CGM Business Media Club blog: GDPR for marketing

GDPR – we know, we know. Yawn. Not again.

Well yes… and no, actually.

The understandable focus of General Data Protection Regulation is legality – protecting everyone’s valuable data within the boundaries of regulation. But GDPR can be more than mandatory obligation. It can – and should – be a communications opportunity.

Think about it. GDPR provides a good reason for you to connect, or more likely reconnect, with people and businesses you work with, send marketing information to and therefore store data on.

Now if you’ve simply been scooping up lots of names from data disks and the like down the years then you probably deserve to be clamped down upon because, like many others, you’ve been little more than a nuisance by pestering people who haven’t agreed to receive your marketing literature or cold calls.

If, on the other hand, you’ve always adhered to best practice and have people on your lists for so long you can’t actually recall when you asked for consent this isn’t just a good time to ask, it is actually mandatory so why not make the most of it.

Like so many things in life, it isn’t what you do but the way you do it.

Requesting consent to keep data and keep in touch with contacts about your products and services doesn’t have to be a chore. It offers a great opportunity to communicate with them in a proactive and positive way.

There are several potential benefits:

Reassurance – With GDPR if you adhere to best practice you’ve nothing to fear – and, more significantly, neither do your contacts in their relationship with you. So why not tell them? In the process, you’ll remind them what you are a responsible business you are, how ethical you are and therefore how and why you care for them and protect their data. That’s great relationship-building stuff. 

Competitive advantage – You can bet your bottom dollar others won’t care about GDPR so can’t break their habits, won’t change their ways and don’t care about what they do with your data or even what you think about that. The law will undoubtedly deal with them in due course (though these folks will probably assume not). But that means by communicating honestly and openly and doing the right things you can create a gap between your own ethical approach to business and those the law is designed to protect us from.

Re-engagement – GDPR creates a natural reason to rekindle your connections with people – to ask how they are, suggest ways you can realign your relationship with them (maybe new or different services or products, you or they have developed since you last met or spoke for instance). No one’s fault but we’re all busy people and it is easy to fail to stay in touch.

Review your marketing – Many of us send out too much information that simply isn’t relevant to all of our contacts. Maybe GDPR is a timely reminder to put the blunderbuss away, slim things down and get more targeted and focused with our marketing?

Reputation – Trust and reputation are the most important facets of any business – why risk it by playing hard and fast with compliance.

Mostly we don’t mean to unduly pester people or develop gargantuan contact lists – but it is an inevitable consequence of generalising and rounding things up.

GDPR might just be a timely reminder to keep on top of your CRM, your marketing mail lists and wider contacts in general – and that can only help us focus on doing things better.

Then there’s the whole area of the differing ways we can communicate with one another – network, call, face to face meetings and so on.  

So go on, make a virtue of GDPR – get out there, rekindle those connections, ask people how they are and what stuff they want from you – whether they like it and how they feel about it. You’ll be getting some free and frank advice but it’s all good as it can inform your future marketing.

We’ll be discussing communications GDPR at this month’s Business Media Club meeting on Friday, April 27 at the CGM Media Centre in Worcester where Chris will be joined by a new member of the CGM team, digital marketer Ben Feltwell.

The club provides a blend of media, communications and marketing training, personal development and quality networking in a sharing setting.  Visit the Business Media Club page for more details.