By Paul King, Head of Marketing Technology & Duncan Butt, Head of Data Management at Ogilvy UK


It's GDPR day - so does better data equal better service?

Consumers are currently being hit with a deluge of emails from brands desperate to secure permission from their customer database to continue to market to them past the May 25th Deadline. However, there’s no reason for brands to fear the reduction of contactable records on their databases.

GDPR has presented an opportunity for brands to ‘clean house’ and cut loose contacts that are doing little more than costing them pennies per ignored email sent, and presenting a costly risk in the event of a data breach. So whilst marketing databases may shrink as a result of the legislation, the positive aspect of collecting positive consent will be that brands will be left with a more engaged base, better response rates, elevated perception in terms of CSR and more cost-effective marketing.

The knowledge that all contacts will be positively opted-in with the brand retaining timestamped proof of consent in a permissioned marketing database will also sit well with companies worried about future legal challenges as to the source or usage of their data.

Given the current backdrop of customer distrust of data in the marketing industry, brands that are transparent with how they collect and use data will win the confidence of consumers, and therefore earn the right to use their data to best effect, for both the data subject and controller.

So, what’s the likely impact of GDPR on the various marketing communications disciplines?

Traditional list-brokers and owners who have relied on selling customer data are going to struggle to stay relevant and legal in the new world order; and are likely going to have to reinvent themselves and diversify, perhaps positioning previously peripheral services as their core offerings.

Conversely, the Royal Mail have already reported an uplift in non-personalised doordrops which don’t rely on customer data to reach the target audience. It’s also likely that with dwindling database sizes we’ll see a return to high value DM packs as the volume of acquisition and prospect mailings drops and marketing budgets are refocussed on retaining and upselling to existing customers.

Ultimately brands will increasingly have to earn the privilege of looking after their customers’ data as GDPR raises awareness of its value to the corporate world. Brands will therefore have to offer more in exchange in terms of creating personalised and seamless customer experiences given what they know about individuals; and better serve those who volunteer their data and open dialogue with the brand, rather than vice-versa.


For more from our B2B team see our thoughts on why GDPR should be seen as positive or why we should be focused on engagement not GDPR.