• Tracey Twynham

Data-driven Marketing: Will it Survive GDPR?

The most exciting thing about data-driven marketing is that it focuses on the individual. Companies can use all the intelligence at their disposal to pinpoint and target individuals with personalised, relevant messaging. Data-driven marketing has enabled companies and brands to deliver relevant, timely messaging to people who are actually interested in receiving it. It’s allowed us to kiss goodbye to generic, scattergun eMarketing and to send finely tuned, personalised communications.



What About Data-driven Marketing Under GDPR?

As recently as late 2017, the future was bright for data-driven marketing, but in the light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and GDPR, what does the future hold? Concerns about public sentiment now override maximizing the use of consumer data, leaving data-driven marketing with an uncertain future.


From 2018 onwards, marketers need to tread carefully when using a data-driven approach, but this doesn’t mean brands cannot continue to successfully market based on personal preferences and behaviours. The data-driven marketing of the future is all about compliance. If you’ve got all your data protection ducks in a row and are abiding by the central tenets of GDPR (and PECR) you won’t go far wrong.


Confused About GDPR and PECR?

The GDPR applies to all marketing using personal data. PECR applies on top of GDPR when marketing via electronic channels. The DMA has published a handy chart which illustrates whether not consent is required, based on the type of marketing activity.

Is it Time to Panic?


The clear message is “Don’t Panic!”. Data-driven marketing can continue. The intelligence lovingly built up in your databases over the years can still be used. You just need to be sure about the basis upon which you are using it. Consent and legitimate interest are both legitimate grounds on which to contact your customer base under GDPR.

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) reported that the first month of GDPR saw a sharp increase in the number of complaints to regulators across Europe, showing strong public interest in the new rules. The ICO told the Guardian it has seen a rise in breach notifications from organisations, as well as more data protection complaints following the activation of the law.


Real Business sets out some common GDPR mistakes that companies are already making. Perhaps they have misinterpreted or misunderstood the legislation or have simply buried their head in the sand. Either way it’s not too late to make change and the Real Business article offers clear advice on getting compliant.


We’ve read some pretty scary figures in the press about how much it can cost to become compliant. Apparently, the Bank of England has spent £1,590,776 on ensuring compliance! Rest assured it doesn’t have to cost that much but you do have to spend time, energy and resources getting it right!


If you’re still unsure as to where you stand, the ICO has published a handy data protection self-assessment toolkit to keep you on the straight and narrow. The toolkit will help you assess your compliance and provide advice on what to do to keep people’s data secure.


The Future of Data-driven Marketing



Despite GDPR and PECR, marketers are still seeing data-driven marketing as the most exciting opportunity for 2018 and beyond. With its ability to enhance the customer experience and provide real-time experiences it can be a marketing game changer, especially in the B2C arena. A recent (post-GDPR) report by Thomson Data reveals that over 40% of brands are planning to increase their data-driven marketing budgets in the coming years.


Data-driven marketing is not dead, but it needs to be used with compliance and confidence to ensure a bright future.

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