Is GDPR the mythical Medusa it is made out to be?

Much was written about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ahead of it coming into force last May, and while the opportunities were highlighted, the overriding reaction from marketers was confusion, frustration and fear. One year on, and much of that skepticism has dissipated as marketers realize GDPR need not be the monster many made it out to be.

GDPR is just good data management practices!

HSBC’s Simon Kaffel, who is head of data, reporting, information and control, believes brands are better off as a result of GDPR; both in terms of data management and from a training perspective.

“I hear horror stories about some companies using archaic processes to manage data. There are still major concerns about data breaches that need to be addressed, but GDPR has brought in an enforcement of training and also a requirement that data is held in a secure way,” Kaffel adds.

“While there are significant penalties for not being data-compliant, so much of GDPR is just good data management practices. This is good from an IT perspective and means the customer will trust [brands] more.” He believes it has also pushed data up the agenda for marketers, resulting in better collaboration between teams.

READ MORE: Are you bound by the GDPR requirements?

DMA shows a greater proportion of marketers now feel the benefits of GDPR outweigh the cost

This is in keeping with recent research from the Data and Marketing Association (DMA), which reveals 56% of marketers are more positive about the effects of GDPR, given they have seen a marked increase in returns on every £1 spent on email, from £32.28 in 2017 to £42.24 today.

The majority of marketers have also seen an increase in email open rates (74%) and click-through rates (75%) over the past 12 months, while a large chunk have reported a reduction in opt-out rates (41%) and spam complaints (55%) over the past year.

A separate study by the DMA shows a greater proportion of marketers now feel the benefits of GDPR outweigh the cost, with the figure rising from 16% prior to 25 May last year to 32% in late 2018.

Many marketers agree, that GDPR compliance was the big bad wolf; ‘was’ being the keyword. It has brought in a transparency in the processes which makes the consumer feel a willing party to the data collection.

Although it has added another checkpoint while planning, it is all in good cause.

Content Audience is the king!

Any marketer worth their salt, is focused on providing more personalized content to their consumers. In order to offer personalized experiences that keep audiences engaged, Aimee Treasure, Marketing Manager at international recruitment company VHR stresses that marketing teams must be involved in the data acquisition and management processes. She believes that marketers “definitely” have the potential to have more impact as a result of GDPR.

She claims a direct positive result in form of the matrices like traffic and engagement; which is what the end goal is

Nobody denies that GDPR faced a lot of flak in its earlier day owing to the complexity in the execution; but we are flourishing at it now. Ultimate responsibility for GDPR sits with the data and legal functions; although marketers have to spend much more time on devising a considered approach and interaction with customers.

It has also forced marketers to work in close coordination with the legal department, furthering the interpersonal relations; leading to better results.

Those who have found the transition easiest are perhaps unsurprisingly the brands which already took privacy and engagement seriously; even before the new laws came into force.

Those who have found the transition easiest are perhaps unsurprisingly, the brands which already took privacy and engagement seriously; even before the new laws came into force. By implementing GDPR, you are basically playing by the rules set by the consumers. You have unlocked another achievement!

However, businesses with more questionable databases – comprised largely of contacts with whom the business may not have had any recent contact; or individuals who had given details simply to enter a competition – will have found this period particularly challenging. The playing ground is shrinking considerably, no doubts; but you, as a marketer, can reap the immeasurable benefits it has to offer.

You have to agree, that GDPR was long overdue! Not just for data protection, but with all the welcome changes it has brought upon in Marketing. A more streamlined and transparent process here to create a bang where you just sufficed with a buzz before.

This article was originally published by Marketing Week 17 July 2019. Click here to read the full article.

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