Permission to Play

Everyone agrees GDPR has changed the digital marketing paradigm. In the process, it’s also changed the marketing game—providing smart marketers an unprecedented opportunity to shine. While seeking unambiguous and continuous opt-in from customers, marketers have the obligation (and privilege) to take scrupulous care of customer communication. Those that do this well will reap big rewards.

From interruption to permission

Coined by marketing guru Seth Godin, Permission Marketing relies on consumers agreeing that you can market to them. Instead of interrupting large groups of consumers with broad messages, all over the place, it focusses on specific messages that reach the people who’ve said they want to hear from you.

In Godin’s own words, it’s “the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them” (Godin, 1999). And the key element GDPR took care of for marketers is ‘anticipated’.

By ensuring an ‘opt-in’ approach to customer data, GDPR has made sure we have explicit consent from customers to use their information. It may have been a slightly painful process to make this change, but with our systems adapted and new processes in place, the benefits are already clear:

  • Greater trust – disclosing how we use customer data, up front, gives more reason for consumers to trust us with it. Some may even trust us with more detailed information than before.
  • Economy of spend – data leads to the insights we need to deliver more targeted marketing campaigns, helping us make the most of budgets.
  • Better brand perception – transparency around data and more relevant marketing both help to build more positive brand reputations.
  • Greater focus – with limits on how long a company can hold onto customer data, databases are regularly ‘cleaned up’, with irrelevant or out-of-date contacts removed. So less time spent on disengaged consumers, more time focused on engaged consumers – and converting sales.

With 20 years gone since the term Permission Marketing first appeared, the principle isn’t new. But tighter data regulations – specifically GDPR – have surely taken it from a recommended marketing approach to the de facto way of working. France Televisions, France’s number one broadcasting organisation implemented Oracle Blukai to hit both those objectives – significantly improve their marketing ROI but also be compliant with GDPR and the company’s own “Data Friendly” policy.

Now that we have consumers’ explicit permission to use their data, we should take care not to squander the opportunities it brings – and that begins with keeping it safe. Thankfully, GDPR put cybersecurity on everyone’s agenda.

Find out more about how modern marketers view data security and compliance in our recent report.

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