PR: the sole survivor of the GDPR apocalypse

Gemma Spinks, director at Neo PR, says it's time to embrace the evolution of marketing.

Bored of talking about GDPR yet? You won’t be the only one. We’ve all heard about it, we all know it means massive process changes for every business, and I am pretty sure there are only a handful of businesses that truly understand the scale of the impact. But what if GDPR isn’t all bad for businesses?

For the PR industry, GDPR could be the best thing that has happened in a long while. The regulation will be sure to do a great job of killing off any unsolicited direct marketing, meaning that hefty budget that was once spent on email marketing is now up for grabs, and marketers need a way to spend it.

In order to market to audiences post the GDPR apocalypse, businesses need to be seen as a reputable source, a trusted voice, and an expert in the industry. Cue PR. Let’s face it, among the doubt and uncertainty that other forms of marketing can bring, media endorsement still has authority and integrity in the UK and a well-placed piece of thought leadership, whether it’s a short comment or longer industry debate discussing challenges in the market, will not only show potential customers what they can do to fix it, but it’ll also position the company as a leader within the industry.

Gemma Spinks, director, Neo PR.

And that carries weight. Publications, magazines and blogs all have editors whose sole responsibility is to ensure the content put in front of its readers is fit for purpose, accurate and relevant. So if a piece of content gets past the editorial team, readers know it has value.

This new way of thinking is going to be a treasure trove of opportunity for the PR world as marketing becomes more about expertise, niche targeting, independent endorsement and the all important SEO rankings. As PR professionals we need to take note, step up and show those businesses currently hiding under a big dark GDPR cloud, that the cloud has a silver lining and we can help them find it.

Content will still remain at the top of the hierarchy, and a new dimension of PR will give organisations a voice to propel themselves to the forefront of their industries. Better still, businesses can use this content to target the prospects that did opt in to their now, small but effective, database. There will be other options to explore too, of course. Targeting customers through paid social media campaigns will likely see a rise, as will the use of organic social media to boost a brand’s presence. Events, research based campaigns and good old fashioned direct marketing via the postman are also all ways that businesses can look to still gain ROI from their marketing spend. After all, that’s what it comes down to.

So, let’s not all panic at the uncertainty of the GDPR apocalypse. Instead, let’s embrace the evolution of a new marketing world – one that sees PR leading from the front.

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