Why GDPR is the best thing that will happen to marketers in 2018

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Unlocking GDPR value

Leading up to May 25 our inboxes and phones were inundated with emails, notifications and text messages ranging from desperation, forceful nudges, playful reminders or just straight up legalese and privacy policies, leaving marketers feeling a bit like an average bloke on Tinder, hoping all of their customers swipe right.

Surely, some of us chose not to opt-in to certain brands and brand communications – the forgotten subscriptions, the “why/when did I sign up for these,” and those old flames that sadly just didn’t quite make the cut. The “reset” button has been pushed, with customers choosing their teams and brands itching to be on them. For marketers, this is the best thing that will happen to them this year. Here are four reasons why:

It reminds the business that customers are valuable

Not only does GDPR compel marketers to rethink and reinforce what their brand stands for and what value it delivers to their customers, it forces alignment among aspects of the entire organization, across marketing, brand, commercial, finance, operations and IT. Customers are very clearly in the driver’s seat. The future of your business relies on them.

Marketers hold the key

Troves of data are still being generated by customers from every which way and from every channel, device, touchpoint, etc,. but your all-access pass to what you can do with it has been revoked. Data is no longer a free-for-all grab bag. GDPR reminds marketers that the risks of holding (and using) customer data must be balanced by revenue and profit. It’s your job as a marketer to unlock this value.

The real value of your customer data will be stripped bare

The question of quality over quantity, along with the reveal of what’s in your customer cupboard will soon be on display. The data fog will lift and the number of contactable customers will be less than expected, potentially millions less than what you told your CEO last year. GDPR will cause a momentary gulp when you see those names, emails, and addresses disappear, but there’s a silver lining: you now have a clear path to creating a customer growth and cross-sell plan without having to justify imaginary numbers – breathe in and release. You’ll feel better from now on.

GDPR Day is not May 25th 2018, it’s every day from now on

It may feel like a level playing field in the short term, but in the mid-to-long term certain brands will swiftly emerge and rise to the challenge, paving the way for disruption and leading the post-GDPR landscape. It’s not about avoiding the waterfall up ahead. It’s not about what happened on “GDPR Day.” It’s about the go forward customer plan, and doing it better than your rivals.

Andrew Kelly, vice president, The Future Customer

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.