In this opinion pice, ShareRoot CEO Noah Abelson-Gertler (pictured below) looks into the recently penned and formalised General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and how it will impact adland.
It has been just over a week since the formalisation of the GDPR and no doubt that marketing departments all over the world are still in a state of confusion about what it actually means for them and what they need to put in motion internally.
And it wouldn’t surprise me if the majority are viewing this compulsive regulation as nothing more than another bullet-point on their burdensome to-do list, an administration obligation that will potentially interfere with the current seamless relationship they have with their customers.
The reality, however, is starkly different.
Tighter data laws will make for a much healthier and more valuable relationship between marketers and customers.
As seen in Forrester’s recent report, “complying with the GDPR will drive better marketing” and encourage a customer-obsessed culture.*
And should standards be anything less than respecting and listening to the customer at every point of the journey, taking on board their feedback and preferences?
At its core, the intent and point of marketing is to develop positive relationships with customers.
This may seem obvious, but let’s take it a step further.
Consider the relationships you have with people in your life.
Are the strongest relationships those where the power and control between you and the other person are completely unbalanced and one of you has control over the other person?
Rather, your strongest relationships are characterised by a balanced, equitable situation, where you feel respected, capable and in control.
The same logic applies to customers’ relationships with brands.
The most reputable and well-respected global brands are not ones that take advantage of customers and their personal data, or hold all of the control.
In saying this, ShareRoot’s UGC platform has demonstrated that if a brand gives a consumer choice, control and the ability to interact with a brand they like, they are more willing to give a lot in return — and without any form of monetary incentive.
So how does this apply to the GDPR?
Simple. People do not like being taken advantage of.
Take the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal or Equifax’s security breach.
In each case, people have made an uproar of disapproval, resulting in damaging image and reputational issues for companies – not to mention, the resulting revenue loss.
And thanks to social media and additional channels, customers are more empowered than ever before, they can be heard more often, influence each other’s opinions and most importantly, come to expect better business practices from brands across the globe.
The GDPR is forcing the hand of brands worldwide to balance the playing field between themselves and customers once and for all, and this is the first step for most on the path to creating balanced, equitable and positive relationships with customers.
This balance is a very good thing…much more than brands currently realise, and this is not going to change.
The GDPR and other heightened national and international regulations will only continue this trend, so marketers need to quit stalling and procrastinating, and further pursue relationship building and development today.
Not only will they be surprised by the bottom-line results, but simply put, they will be left behind if they don’t.
As Yahoo7’s head of data and targeting, Dan Richardson, recently argued, ‘Establishing internal benchmarks on data quality and putting in place a culture of rigour, trust and respect for the consumer is both essential and our responsibility.’
I couldn’t agree more.