On 25th May we got up, went to work, sat at our desks and wondered…what was THAT all about? Because despite the doom-mongering, the sun rose, the sky didn’t fall in and life went on as normal regardless of it being the GDPR enforcement date. During the lead-up, and further fuelled by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, social media was awash with advice, warnings and frankly a whole lot of nonsense from the self-appointed “data gurus”.
In an excellent article in Digital Marketing Magazine, outlined just how damaging this advice has been to many who have “decimated their databases by seeking new unnecessary opt-ins.”
Seems many organisations have been wholly focussed on consent as their only legal means of processing data. In doing so, and overlooking that perhaps legitimate interest might be more appropriate, by seeking this consent (and not getting it) the door has been firmly shut on processing that data record in the future. Ouch!
The result? Smaller data-sets certainly, but is that such a bad thing? Some direct marketers take comfort from having a raft of consumers and/or businesses with which to share their message, sales people too can mistake these names and details as a pipeline. We’re firmly of the opinion that, when it comes to data, “quantity is vanity, quality is sanity” and less can definitely mean more:-
Assuming your marketing budget remains unaffected, you’ll have more to spend on each record. When it comes to the offline channels, that can offer greater scope for more creative, better and more frequent direct mail, for example.
It’s easy to see data as an amorphous mass forgetting that your database is actually a collection of individuals each with their own wants, needs, preferences and drivers. Better segmentation leads to better understanding and a greater ability to satisfy these.
Trying to appeal to everyone with your materials and messaging inevitably dilutes both. A smaller dataset equals better focus on those most likely to respond, allowing you to target them with what resonates best.
Personalisation without accuracy is a misnomer. In fact, where data is not verifiable and verified better to disregard it. But, newly opted-in should mean live and up-to-date, resulting in greater and more effective personalisation of materials.
Email open rates have plummeted and many sectors report sub-20% as both the norm and acceptable! It’s foolish to think that those 80% have been even mildly interested in, let alone engaged by, what we have to say. Lack of opt-in re-affirms this. Those that have opted-in are, by definition, engaged and worthy of our attention. We should court and nurture these nudging them gently along the customer journey.
The cost of acquiring a new customer versus that of retaining an existing one is well-documented. So too is the disproportionate time we marketers have spent on the former at the expense of the latter. As third party data becomes a thing of the past, channeling our energies into those who know and trust us should equal less attribution/churn.
Email made us lazy. Admittedly, the cost and speed of it has been irresistible but “batch and blast” with too little consideration for the receiver has come back to bite many of us on the proverbial! Taking this channel out of the equation, or at least reducing our reliance on it, means opening our minds to other ways to communicate and keep our customers close.
There’s no doubt that GDPR has set us all a challenge, but that’s marketing and no one ever said it was going to be easy!