GDPR marketing for small business

How to win consent and get email addresses from privacy-wary customers thanks to a savvy use of GDPR for small business

11 December 2018
Lee Witherell

GDPR marketing for small business – How to win consent from privacy-wary consumers

Consumer concerns over data – The biggest threat in post-GDPR marketing, or the biggest opportunity?

Research from our partners, fastmap, has shown a rise in ‘data fundamentalism’ – concern by consumers that they’ve lost control over their data, that businesses mishandle their data and that the law fails to provide reasonable protection.

Between February and December 2017, fastmap undertook a large-scale quantitative research program looking at consumer attitudes towards data privacy; over that period the proportion of consumers who could be classified as data fundamentalists grew to 26%.

So, over a quarter of your customer base don’t trust you with their data.

Worrying. But the picture gets even more disturbing for marketeers trying to get new customers to opt-in to receive marketing communications. fastmap undertook further quantitative research with a representative panel of UK consumers, testing a number of competing permission statements – looking at the results makes for alarming reading.

GDPR Marketing for small business: data fundamentalism and its effect on consent rates

Table 1 shows that there is a difference in average consent rates of over 40 percentage points between ‘Unconcerned’ and ‘Pragmatic’ consumers and their data fundamentalist counterparts. The ‘Unconcerned’ consumers are defined as those who are NOT concerned that they have lost control of their data, think businesses handle their data well and that the laws DO provide reasonable protection. The ‘Pragmatists’ are everyone in between who don’t fall into the definition of data fundamentalists or ‘Unconcerned’.

Data fundamentalists exhibited average consent rates of 35%; whereas, ‘Pragmatists’ and ‘Unconcerned’ exhibited 60% and 75% respectively. Clearly, talking to this audience in the wrong way could have seriously damaging effects on your continued ability to deliver marketing communications to customers.

fastmap’s online research even concluded that reluctance from data fundamentalists to engage with brands can fall as low as 29%.

That means over two-thirds of this group of consumers are not happy to consent to brands’ marketing; serious food for thought for marketeers.

So, the rise of the data fundamentalism may be a serious challenge to the future success of your direct marketing campaigns – how do you convert concerned consumers into advocates for your brand?

GDPR marketing: optimising consent marketing for the data fundamentalist

There is hope for despairing marketers. One statement fastmap tested generated 47% consent rates from data fundamentalists. This statement takes a more positive and transparent approach, attempting to appease apprehensions over data handling:

We’d like to get in touch from time to time about offers and services that we think you’ll love
Our pledge to you:
• We promise we won’t inundate you
• We’ll keep it relevant
• We’ll always keep your data safe
• We’ll never share your details with anyone else
• You can change your mind whenever you like

Using quantitative research to test different segments will generate additional marketing insights to drive a differentiated approach to post-GDPR marketing communications. This will ultimately generate improved post-GDPR consent rates, higher levels of customer engagement and greater profits for your brand.

Brands can then implement a more effective segmented strategy to compliant marketing, fully aligned with the GDPR marketing principal of Privacy by Design.

My previous article – Turn On, Tune In, Sign-Up – Get Your Marketing Consent Form on the Right Track – highlighted how reasonable expectations of data processing varies between different demographics, but also between brands. Thus, it is vital that you undertake an evaluation of your own database to understand who it is reasonable to contact and on what topic.

You can find more insight to inform your post-GDPR marketing strategy for consent in fastmap’s guide on The Complexity of Consent.

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