A recent Marketing Week article (September 2018) posed this very question to its readers, citing the Insurance provider Homeserve as a case study to help answer the query.
It opened with the statement that Homeserve claims it is actually saving money and receiving fewer complaints since GDPR came into force in May this year. On the face of it, that seems to be nothing out of the ordinary. Marketing to opted in lists coupled with using legitimate interest as consent, to an undoubtedly smaller audience, would obviously result in a reduction in postage and sending costs and fewer disgruntled recipients.
The real story here is the quality of the engagement Homeserve has been able to achieve since the new regulations were put in place. For a company that sends 35 million pieces of Direct Marketing each year, “relying heavily on legitimate interest”, GDPR may have been quite a daunting prospect. But what’s refreshing is the way Homeserve embraced the challenge and optimised the opportunity.
Speaking at a DMA event held at the end of September, Homeserve’s group DPO (Richard Merrygold) gave an interesting insight into how the business prepared for the changes in regulations. Homeserve carried out extensive market research and testing that showed although opt in’s had fallen slightly, they were actually seeing a better ROI on their marketing activity.
A key point to consider here is the lawful basis of consent you wish to proceed with when marketing to your target audience. Legitimate interest isn’t a license to send whatever you like to whoever you like without consequence. The best interests of the recipient have to be, and always should be, paramount where any form of direct marketing is concerned, and all the proper and necessary impact assessments should be carried out thoroughly prior to sending any campaign. However if all the right processes have been followed, the recently implemented GDPR regulations shouldn’t strike fear into any business looking to engage with their customers. If you’ve done your research, and your focus is customer centric, then there’s no reason you won’t be able to put together far and wide reaching campaigns. Coupled with a solid opt in approach, legitimate interest could see your marketing response rates soar.
GDPR is becoming more familiar
What has been fascinating since May 25th this year is seeing the way the general public have reacted to the GDPR regulations being put into place. In order to gauge how much the public trusts the way businesses use and store their data since last year, the ICO carried out a survey which showed 34% of people asked said they had high trust and confidence, up 13% from 2017. The positive effect GDPR has had on the general public can’t be overlooked, given the increase from last year. There’s still work to be done though. The same survey illustrated that whilst trust and confidence has increased, 37% still said they had low trust and confidence, which represented only a 1% decrease from 2017. There’s an understandable bedding in period for the new legislations; the collective aim for all businesses handling data moving forward should be to increase that trust and confidence significantly.
Whilst GDPR had been a long time coming, and the coverage across all media outlets was extensive, a surprising number of people were completely unaware of the new regulations and how they would affect them personally. What’s important for businesses to consider is how their marketing communications will be received and the impact they will have on the recipient. Not only will opted in lists and considered audience targeting save you time and money, it will also impact how your target audience feels about your brand and your business. After all, your integrity and reputation are priceless.
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*Sources: Marketing Week, The Information Commissioners Office