As everyone will know, GDPR, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, came into force on the 25th May of this year. ComTech took all steps necessary in an attempt to comply with the regulation as did most other firms in our space and continuously review our processes and so on to ensure compliance. Like me, many of you will have been inundated with privacy notifications and opt in/opt out emails. Like me, I suspect many of you simply deleted these emails after filling out the first few received. Strangely enough, I now get more spam email than ever before and I am also sure that I miss real business information from providers and others in the industry as I am essentially no longer subscribed.
From a marketing perspective, GDPR is a disaster of unmitigated proportions. Mailing lists have been decimated by it. More onerous website access policies mean significantly more clicks just to get to content. The alternative to getting the message out is now social media and consequently, I find social media filled with ten times the announcements than it was just a few months ago. It has become significantly harder to develop leads and to inform the market under GDPR. So, what is the solution?
I have talked to any number of marketing folks across the industry and I sense a general sense of confusion over how to develop leads, quantify campaign effectiveness and engage with customers, prospects and the industry at large under GDPR. However, there are several marketing strategies that remain open though some may also be constrained in various ways by this legislation and patience is required as a result.
- Press announcements remain a good way to get information out using specialist firms to distribute those announcements who, hopefully, are GDPR compliant. In any case, news outlets want your news and so should opt in to its receipt,
- Articles, white papers and other content – including video and podcasts like our own CTRMRadio – also remain good ways to get content out to the market although it is now harder to inform potential readers of its existence,
- Social media of course is another way but social media is basically the equivalent of the Town Cryer of old in which basically everyone shouts short phrases on street corners hoping someone hears it,
- Mailing lists are not dead but decimated although one suspects that over time, mailing lists will grow again as the consumer of news and content actually does desire to receive it. It is simply that many were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of requests in a short time frame,
- Word of mouth remains the most effective marketing mechanism – though this is difficult to control or measure. Taking part in industry research like our vendor perception survey is one way that word of mouth can be translated into verifiable results.
There are many other effective marketing strategies but almost all rely on quality mailing lists or contact directories. This is the key issue but one that hopefully is medium-term. If anyone reading this has other ideas they wish to share, please feel free to comment. For the time being, marketeers need to be as creative as possible in order to be effective and to aim for quality and informative use of marketing channels for surely, part of the aim of GDPR was to reduce the unnecessary and uninformative – though, looking at my inbox, as I said above, I get more spam now than ever before……