Article

Julie Cheetham
Julie Cheetham 6 March 2018

GDPR: What Makes You Tick?

With GDPR quickly approaching, how have you prepared for new data regulation? While you may have all of this covered or be well on the way, how much have you considered the customer and the opportunity to truly engage them - as opposed to simply putting your house in order?

GDPR is a hot topic at the moment, with plenty of seminars, content and advice on offer to those companies seeking illumination and guidance. If your business has not yet decided its approach – now’s the time to do so, as the 25 May deadline is fast approaching. The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) is a good place to start and the IDM is also usefully offering training and accreditation.

Although there is now a glut of guidance available on what to do, there is relatively little on how to do it well. The ‘what’ is essentially about auditing what you do now, reviewing and improving this and ensuring you have the appropriate documentation, policies, processes and compliance. So – all worthy stuff – but process and procedures driven.

While you may have all of this covered or be well on the way, how much have you considered the customer and the opportunity to truly engage them - as opposed to simply putting your house in order? Getting your approach right here will reap dividends later. If you do need to re-permission, getting maximum engagement and response rates will be crucial to avoid the outcome being a decimated marketable database.

If like many UK companies, you need to re-permission some of your existing customer bases and/or better understand their communications preferences, it’s worth bearing in mind that they’re likely to be subject to a myriad of such initiatives before the end of May. Consumers will subsequently start to become much more aware that they could and should take greater control of their own data.

The killer question to achieve cut-through, engagement and optimal response rates when devising such activity is: what makes them tick? Indeed, what would make you tick yes to an opt-in or respond to channel preferences? You’d probably start with ‘Why bother?’ or ‘What’s in it for me?’. That’s where the value exchange comes in. What are the benefits to your customer and why should they spend time responding to you? There’s plenty of unrewarding form filling in this life and you don’t want your communications to become any part of this pile!

If your company would like customer opt-ins, preferences or even more than a few seconds of consideration – what are you prepared to offer in return? You may not even have tangible benefits but some UK charities have already shown how to deal with this in a compelling way. For example, the RNLI, which won awards for its re-permissioning campaign, talked about their volunteer crews sailing over waves higher than houses to save lives and needing just a tick from supporters. That’s the power of juxtaposition. Essentially they’re saying ‘We’re doing important, heroic work. All we ask in return is something small but powerful so that we can carry on’.

A recent re-permissioning campaign had to grapple with the issue of there being no ‘hard benefits’ but plenty of softer benefits that could truly change customers’ financial trajectories and as a result, their realization of life goals. After we uncovered this insight we:

  • Created a benefit-led piece articulating the key, human benefit
  • Included other key benefits within a carefully considered hierarchy
  • Combined this with tried and trusted direct response techniques
  • Introduced an incentive element – whether responding yes or no – as we recognised this would increase engagement and optimise the response rate
  • Offered a choice of three response mechanisms, to uplift overall responses
  • Sought to simplify and speak in plain, clear language to create clarity and trust
  • Live tested different creative executions and formats. 

Thus far, the rewards have been an opt-in rate of over 90% and an overall response rate to our direct communications of almost 20%! Further testing and learning are planned to optimise engagement and response still further, in classic champion/challenger style. This will include using BURN’s proprietary Proven Creativity tool to research different visual and copy cues so that we can run with the strongest performers to solicit every possible opt-in. 

The moral of the story is: work out what makes your audience tick and ensure that you offer them appropriate benefits as part of your value exchange. Essentially, it’s about ‘give and take’ on a very human level. Go about your re-permissioning and preferences as part of an ongoing reciprocal relationship and your customers will reward you; treat it as just a transactional exchange or a one-way street and don’t be surprised if you see plenty of no entry signs!

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