On 25th May 2018, the world of digital direct marketing meets the proverbial cliff edge, which will undoubtedly have huge effects on the marketing industry. In the run-up to the implementation of the regulation, the noise surrounding GDPR and the effect it’ll have on the industry hasn’t been loud enough, leaving many organisations approaching the date without a plan in place of what post-GDPR marketing will look like.
But what does GDPR actually mean for marketers? Our MD, Ash, explains…
GDPR means that marketers won’t be able to digitally reach out to someone who hasn’t expressed a legitimate interest; if a key part of marketing activity for an organisation to date has been emailing or calling prospective customers from a list or database then they could be in trouble.
Panic strikes and marketers immediately think their business – especially if it’s small – is doomed to fail. Worries only escalate when they discover that over half of the organisation’s email database has either opted out or not chosen to opt in.
It might seem daunting now, but GDPR will actually – in the long term – be beneficial for the industry, although many will be sad to miss the quick returns that digital direct marketing can offer in terms of lead-generation and instead will have to focus on playing the long game. And there’s no use burying your head in the sand: GDPR is without a doubt the biggest change the marketing landscape has seen for a decade so elements of marketing are certainly going to change.
With digital direct marketing pretty much out of the equation, what’s left are numerous tools and strategies for marketers to play with, including advertising, social media, PR and SEO, which will quickly become the shiny new tools in the post-GDPR marketing toolbox.
With its mass audience and creative appeal, above-the-line advertising will be first on the hit-list. But whilst advertising is great for raising awareness unless a huge budget is put behind it, there’s little guarantee of it falling into the right eyes or ears. And with many companies predicted to flock to advertising to fix their marketing woes, the space is only set to get even more crowded, with many messages competing for attention and leaving fewer touch points available. Whilst advertising undoubtedly has its benefits, what’s challenging is the scepticism that comes with it; advertising might turn heads but it’s unlikely to equate to direct sales, especially when so many adverts come under fire from the Advertising Standards Agency for being misleading or untrue.
What’s needed is a reputable source, backed by a trusted voice, to position the organisation as an expert in the industry. Amongst the doubt and uncertainty that other forms of marketing can bring, media endorsement has authority and integrity. A well-placed piece of thought leadership, whether it’s a short comment or longer industry debate discussing the issues faced by the market, will not only show potential customers what they can do to fix it, but it’ll also position the company and its spokespeople as a leader within the industry. And that carries weight: publications, magazines and blogs all have Editors whose sole responsibility is ensuring the content put in front of its readers is fit for purpose, accurate and relevant. So if a piece of content gets past the editorial team, readers know it has value.
The same goes for social media. The humble retweet isn’t always given a huge amount of attention, but a retweet on Twitter or a share on LinkedIn by a trusted source goes a long way to endorse the message a company conveys to its prospects.
The good news is that after 25th May 2018, despite the demise of digital direct marketing, the world of PR and social media won’t change. With PR, you don’t need the permission of the recipient, as if the content has been placed accurately where your audience will read it – which with a well planned and executed PR campaign it should be – then your message will resonate and put your organisation at the forefront of both your industry and your prospects.
Want to increase your PR presence? Get in touch with us to see how we can help you to make some noise in the industry: firstname.lastname@example.org