GDPR: Short-term pain, long-term gain

In the run-up to the implementation of GDPR, most headlines have focussed on the negative aspects of the regulation - specifically for marketers, that we can’t continue our marketing activities as we’ve become accustomed to.

Whilst GDPR will lead to large changes, not all changes are bad. There will be short-term pain, but longer-term it will be a change for the better - for both consumers and marketers (and the brands they represent).

GDPR means that consumers will have the power to request insight into what data a business holds on them, then request that data to be deleted. In addition, marketers and eCommerce teams now need clear permission (defined as unambiguous consent ) to use a consumers’ data or access their mobile phones and computers - to add a cookie, for example.

By preparing for this, as companies audit their data usage and build solutions to manage their databases and partners, businesses - both brands and solution providers - are putting the consumer at the very centre of their business.

With GDPR, businesses now have an ultimatum to do exactly what they have wanted to achieve for years: be genuinely customer-centric by May 25th, or face huge financial penalties.

This change can only have positive benefits for advertisers, ad-tech vendors and consumers alike.

In a recent report, 61% of senior marketers highlighted building customer relationships as their top digital marketing strategy, yet only 15% of those senior marketers were confident that they knew their customers well enough to do so. By May 25th, the businesses that those senior marketers represent will be legally obliged to understand their customers better - it’s no longer an option.

Putting the consumer at the centre of their business means that advertisers and solution providers will understand their relationship with customers far better, in turn driving relevancy and efficiency in communication, increasing return on marketing spend.

Given time, current headaches around consent will evolve into a massive boon for advertisers. After all, consumers that have consented to be communicated-with are hand-raising - they are going to be higher value customers.

Likewise, if an advertiser starts seeing specific solution providers continually have consent denied to them, it will give clear insight into the providers they partner with, helping them select better partners that both they and their consumers are happy with.

The era of poor quality creative and 'pile it high, sell it cheap' digital messaging - via email, display media, and all forms of retargeting - is coming to an end. This will be replaced by marketing that focusses on relevancy and outcomes that benefit everyone within the value exchange.

The result is fewer messages that are better personalised.

GDPR will help push the advertising and marketing industries to improve. It will increase efficiency for advertisers, and it will enhance relevancy for consumers.

That can only be a good thing.

Incidentally, if you're an advertiser or publisher that's seeking a free solution to gain GDPR and ePrivacy Directive compliant-consent, then take a look at Conversant's Consent Tool.