GDPR: what doesn’t kill Marketing…makes it stronger

The GDPR, which recently came into force, has been wholeheartedly welcomed by consumers far and wide, as a shield of privacy for their personal data. On the other hand, many business houses that are beholden to this regulation have started to cringe. Can the protection of personal data get along with the marketing-driven processing of such data? Actually, the GDPR provides brands with powerful weaponry to strengthen their image and promote customer loyalty … provided that they are straightforward and sincere enough in their process. There is, indeed, so much to gain with the GDPR.

 

Organizations remain cautious with the GDPR

The GDPR encourages businesses to set up new processes to ensure protection of personal data. Indeed, the regulation empowers citizens by giving them the option to reclaim ownership of their data: they must provide their explicit consent to the processing of such data, while they also have a right to access, modify and delete them.

While the regulation offers benefits to citizens, organizations often view it as a hurdle that curbs their digital strategies. They fear that consumers may express unwillingness to participate in their marketing actions, channels and strategies. This would result in poorer customer databases which would, in turn, lead to a sharp drop in terms of audience, thus resulting in an adverse impact on the efficiency of marketing operations.

The GDPR to serve user experience

However, the RGPD may well prove to be a catalyst for customer engagement, acquisition and management.

Indeed, the regulation will help to significantly streamline customer databases and make them more focused on quality, giving brands the right tools to better engage with their audience, capitalize on cleansed, relevant and personalized data to increase interaction, as well as improve the audience-to-customer conversion rate.

At the same time, the decrease in « third party »* data will encourage businesses to adopt a « customer-centric » approach that will transform customer relationships into a key business priority.

Beyond the economic stakes related to the GDPR, the first benefit of a personalized user experience is to promote customer loyalty. Indeed, more relevant messages hosted on the favorite channels of each customer, can only improve the corporate image of a business as perceived by the market.

Simple and seamless management of personal data will also enhance user experience and stand out as a key differentiating factor in the market, especially for those who have a perfect command of the digital world. In the long run, the challenge is, therefore, not only a matter of business, but also about increasing brand reputation and, eventually, preference.

The GDPR, a matter of corporate reputation

According to a study conducted by the firm Baker McKenzie, 8 out of 10 respondents said they would boycott brands that are not compliant with the GDPR, while 55% of them said they would even go to court to sue companies that fail to perform their very duty.

Noncompliant organizations face legal issues and financial penalties, but most of all, their reputation will be at stake. The increasingly popular « name and shame » practice on social networks may trigger a major crisis for noncompliant businesses, which will have a heavy adverse impact on the bottom line.

Conversely, companies that take the lead in positioning themselves as “data friendly”, in particular by setting the emphasis on data privacy, can turn this regulatory challenge into an opportunity, secure a bond of trust with their audience and, consequently, increase their market footprint. According to a survey by Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute (DTI), more than 1 in 3 customers is eager to spend more on products from brands that they believe do protect their personal data.

 

Given this situation, it is essential for companies to go beyond compliance with the GDPR to capitalize on this regulation as a foundation for their marketing strategy. A few years ago, there were very few committed brands, e.g., brands that would act in a responsible way, socially and economically. And they were noticeable. From now on and even more with the GDPR – those who are not willing to commit themselves will be noticed… and singled out.

 

* Web-based advertising and marketing targeting data delivered by a third party, different from the owner of the website where the campaign is executed.