LEGAL DISCLAIMER – It goes without saying, that we are not lawyers. None of this should be taken as legal advice. We are simply industry professionals going through the same process as most. Trying to make the best sense we can out of these new regulations and following their guidance. Hopefully sharing some useful thoughts and resources along the way.
The focus of the GDPR and most of the commentary around it is on the new rules and regulations protecting data and how to comply with them and of course, the repercussions.
This is no real surprise when it’s right there in the acronym. Unfortunately, all these good intentions have seemingly set up a bit of an ‘us’ and ‘them’ dynamic with regulation trying to broker the peace.
There’s ‘us’ – upstanding marketing folk, just trying to do our best and inform ‘them’, our lovely audience and customers all about products and services that they couldn’t possibly do without. There’s now this pretty hefty code of conduct in between. This metaphor has probably reached its limit. Our point is this. It’s not just about the data and the law, it’s about people. If GDPR makes us return to thinking about real conversation and human connection, then we’re in perfect agreement, so let’s get back to it.
Listening is the Key
We certainly hear a lot about your voice in marketing, developing and defining the brand for your company and how you speak to your audience.
We don’t hear as much about your marketing ears (ours are slightly pointy, but perfectly formed, but thanks for asking) and maybe we should? Listening is the key to any successful product and marketing team’s strategy and, if you are doing it right, it is at least 50% of any conversation.
Too often we have opted for quick, easy and outdated marketing tactics that are the equivalent of shouting at a group of people (and perhaps even to a group of undefined people who we don’t know that well) hoping that if we shout the loudest and the most often, perhaps some will notice. There are multiple reasons that this sort of approach doesn’t fly under the GDPR anymore. We have to ask ourselves – is that really a loss? Were these one-way conversations really the best way to win customers and present ourselves to the market? We certainly don’t think so.
The Human Touch
The real value in marketing communication is the human voice, the opportunity to put experience and a touch of reality behind a message. We should be valuing real time spent with customers, and real engagements discussing and learning with potential new customers. The more we abstract the idea of audience engagement into numbers and data points, the further away you get from your customers and a successful business.
With the inevitable advance of technology and the ubiquity of the internet as a marketing channel, we’ve been chasing our tails trying to prove people are actually listening and interested. When first we measured reach, soon we needed impressions and viewability (still can’t agree on this apparently), then opens and clicks as proof, followed closely by views, engagement time and duration weighting (we might need to look that one up…). Oh My! How about actually talking to a human being, and listening to their needs – you can’t get much easier to measure than that – and you will get a whole lot more qualitative and actionable responses than ticked boxes or ranked choices.
So in the spirit of really engaging people, and getting back to real conversations. Here’s a little list of 3 positive conversations to have post GDPR – because we all like lists, right?
1) Speak to your company
Set the new normal, show the change you want. There’s likely a few, if not many, of your employees who have heard about the GDPR in passing and know it might have something to do with them. Bring them up to speed, hold a brief
meeting to share your approach to the core principles of the GDPR. Invite feedback and discussion about how to incorporate positive engagement and transparent communication into day to day activities.
Why not make it a monthly thing to share the best moments from your customer interactions – be it a recorded call, some PR-worthy social media action or even a thought-provoking conversation.
2) Speak to Suppliers, Vendors and Partners
The GDPR commits us all to being in the circle of trust together. Take the opportunity to discuss the new business processes and principles. This will underline your commitment to the GDPR and honest communication with those
partners that make your business what it is. You’ll find that you can remove unnecessary data processing and storage (sound GDPR-familiar?). Get clean, updated records across the board as well as giving your shared IT security protocols a timely health check. You might well save a few hours and pounds in the long run for everyone in the process.
3) Talk To Your Customers
Talk to your customers. Really talk. Don’t email them all, or put together a new remarketing campaign to chase them down all over the internet.
A well-structured telephone-driven campaign, with clear division of who you are contacting and what you are aiming to achieve or learn by doing so. Underpin this with integrity and a true desire for communication and learning. You will produce some fantastic results.
Whether you are looking for feedback to design your latest product feature, reconnecting to ensure current customers products are meeting their needs, or reaching out to lapsed contacts. Give them the chance to opt in or remove themselves. You’ll be amazed at what the human touch can achieve.
Right, that’s enough from us for one read. Next time we’ll try to complete our gilding of the GDPR lily by rounding up more of the business benefits we see in life after the GDPR.