Big Data: Bigger Responsibilities

Electronic marketing of yesteryear: bulk data purchase, mass emails, cold leads, and no consistent success. An approach built on foundations of quantity over quality and, with past legislation, an approach that was legal. With consumer data increasing in its abundance and accuracy, privacy legislation has had to expand its scope to protect customer rights. Updates to our domestic data protection laws (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003) have gone some way to achieving this, as part of wider EU directives.

This legislative framework underpins current marketing strategies through the example of opt-outs and bundled consent. But with time, comes innovation, and with innovation, comes change. .

Data just got bigger

Introduction of this new analytical approach has brought with it a wave of opportunity to further personalise and target marketing. An opportunity some may already be utilising or one that only inhabits future theoretical data plans. Regardless of current strategy, ‘Big data’ is the future. It’s time to start thinking about how your business can benefit or run the risk of falling behind.

Comprising of data sourced from traditional and new sources, ‘Big data’ analytics serves to build a multifaceted understanding of a customer’s preferences, and projections of their future behaviours. Combining central databases, with new digital sources such as social media, allows you to develop predictive behavioural models. Put simply; powerful marketing data with increased personalisation, and focused targeting for campaign strategies.

With power comes responsibility

The prospects of the future, and the mishandlings of the past, have not gone without scrutiny however. Pre-ticked opt-ins, third-party handling of data, and marketing by assumed interest, are all mechanisms employed to circumnavigate regulatory boundaries. Combined with the powerful insights that current analytics can provide, it comes as no great surprise that legislators have decided to redraw the playing field once more.

Enter the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the construct of that new playing field. The goal of this new EU legislation; improve transparency, control and protection of personal data. GDPR is set to install procedures that will redefine the rigour of data protection in electronic marketing. Importantly, consent must be accompanied by statements of explicit clarity and unambiguity, with regard to how personal data will be used*. An approach which aims to ‘unbundle’ preference options.

Regulation is opportunity

But, what are the practical implications of all this? The reality is the need for both a strategic response, and a chance to utilise the opportunities it creates. GDPR will challenge companies to ensure they understand their client and prospect data, how it is obtained, how it is managed, and how it is used.

Beyond this, it provides an opportunity to reengage with customers in an effort to define and segment their preferences. Combined with new data trends and tools, these changes ultimately tailor and focus the content provided to the benefit of both consumer and business.

*Source: http://www.eugdpr.org/