It is time for Cinderella to go to the Ball?

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Right now, where GDPR is concerned, it feels a little like we are in the opening sequence of Apocalypse Now! The messages coming out of off-the-shelf CRM providers and other industry sources are doom laden and the list of things you can no longer do seems endless. It’s no wonder that many senior managers are currently sitting either with their head in their hands or their hands over their ears.

But what if we look at this as a pivotal, disruptive moment that could force a fundamental change in the way businesses market to their audiences? Rather than trying to work out how to shoehorn existing business practices into a GDPR shaped box, why not work out some different creative communications strategies that engage and involve existing and potential audiences.

Data is our clients’ most precious commodity, yet in many organisations it is a thoroughbred racehorse that is being worked like a mule. Flogging a database to death with endless ‘Register Now’ emails won’t get the best out of it no matter how beautiful the HTML looks. If large parts of your database are about to become inaccessible because you don’t have the right permissions, then it is time to have a good long think about how else are you going to attract subscribers and visitors.

Restricting data to a one-dimensional format, i.e. in an Excel spreadsheet, also acts as a brake to marketing creativity. Event marketers are expected to craft deep-dive, industry-focussed, issue specific, multi-layered campaigns rather like those featured in the pages of Marketing or Campaign magazines. But they are being asked to do this manually using a spoon rather than a with a set of specific automated tools. It’s all a bit pre-industrial revolution.

GDPR offers the legislative imperative to sort your data out and get it into a multi-dimensional format, i.e. in a properly structured and managed database, so that your marketing team can focus on the messages they want to send out rather than who they are sending it to. Actions by your potential audiences can be followed up by pre-programmes processes, freeing up your team members to create more targeted content, accelerating penetration and influence.

If you let it, the GDPR fairy godmother will lead your Cinderella data on to greater things. Ignore her and you could be consigning your business to the ashes.