Naturally we’re being asked almost daily about GDPR.

Our answer is simple: more than ever brands need to understand the value of data. 

Too often it’s treated like a gift that consumers are only too happy to hand over in return for what? So they can hear about our latest offers or products on almost a daily basis? 

Is that really the best we can do? 

We commonly see brands making one, or both, of these mistakes: overestimating the power of promotion - be it 10%, 15% 25% or 2-4-1, too often communication is based around offers, not value, and assuming that data gives the divine right to pilfer the audience with endless communications. 

The upshot is a transactional relationship that’s dominated by relentless sales driving activity. It says ‘you’re not important to us, our products and sales are’.

Is this really ‘putting the customer at the heart of your business’? Is that same customer so desperate to buy from you again that they’re refreshing their emails on a daily basis for the next offer?

Of course not.

Smart brands think about long-term value, not just immediate response. 

Jeff Bezos was recently congratulated on a great quarter for the business. His reaction - he shrugged his shoulders and said ‘that quarter was baked two, maybe three years ago’. In a world where brands are obsessed with short-term shareholder value, the world’s biggest retailer is focused on building long-term growth. 

So why aren’t others? Why has their sale strategy become their every single day of the year strategy?

In the post-GDPR era, the pressure will be on and the value of data, reframed. In fact, the entire channel will need reconsidering and the brands that succeed in gaining attention will consider data-driven communications as personalised, ongoing brand building activity, not email marketing. They’ll consider personalisation less as a name after the word ‘Dear’ and more about the person who opens the email. They’ll think less about what the brand wants to say and more about what the person wants to know. 

These are principles we’ve employed for our client Jack Daniel’s for over twenty years now, and it works. Those on the Jack CRM system aren’t sold to, their spoken to – engaged with if you must – but they buy one more bottle per year than the equivalent consumer who doesn’t subscribe. And, if you’re into this kind of thing, the open rates and click through rates are industry leading too.

Chris Falconer