How traditional marketing channels can truly benefit from GDPR and PECR

British businesses are racing to be compliant with the new GDPR guidelines, in time for the deadline of the 25th May 2018. With the biggest change to data protection regulations for 40 years looming, the debate has understandably been dominated by the technical legal requirements. However there is a danger with this approach of missing a resulting wider opportunity, the potential for a radical shape up of the current advertising model, that smart marketers can truly benefit from.

Some of the issues at play include: How to re-contact existing customers to get improved consents, what consents are needed now and in the future and how to continue to engage with customers, what the implications are likely to be for their Programmatic Advertising methods and algorithms and just what might be legal and not when using digital channels and social media advertising.

What it boils down to is that we are essentially moving to a positive “consent for purpose” model of using data. Another area impacting on this and perhaps less widely reported, is how the GDPR guidelines interact with the existing PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations), updated in 2016. This is especially true of “prospecting” for new customers, a situation where by definition, an organisation cannot have existing consent. The combined effect of these pieces of legislation mark a significant landmark in data protection and a huge opportunity for traditional media to reclaim lost advertising revenue. 

Digital media has benefited so enormously in recent years due to measurement. Demonstrating clear CPA and CPC measure have led to digital media being perceived as better value for money, with the continued growth of performance marketing. Whilst CPA has gradually increased over time, black box programmatic algorithms appear to maximise ROI on the performance of campaigns. In truth, the black box nature of this process drives out creative solutions and real insight but does make the best of advertising budgets available. However, what happens if prospecting fails to deliver when faced with GDPR and PECR?

This is now a great potential opportunity for more traditional methods. At Starcount, we have been looking at building GDPR compliant methods to really understand customers and prospects. Conventional geodemographics are rather crude; instead, we have focussed on methods to describe customers in terms of their passions, motivations and interests, using a wide range of data from disparate new big data sources and from those building anonymised GDPR compliant targeting methods.

Direct Mail and Door-to-Door share many similarities with programmatic digital channels and in this era of Big Data, large and exciting new data sources are opening back up giving a major improvement over the old purely geodemographic methods. This involves rich data analysis, with strong similarities to digital programmatic methods, of GDPR compliant anonymised local data from a wide range of sources and from our trials at Starcount, we believe this will drive traditional direct media back to lower CPA than digital media, avoiding the pitfalls of PECR altogether.

The next 12 months is set to be a year of flux but it offers a unique opportunity for traditional media to take advantage of the many unknowns that GDPR and PECR raises.  

This piece was devised and written by Clive Humby, Chief Data Scientist at Starcount, and originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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