I’m not a fan of bureaucracy or regulations, but surely the person (presumably it was a human) who came up with the GDPR directive must take the prize for most talked about acronym of the year. Initially it passed me by, anyone attempting to discuss the impending GDPR rules and its impact would lead me to wander off pretending to take a non -existent phone call. So the EU are changing the rules on how businesses are allowed to use data, who cares?
But something strange has happened of late, GDPR (or to give it its proper title General Data Protection Regulation) is becoming more than just something dreamt up by some faceless people in a Brussels bunker. The value and use of data is becoming one of the most topical and important factors in our new world of a social media enabled population. From supposed Russian agents trying to influence elections to Cambridge Analytica playing around with the data of 84m people, big data has become big news.
But the really interesting change driven by GDPR is the effect it is having on how businesses treat their customers or anyone they currently hold data on. The term Spam may become a thing of the past, (or revert back to its true meaning which is a canned cooked meat made of pork, ham and sodium nitrate typically fried into a delicious fritter….not) as a business will need to seek permission in order to communicate with consumers in future. No longer will we be bombarded with irrelevant e-mails or phone calls (even when we unsubscribe), the consequence of any business doing as such could lead to a fine of 4% of their revenues or £20m. So serious stuff.
So now the Marketers are having to be kinder and more friendly in order to seek our permissions to allow them to communicate with us. I recently had a request from a business who have constantly sent me so called Spam (not the meat) for years. Despite me clicking the Unsubscribe button the e-mails kept coming , and coming. But now with the looming date of the 25th May when GDPR kicks in (it’s actually 2 years old but nobody cared until now) my unwelcome pen friend has had to write to me in a different fashion seeking my acceptance of their friendship. It began by saying “ In order to continue to enjoy our Newsletters and sales promotions ….”
It struck me “ enjoy “ was a strange term to use. The things I enjoy would be :
• A glass of chilled Rose on a summer’s evening
• A Roger Federer backhand
• Playing Elvis’ Heart of Rome at full blast ( not very well known but have a listen to hear the King at his best
• My daughter’s singing
• My wife’s smile
• A Conor McGregor press conference
• A weekend in Montecatini
But I can’t say receiving an e-mail newsletter would be on my bucket list. But the point is with GDPR it now means a business has to engage with us, it can no longer send out random pieces of irrelevant literature hoping some of it lands in the right place. Which means the marketing guys have got to get up earlier in the morning to create ways to engage with their audience. And the consumer can sit back and say “entertain me” or I’ll ban you. Which will lead to a better deal for the consumer, and smarter more engaging marketing all of which leads to a win-win.
Regulation will drive and improve engagement between businesses and consumers, I’m not sure that was the intention but it will be the result. The power is with the consumer not the person with their finger on the mailchimp button. So hats off to Mr GDPR, for once a regulation I like.
Now where did I put that tin of Spam…
If you’d like to hear more about how regulations are changing and the step change improvements you can make in customer engagement – We are holding a free seminar in Newport. For more information click the button below.