The data borrowers

Grant Coleman, VP - UK, SC, UAE, Emarsys, believes brands must now put an emphasis on trust.

Marketers do not own our data, they borrow it. We share it with them with the trust and expectation that they will keep it safe and use it to provide us with a better experience.

The problem has been that too many brands have been exploiting this data and creating poor experiences for us. Companies selling email lists or opting us in for dozens of emails communications after filling out one form have often created an unpleasant and spam-ridden environment.

Lack of consent

Not to mention the huge unrest caused by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where data was used without consent to target voters with hyper-specific campaigns. But there’s a positive change coming.

GDPR is a new way to make sure brands and marketers are borrowing responsibly. The data protection law, which comes into force in May, will help us to reclaim our data and decide who we really want to lend it to. It’s no different to if we were to lend clothes or money to a friend; we would want assurances around how items would be looked after, when they would be returned to us, or that we would get something back in return. Now, GDPR will help us to get similar guarantees from the many companies we lend our data to.

With the added data regulations coming into play, the borrowers are having to re-think what they do with our personal information. Here are three things we should expect as part of a fair value exchange for sharing our data, and ways we can use this milestone to establish more positive brand engagements:

Interactions on our own terms: GDPR is an opportunity for data borrowers to re-evaluate their communications and become far more customer-centric. New preference centres are emerging, asking for the first time in one place: “Do you want to receive this newsletter? What offers are you most interested in?” The power is back in the consumer’s hands, and we should all make sure we are utilising these services to improve the quality of our brand interactions.

Clear consent: From May, companies must be clear and transparent about what consumers are consenting to. Gone are the days of ambiguous disclaimers next to pre-filled tick boxes. We should now be able to quickly understand what data will be collected and how it will be used, so we can make a more informed decision over whether we want to share our personal information.

Offers, rewards and personalised experiences: Deloitte research shows that consumers want to be recognised and rewarded as individuals, and “opting in” will lead to better, more personalised experiences. However, we know the value our data holds for brands to market to us more effectively, and we can expect to see more incentives to tackle any consumer hesitation.

Post-GDPR, the data borrowers will have to prove they can be trusted for a fair value exchange to take place. These new regulations will allow consumers to take full control of their personal data which will, ultimately, lead to better marketing and better experiences.

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