Marketing News: Are you getting personalised marketing right?
How can marketers improve data usage with GDPR?
Following the introduction of GDPR last month, how organisations handle data is under more scrutiny than ever. With the new law in place, marketers must make sure they are only storing data they genuinely need and are handling it in a secure way. At the same time, they need to use the data they do possess effectively, in order to persuade customers and clients that sharing their details with them is worthwhile and will improve the service they receive.

With this in mind, it’s reassuring to learn that trust in how brands use data is actually increasing. In fact, a recent study carried out by OnePoll for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) found that just 37% of people don’t trust marketers to use their data responsibly, down from 57% in 2016. However, the findings suggest that people aren’t necessarily clear on how their data is used, which might potentially prevent them from sharing useful information with brands in the future.

GDPR offers opportunities to marketers
According to the study, 48% of customers don’t understand where and how organisations typically use their personal data – up from 31% two years ago. Some 45% said they ‘somewhat understand’ how their data is used, while just 7% said they believe they have a good understanding on this matter.

This could potentially be fuelled by a lack of knowledge about the recent changes to data protection law. Just 41% said they are aware of GDPR, but most did not appear to know their rights as a consumer when it comes to data protection.

It’s this gap in people’s knowledge that might be leaving space for them to doubt how brands are handling their information, and question whether it’s being used in an honest and transparent way. This suggests there is an opportunity for many brands to educate their audience and dispel any myths that could be obstructing their progress.

As Chris Daly, Chief Executive of the CIM, notes: “People who are more aware of the regulations are more likely to say they understand data protection and trust the organisations using their data more. GDPR should therefore be seen as an opportunity for responsible marketers and brands to reignite public trust and confidence.”

Demonstrate data is being effectively used
A separate report by analytics firm SAS found that while lots of companies are investing in analytics solutions and artificial intelligence to improve the customer journey, many aren’t getting the desired results. Indeed, the research found that 93% of businesses can’t use analytics to accurately predict what individual customers will want in future, while some are issuing communications based on incomplete, irrelevant or outdated information.

As Tiffany Carpenter, Head of Customer Intelligence at SAS observed: “No matter how many organisations say they’re using artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to improve their customer experience, the reality is clearly far behind the talk. Too many companies are not using all the information available to make accurate predictions about their customers’ latest tastes and circumstances, trapping them in the digital shadows of their past selves.”

That’s worrying for businesses as they run the risk of harming their customer relationships. After all, the failure to use data effectively could cause a customer to doubt whether they should stay loyal to a business and allow a firm to retain their details. Businesses that have embraced real-time analytics solutions must therefore work to ensure they are as accurate as possible, with insights based on internal, external, online and offline data sets.

“Only then can you achieve the kind of intelligent personalisation that modern consumers now demand,” Ms Carpenter said.

Be clear about privacy
For software developer Mozilla, the key to ensuring customers have faith in how businesses handle personal data is simple – clarity over privacy and coherency over how data is used. Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, chief marketing officer at Mozilla, noted that his firm’s privacy policy fits on one page of A4, which means people don’t need to read through reams of impenetrable legalese in order to understand it. “Why not at the front end say here’s what’s happening and here’s how we’re taking care of your information differently?” he said.

Transparency over data handling is increasingly becoming the new norm and as businesses and customers adapt to the world with GDPR in force, it could become something that distinguishes one firm from another and sways purchasing decisions. Marketers must therefore be able to demonstrate to customers the value that sharing their data can add for them, by delivering consistently relevant and well-targeted communications to their target audience.

All the while, they must provide assurances that they are handling this sensitive information in a compliant and responsible way and building a reputation for competence in this area.


Sources / Further reading
Despite GDPR, consumers still don’t understand how brands use their data Marketing Week
SAS survey: 93 per cent of businesses cannot use analytics to predict individual customers’ needs Global Banking and Finance Review