In the data world many complain about GDPR and the negative effect it has had on their business. I see things differently… Maybe I’m a contrarian at heart, but GDPR has given us an opportunity to do data acquisition correctly.

The world of data was in shock when GDPR was announced, talk of huge fines, companies going bust and fear of marketing to consumers. Well what has happened after the dust settled? Has it been that bad? Have the brands run and hid? Can you collect data without falling fowl of GDPR? The answer to most of these questions in most cases is a deafening “hhhhmmmmm”.

It doesn’t need to be though. We can all go forward post GDPR, collect and consent and market with, as long as we do it with a ‘consumer first’ viewpoint. We need to stand back and ask ourselves:

Does this seem in the consumer’s interest?
Is this straight forward and obviously understandable by layman?
Is nothing hidden from the consumer?
If we can answer yes to these are we on the right track. GDPR to one side, if you can’t then you need to ask if you really think you are doing a good job. Is the data you are gathering ethical and to the point useful? To break this down I mean, does the consumer know the brand you are gathering the data for? If we hide the brand name in long boring never read privacy policies, is the consumer going to be a switched on loyal happy brand advocate? Or are you going to be mired with the myriad of spammers?

Instead of activating a happy consumer we are dirtying our brand by contacting a consumer who has never heard from us and likely doesn’t know they “opted-in” to marketing from us. Let’s be honest here, if you are buying consumer data from a third party, is it good enough that your brand is hidden in a “Privacy Policy”?

This stuff isn’t tricky to see how it should work. The answer is obvious. We need to put the consumer in charge of what we do. We do this by being upfront and obvious. Today’s mobile first consumer is internet savvy, switched on and great at dealing with information.

We have to give consumers clear up front choices, and by clear, I mean if it’s hidden in a Privacy Policy, no matter how consumer friendly, it’s simply not clear. We also ask transparent brand-led questions, not Ltd or holding companies’ names. The brands the consumer knows. This might be your first touch point with a new consumer and it needs to be done correctly, using the brand name you will use forever, the one on the packet in the retailer or on your website. You then continue your communications in the same vein, upfront brand first to create recognition and trust.

If you are buying third party data you need to ask how the consumer “consented” to hearing from you and if the answer is in a “Privacy Policy” you know this isn’t good enough. The consumer won’t know who you are and you have made a misstep at the start of your journey together.

If you want one take away its this… a consumer needs to have seen your brand and have consented before they are directly marketed too. Anything less than this is second rate and your KPIs will demonstrate this.

Ask for permission. Gain trust. Continue the conversation.

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