GDPR might not be sexy or exciting but it’s the new law. For many marketers it’s best left to the data guys to sort out – after all, regulations and security protocols are rarely top of most marketers list.
But with up to 85% or more of their valuable databases about to vanish, because the new regulations requiring all members to double opt back in, marketers actually need to take a bigger interest in one of their greatest marketing assets.
No brand is unaffected, but it’s estimated that FMCG, financial services and charities will be the worse affected. As every existing member of a database has to be persuaded to re-opt in, twice, the huge challenge is how do you get them to? And as the May deadline gets closer, consumers are going to be inundated with requests – it’s estimated an individual consumer could be listed on over 100 databases.
According to Jeremy Taylor, former Managing Partner of Tequila and the co-founder of the UK’s first community marketing specialist CONNECT2, here also lies a golden opportunity.
“Instead of seeing it as a database (just numbers of people), by redefining it as a community of consumers you can make it a far more powerful asset,” he comments. “Brands have traditionally used databases as target practice for marketing promotions and activities with little understanding of the real value of what they have,” he adds, “now it’s going to be payback time.”
The key to getting consumers to re-opt in, Taylor advises, is to give them a positive reason to do so – and purpose is what attracts the modern consumer.
“Almost every brand now has a purpose statement. This is the opportunity to deliver it, otherwise it’s just another meaningless PR spin.”
A renewed and refreshed database provides an active channel that brands can use to communicate their corporate purpose through, and one that also allows for greater engagement, insight and consumer feedback.
Once a brand has created an initial community, Taylor believes that it can create sub sections of common interests, redefining the whole way databases have used traditional segmentation. “It’s a radical new approach but the status quo is no longer going to deliver you loyalty or business” he warns.
Unique in this approach is how it borrows learnings from social media and allows consumers to interact with each other as they would in any community, which creates greater loyalty and engagement.
“Essentially it’s about being 100% consumer centric.”
He cites the influence of Lord John Browne, former CEO of BP who believes that “companies need to engage radically with society to remain successful.” Brands that do not engage at social and community levels will not be the big hitters of tomorrow.
“Far from a lose-lose, GDPR can be a win-win for those brands and organisations that take the leap,” he adds. “It’s an opportunity to redefine the rules of engagement.”