. They can decide which data to share, how should it be used, and even deleted altogether.
It’s only natural for most marketers to think that GDPR is going to make personalisation impossible. But, they are wrong. It’s not going to be the end of the world. If anything, personalisation can flourish in the GDPR age.
Let’s see how.
1. Consent Is the Key
One of the first things digital marketers need to know about the GDPR is that it doesn’t prevent any commercial organisation from collecting personal data from their prospects. However, people have the control over the data sharing decision. In other words, it all comes down to their consent.
According to the law, although your company is outside the EU jurisdiction, you will need to get explicit consent from EU residents to collect and/or use their data. You should also use the data for the intended purposes only. For example, if a customer has willingly shared their email ID to receive newsletters, you can use the email address solely for the intended purpose, nothing else.
2. People Share the Data for the Right Reasons
Fortunately, people are still willing to share their personal information for the right reasons. In fact, more than half of the people are willing to share their personal information only with the organisation they trust. However, 85% of them will do it if the link between the data they share and the benefits they get is crystal-clear, 87% will do so if the benefits of sharing the data are made explicitly clear from the start, while 88% of people would also like to know how an organization will collect and use their data.
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These numbers should serve as a wake-up call to the retailers that have been collecting and using consumer data using dubious tactics. On the other hand, you can take this as an opportunity to devise honest and transparent ways to collect personal data from your customers.
As your prospects are sharing the information after knowing the benefits it brings, they are more likely to make a purchase. Thus, complying with GDPR will not only improve your trust quotient but also allow you to build a list of loyal customers.
Better customer experience leads to more publicity, which in turn, drives more customers to your brand. However, trust also encourages people to share more data willingly. The more the data, the better your personalisation will be. Hence, GDPR will also provide you with the opportunity to provide real value for money to your customers through personalisation. Sounds great, right?
3. How Do You Go about Personalization
Great as it may sound, implementing this new approach towards personalisation isn’t going to be a cakewalk. In the beginning, digital marketers will encounter many obstacles. Usually, as a marketer, you will be facing three different scenarios given below.
A. No Consent and No Personal Data
For any digital marketer, this is the worst case scenario for implementing personalization in the GDPR era. Chances are, like most organisations, you may have collected personal data without adequate consent over time. If so, you had your chance to get permission from your customers and make your database GDPR compliant until 25th May 2018. There is nothing you can do about it now. Your old database is useless.
What you can do, however, is to start building a new database for personalised marketing in the future. You will need to go back to the basic marketing strategies such as offering seasonal discounts, stock clearance sales, credit card or mobile wallet payment discounts, and capitalising on the latest trends. In other words, you will need to start from scratch.
On the plus side though, none of these marketing strategies violates GDPR as they don’t need personal data or consent from your consumers. For example, a restaurant can offer a deal of the day for a selected number of meals. You can collect personal data from the customers (with their consent of course) using this marketing tactic.
B. Limited Consent and Inadequate or No Personal Data
Most marketers are likely to encounter this scenario. In such a situation, you may be facing different problems as follows –
- You have the consent, but your database is too disorganized to find the relevant personal information, making the consumer’s consent useless.
- You have limited consent such as only to send a weekly newsletter and just an email ID.
- You have sufficient personal data, but the customer has not agreed to its use.
In any of these situations, you will need to go back to contextual marketing. It allows you to market your products or services based not on a consumer’s profile, but on the content that they are exploring in real time.
You will need to create smart display ads that will show up in your consumer’s news feed, websites they are browsing, mobile app screens or video games. For example, if a prospect is reading about "jogging tips" regularly, jogging shoe brands such as Nike, Rebook or Sketchers will try to target them with relevant advertisements.
C. Full Consent and Sufficient Personal Data
This scenario is the Holy Grail every marketer is looking for after the launch of GDPR. If you already have the consent and the data, you can go ahead with a full-throttled personalised marketing strategy. You will be able to create content based on a thorough analysis of the personal behaviour of your customers and contextual marketing. You better take full advantage of it.
It will take some time to estimate the exact effect of GDPR on digital marketing. Considering the growing concern for data security, however, other nations are also likely to follow suit. Thankfully, digital marketers around the globe will quickly, just as they have in the past on several such occasions. Meanwhile, keep innovating to incorporate as much personalisation as possible into your marketing mix without breaking GDPR compliance. Hopefully, these pointers will prove helpful in this regard. Let us know what your thoughts are on this issue in the comments below.
I am Natalia Hawkins, a content writer, and a blogger.