GDPR Will Force Marketers To Be Better

GDPR has been looming over marketers’ heads for some time now, and with its implementation only a couple months away, many organizations are working rapidly to ensure compliance. One main element of the conversation around the new regulations is the overwhelming focus on its burdensome nature, but marketers would do well to shift perspectives and think about how these regulations will benefit their efforts— if they’re not already. 

At the core of GDPR is a shift in power away from businesses and towards consumers when it comes to control over their data. Consumers have both insight into, and control over, the data that organizations collect about them. They can opt in and out of communications at will. This is a good thing, and ultimately accelerates the industry towards the customer centricity we’ve been talking about for years.

I see GDPR forcing marketers to do two key things that they should have already been doing well before 2018: 



Deliver value to consumers

This sounds obvious, but a quick look at the state of digital advertising indicates that it is not often implemented. If consumers allow you, as a marketer, to retain some of their personal information, it’s critical that you validate that trust by delivering value in return. This is the essence of the movement towards more personalized, 1:1 marketing, but GDPR quite literally forces marketers to embrace it or risk losing the ability to communicate with key consumers.

Marketers need to have conversations with, rather than talk at, consumers — and the data they collect should enable this, but it doesn’t always. GDPR will hold marketers accountable and ensure better communications.

Unify data storage and collection

Once again, the industry has been talking for a long time about breaking down data silos to enable more personalized, 1:1 communications at scale. The rise of the customer data platform as a key piece of martech is one result of this trend. The reality is still mixed, however, as marketers continue to deal with organizational hurdles that hinder the efficient collection and use of data.

Now that marketers are required to inform consumers of every piece of data they hold about them, the issue has been forced. There is now a regulatory imperative to do what marketers should have been doing for some time, and the result will be better communications and more transparency that will build trust and goodwill. 

At the end of the day, marketers shouldn’t be intimidated but rather encouraged by the advent of GDPR. We’ve been talking the talk about improving the state of our industry for some time, and now it’s time to walk the walk. Through forced transparency, marketers will not only have to be better, they’ll likely see better results as well thanks to increased personalization and additional value delivered to consumers.

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