The past nine months have not been easy for any marketer looking to maintain a database of compliant customers. They follow on from a year or longer in which marketers were required to become GDPR compliant and put consumers more in control of how their personal data is used.
It may have seemed like a pain at the time, but the latest DMA figures show that the effort has at least paid off -- particularly in email marketing.
Four in ten -- at 41% -- say they now feel more confident about how brands treat their data. Crucially, the question we all ask when we look at our inbox is now less pervasive -- just one in three now find themselves wondering what a company got their data from. That's down from 43% in 2017.
As ever, when it comes to their favourite marketing channel, 59% of consumers pick email. It's the ultimate no-brainer, really -- it doesn't involve picking up the phone, throwing mail in the recycle bin or being followed around the net by something you've already bought or looked at but decided against.
Email is almost certainly helped out by a perceived reduction in the number of messages consumers believe they receive each week, down from 73 in 2017 to 57 last year.
The usual caveats apply -- a little more than half will look at around half the emails they get, but 86% agree that less than half of what they receive from brands is actually useful.
This result is that consumers are choosing to flex their GDPR awareness to limit what comes into their inbox. The average consumer signed up to nine email lists last year compared with 13 the year before (rounded up and down figures). The biggest driver was, of course, discounts and offers. The biggest turnoff was, of course, too many emails.
So, little has changed in why we allow brands to carry on emailing us. However, the prediction about a tighter, more transparent relationship leading to smaller lists appear to be true. We are signing up to roughly a quarter fewer email databases and enjoying a slightly less cluttered inbox. At the same time, we are all feeling a little bit more in control of our data.
It's good news for email. It's still the top channel for consumers, and they're still signing up for newsletters and offers. Only, post GDPR, consumers want to feel in control. They still love email but it's more about what works for them, not the brands hitting "send."