GDPR: Take a Long, Hard Look at Yourselves in 2018

ThunderheadEvery so often something big comes along that throws a spanner in the business works. There might be mild panic and numerous meetings, but ultimately down the line, everything is usually fine – and if done properly, things can feel as though they’ve changed for the better.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of these spanners, clunking its way through every facet of the business. As the date for GDPR compliance, 25th May, draws ever closer,  organizations are frantically trying to get their house in order.

Also Read: The Coming of New Marketing Mix with GDPR: Automated Consent Management for Websites

Fixing a Broken System

Yet GDPR itself isn’t the problem. It’s an attempt to address something that should concern us all: a lack of customer trust in the organizations that gather, store and process data, fueled in part by a wholesale trade in personal information. GDPR is an attempt to fix a broken system, and rebalance it so that it works for individuals and brands alike – but with the customer in control.

The regulation is coming, because, when we boil it down, brands have lost sight of customer needs. Data has created a fog between the two, and the consequent failure to protect customer data has meant that any trust has dissipated. In a world of consumers empowered by the likes of social media, businesses are losing what keeps them ticking – brand loyalty.

GDPR is a nudge for companies to take a good, hard look at themselves. A key part of this opportunity is to use the time to take a step back, decide what it is you want to achieve, and how you want to achieve it with your customers rather than just your customers’ data.

Also Read: Are You GDPR Ready?

It’s Not Me, It’s You

So, what are customers getting out of their relationship with you? If all you’re doing with their data is finding ways to sell to them, they’re not getting any value. Trust, and therefore loyalty, can vanish in an instant.

Now is the time to recognize that you may not have customer interests at heart, and do something about it. The GDPR deadline could act as the launch date for your new customer strategy, based on a value exchange that will repair the damage caused by years of data misuse.

This value is created through meaningful, consistent engagement over time that builds trust and leads to a stronger, more valuable relationship between business and customer. And how do you achieve that? By using tech that allows you to understand each and every customer as an individual.

To visualize customer journeys in real-time and personalize every interaction you have with a customer so their experience is always relevant.

Also Read: Is GDPR Really Changing Ad Tech?

Looking Under the Bonnet

This relationship acts as a high-level service for the customer, who sees the benefit of coming back time and time again. They feel like the brand knows them well enough to offer timely and relevant interactions, rather than a catch-all approach that goes straight to the department marked ‘spam’.

The customer relationship is at the heart of digital transformation, and the challenge to brands is to restore it back to its pivotal position at the heart of the business.

The GDPR spanner in the works can be the catalyst to repairing your customer relationships. But it’s going to need you, to be honest with what you currently have, and a determination to bring customer interest back to the engine of your brand.

Also Read: Interview with Jason Hemingway, Chief Marketing Officer at Thunderhead

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