23 February 2018 Christine

Email marketing is dead!? What are the REAL long term implications of the GDPR?

The upcoming GDPR is certain to change the current landscape of marketing as we know it to an extent, and, while there’s a lot of hype around how drastic the new law will be, the changes we will see won’t all be negative. It’s been the nature of marketing to adapt to new technologies easily, and we’re sure that we’ll see the emergence of new forms of communication come into play thanks largely to the GDPR.

Is email marketing dead?

The myth used in the headline is one I’ve heard expressed by marketers in many different industries. It pertains to the fact that B2C marketing will now only be able to take place with the users’ consent, and moreover, consent is needed to store users’ data in the first place. Organisations which use email marketing as their sole form of communication are indeed likely to find themselves put out by the new GDPR measures, but it’s important to note that there are other forms of communication out there. It’s also important to remember that with consent you’re guaranteeing that you’ll be sending emails to an engaged public.

The rules for B2B data processing and B2C are quite different too. For B2C data processing – which as well as consumers includes sole traders or partnerships – consent must be obtained, but for B2B marketing, if content is about products and/or services that are relevant to the recipients’ job role, it can be marketed on an opt-out basis without consent as long as the method of opting-out is clearly defined.

More intimate communication

Storing data with minimal consumer knowledge and opt-out marketing is how the game has been played since the beginning of time (in marketing terms of course). Even before the internet age, fliers and leaflets could legally fall on your doormat any time of the day or night without your permission. The GDPR will undoubtedly affect this. It may mean you have a smaller number of people to market to, but those people might be more likely to be open about your products and start a conversation.

Third-party data: thrive or nose-dive

The GDPR means that it will be more difficult to buy and sell data, yet some organisations rely on third party data sources for their prospecting. Some believe that we’ll see an end to this method of prospecting, as you won’t be sure of where your third-party is getting their data from or whether the consumers within these lists have consented to be included. However, if handled properly third-party providers could be just what we need. We predict that we might see an emergence of a particular kind of third-party provider; one which might be able to link consumers with businesses they might like, and act as an advocate for the organisation they represent, much like recruiters do today.

More emphasis on social

Instead of bringing the users to you, you’ll have to go to them. Where are they? Social media of course! Social is already a tried and tested method of gathering data and marketing to an audience. Ads on social media are becoming more and more commonplace, and non-profit organisations and charities thrive on platforms like Instagram. Instagram has more than 800 million active users with a 4.2% engagement rate – a much higher rate than any other form of social media. It’s free to sign up and worth searching for hashtags relating to your industry, just to see how much following you could have.

Word of mouth

Once your users have opted in, you have their ear. That’s incredibly valuable, as the engaged person you’re marketing to may know many in the industry. Doing everything you can to encourage referrals is a smart move as it means that, again, the consumer will come to you. We’re not just going to sit here and say ‘just be good enough and you’ll see the referrals flooding in’ that wouldn’t be helpful. We will however recommend an in-depth article we’ve written on how you can increase referrals. Offering incentives is a great place to start.

Something else…

15 years ago Facebook, YouTube and Twitter didn’t exist. Google was just a baby. Instagram wasn’t even a twinkle in Kevin Systrom’s eye. And yet look around us now. These forms of communication are everything. Like their ancestor the printing press, they sprang out of nowhere and changed our world. And perhaps, though we don’t know what, there is something else, a new method of communication waiting in the wings to link organisations with consumers like we’ve never seen before. What will that be? We’ll have to wait and see.

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View more like this: What is "consent" and "legitimate interest" in relation to the GDPR?

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