By Daniel Philpot, Senior Account Manager at OgilvyOne Business


As referenced in part 1 of this blog – at its heart, GDPR is all about engagement. Redefining how we, as marketers and businesses, engage with consumers (real people). It’s important to remember that even in B2B every contact we have is a person, and every lead we collect includes their personal data (name). For too long businesses have hidden behind pre-ticked boxes and deliberately lengthy privacy policies to ensure we sign away our right to control the way our personal data is used and shared.

To be clear, GDPR isn’t intended to punish businesses and give consumers all the power. It’s merely rebalancing the control that’s been firmly tipped in businesses favour for too long. It’s an opportunity to be smarter, in how we treat customer data and how we engage. We now need to make our offering irresistible so that our audience have only one choice – to opt-in.

GDPR is an opportunity for marketing to be more:

  • Relevant – Every message reaching customers needs to be relevant and personal to them. Why? Because if it’s not, they can easily enact GDPR’s ‘right to erasure’ and remove their consent

  • Transparent – Individuals aren’t currently in control of their personal data. GDPR can bring back trust and allow individuals to make informed decisions about when and how their data can be used

  • Creative – This is an opportunity to be bold with creative. We need to intrigue and excite customers to entice them into action

  • Personalised – GDPR ultimately focuses on improving customer experience. If data is at the heart of an organisation’s activities then customers benefit from a more seamless and personalised experience

It’s also an opportunity for the wider business to increase:

  • Alignment – As this impacts the entire business it is an opportunity for operations, data, marketing and sales to work together. The alignment is business critical to ensure processes are in place to avoid fines

  • Engagement – As GDPR means we need to gain consent from people to contact them, the result is an engaged audience. If they weren’t engaged with what we’re offering, they wouldn’t have signed up

  • Intelligence – This is a rare opportunity where organisations need to communicate with their entire database to ask for opt-in. We need to make the most of this by learning about our audience and their interests

  • Value – Value for the customer and value for the business. GDPR is all about value exchange. Why? Because we can’t take customers for granted. We need to consider what they are really getting in return for their data

Businesses should therefore be thinking about their overall engagement strategy, rather than the specifics of GDPR alone. If you only send out generic, self-serving, product-driven emails that offer no value to your audience then it will prove difficult to get them to opt-in to your communications. However, if you regularly engage with your audience with relevant, interesting and valuable content, then it should be easy to get their consent to continue to do this.

GDPR is just forcing businesses and marketers to always put value first. Every time we speak to our audience it is a value exchange – not what value is gained by the business, but what value our audience are gaining by allowing us to use their personal data.


More from Daniel in part one of this blog about focusing on engagement not just GDPR here.