Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Global Marketing
Management Consultants

The top 3 crazy lessons learned by the EU GDPR compliance implementation


This post is by Anton Buchner, a senior consultant with TrinityP3. Anton is one of Australia’s leaders in data-driven marketing. Helping navigate through the bells, whistles and hype to identify genuine marketing value when it comes to technology, digital activity, and the resulting data footprint.

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into force on May 25, 2018. You can read about some of the impacts here

And what a frenzy of communication it created. Businesses scrambled to get emails out saying that:

  1. They understand what it is (well thank goodness they can read)
  2. What it now means to their consumers (in terms of data being captured and privacy, or to be more accurate, a person’s privacy)
  3. What consumers needed to do about it (which was mostly f-all)

Like me, I’m sure you received a million emails, and now continually see pop-up boxes on websites asking for your consent to track you with a cookie. I wish they gave out a choc chip cookie for every time that I’ve seen this type of pop-up. I’d be fat and happy.

But seriously, I feel that businesses and marketers, seem to have missed the point.

The top 3 lessons

In adhering to a regulation change, businesses and marketers have been caught up in the letter of the law, as opposed to thinking about it from a consumer’s perspective.

It could have been an amazing opportunity to reconnect with customers, offer them some value in exchange for information, and then request a response to build a closer, or deeper relationship.

Lesson #1 – stop being irrational when it comes to a rational thing called data

Have we lost the plot when it comes to data? Have we been hoodwinked by the ‘big data’ and technology gurus when they talk about data?

I’d suggest that we all say in unison, “yes we have”.

Data is simply an output based on an action. Data provides facts and statistics that can be collected and analysed. Data in itself is dumb. But can provide amazing insight for marketers to capitalise on.

So, by implementing the GDPR, we are supposed to think about what data we are capturing and why it is valuable to us, ensuring that consumers are aware of it, and then utilise it for mutual benefit. Otherwise why the f*ck capture data?

OK I’ll stop swearing. You get the point that I’m fired up. And I know that it’s not very becoming to keep unleashing the f-bomb.

We must think of it as an exchange in value. You offer me something by taking action (ie: creating a data point), and I’ll offer you something in return by understanding you better. Or vice versa.

It’s as simple as that.

But why are so many businesses and marketers thinking irrationally about data? Why are they getting caught up in capturing as much data as possible, housing it in great systems, and then realising that it’s f*cking out of date (oops sorry), by the time that they use it?

The key to data-driven marketing is to identify the data variables (or behaviours), that you’d like to capture or identify upfront. And then make it clear as to why you need to capture them. For example, if you capture postcode or street address, then you can geo-target communication. If you capture household make-up, then you can make more relevant offers. If you capture attitudes, then you can create ‘tribal’ connections, etc.

It’s time to think rationally

Lesson #2 – most purchases are irrational, so being rational won’t cut it

Did I just say think rationally?

Well, when it comes to data capture you should. However, when it comes to marketing, and understanding target audiences, often it’s the irrational impulse that generates the sale.

And according to Harvard professor, Gerald Zaltman, 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious.

And if you follow one of the leading neuro-marketing strategists, Katharina Kuehn, you’d know how important it is to discover the ‘why’ behind people’s behaviour.

But as Katharina says, “we’re just at the beginning of learning about the human brain, the human mind, and inventing methodologies that can actually more precisely measure what’s going on.”

So, it’s early days in understanding irrational buying behaviour.

Hence, I hate to say it, but all the data that you’re currently capturing is probably useless, or at the very least telling you a very incomplete answer to your marketing puzzle.

Lesson 3# – rationality must at least equate to being relevant

 If you’re going to comply with the GDPR and other data laws and legislations, then please make your attempts relevant.

Have you ever bought a product on Amazon lately? Or have you used it to advertise on?

There’s a reason why Amazon has been so successful.

They started out with a platform and concept based on getting to know customer behaviour better than anyone else and building an amazing experience.

That’s why they ask you whether you’ve bought certain products (obviously from competitors), so that they don’t market them to you and look like idiots.

That’s why they use a relevancy score for marketers advertising in Amazon, “to ensure a good customer experience, and show ads that are most relevant to customers’ search and browse activities.”

It’s why they’re the kings of leveraging customer ratings and reviews.

And it’s why they’re reinventing supply chain and fulfilment processes with over 100,000 robots and ongoing delivery innovations.

What can you do about it?

Where am I going with this, and what can you, as a modern-day marketer, do about data compliance?

Well my main point is to reassess your approach to data capture.

Ensure that you know all of the marketing technologies that you have within your digital ecosystem, and identify what data is being captured (anonymous or identifiable) within each:

  • Email / sms deployment technology
  • Tag management
  • Marketing automation technology
  • Content management or delivery network
  • Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) technology
  • Data Management Platform (DMP)
  • Campaign management application
  • Remarketing system
  • Survey system
  • Etc

This infographic may help you identify them all.

And then assess all the marketing activity that utilises consumer (or customer) data to see how you’re building a value exchange.

Lifting the lid

At TrinityP3, we’ve been working with clients to help ’lift the lid’ on data-driven marketing management practices.

Helping rethink structures, capability, processes and the overall culture and approach to becoming more customer centric.

We have become the independent voice in helping clients renegotiate partnership contracts with external technology partners, vendors and agencies to create greater value for all parties.

And we’ve helped businesses identify the true value of data for better targeting in their brand advertising, acquisition and retention marketing activity.

If you’d like to read more about how we could assist you, then please click here

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    Anton is one of Australian's leading customer engagement consultants. With an eye for discovering greater marketing value and a love for listening to what customers are really saying about a brand. Anton has helped take global and local businesses including Microsoft, Nestlé, P&G, Gloria Jean's, Foxtel and American Express amongst others to the next level. Check out Anton's full bio here

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