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Open Mic Marketing

SaleCycle survey finds email marketers have adapted well to GDPR


By Michael Feeley, Founder and chief exec

October 4, 2019 | 3 min read

A recent survey conducted by SaleCycle, a year after the introduction of GDPR, has found that 76% of marketers have changed their methods for gaining customer consent.

The report has found that while the recent data privacy legislation has been seen as a major challenge to email marketers, many email marketers have welcomed this legislation, believing that legislation targeted at ‘bad actors’ can benefit the industry as a whole.

Retailers have introduced stricter opt-in processes and more explicit consent for marketing , while many have gone through a process of cleaning their databases. The marketers who contributed to the report were upbeat about the changes and believe that legislation can help email marketers to raise their game, says the research.

According to Schuh’s head of e-commerce, Stuart McMillan, who participated in the survey: "We’re going to do more marketing in some areas than we did historically because of this, which is a touch ironic.”

As Verity Jennings of Phrasee explains, data protection laws are designed to target ‘bad actors’: “Sending marketing to people who don’t want it has never been a good strategy, so we’ve never done it. If your marketing is good, getting consent shouldn’t be a struggle. Why would any brand want to trick people into becoming subscribers?”

Some marketers have seen benefits, as a more transparent sign in process screens out less interested email subscribers. One effect has been that marketers now engage with legal teams and experts more than in the past, planning marketing campaigns with this knowledge in mind.

Of the small businesses surveyed, 84% reported higher than average engagement levels as a result of regulations.

Jennings says: “This may reduce the size of email lists, but this is no bad thing. Take any brand’s subscriber list, remove all the people who don’t want to be on it, and what are you left with? A slightly shorter list comprised of people who actually want to engage with that brand.”

The survey found that the best email marketers, once they have obtained customer consent, focus on using customer data and behavior to send relevant and targeted emails. Personalization means retailers can tailor emails to the individual customer, from simple touches like using their name to the use of behavioral data to recommend relevant products.

Graham Charlton of SaleCycle adds: “Data regulations have driven an increased focus on the customer, and this should help to accelerate what the best marketers are doing – obtaining consent ethically and delivering relevant and effective messages to their subscribers.”

To find out more about how email marketers have adapted to data legislation, and how email marketing will develop, download SaleCycle’s Email Marketing in a Privacy Conscious World report.

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