The GDPR – an opportunity to reinvent digital marketing?


The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has changed the way companies need to manage and process their data. But what are the consequences for you, as a marketer? What should you watch out for - and what opportunities does this present? 

By Jeroen van Zeeland,
Subject Specialist, Capgemini

First things first. What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation. This set of rules is a reform to privacy and security regulations which seeks to cover all possible bases, and took effect on 25th May 2018.

Yes, a lot has been written on GDPR and its potential impact on businesses - fines and penalties can reach as high as 20 million euro or 4% of revenue – but rather than scaring marketers into inaction, what value can we take from these considerations?

How can companies’ careful consideration of privacy ‘by design’ serve as a competitive advantage?

Marketing + privacy: meant to be?

Modern marketing means focusing on putting your customer first: thinking from their perspective, seeing the world through their eyes, and offering suggestions and actions that nudge them towards a certain goal, based on their behavior. But serving personalized, contextual messages means acquiring and using a wealth of data too.

This is something GDPR still permits, in part. Its aim is not to prevent all gathering of data, but instead to create ethical boundaries (in a legal framework) to regulate the amount and type of data gathered, as well as how it’s stored.

This means only gathering data required for the intended business purpose. If you can show why you are gathering data, you may well have the green light - with the exception of political inclinations, religious opinions, and genetic data, which are already prohibited. Then there’s the question of how long you can keep it. After the data loses the value of its original purpose, it needs to be removed.

This is an opportunity to rethink a marketer's infrastructure, to unify the data organization and message orchestration. It’s a chance to re-establish proper trust connections with customers.

Cross-channel marketing

Striking a balance between the limitations set by the GDPR and understanding your customers better is a weighty task. It means that marketers must reassess the value of what they’re doing, with something at stake.

Take, for example, omnichannel. The nature of ‘cross-channel’ marketing is serving your customers with personalized stories, tailored to their interests, and maintaining this storyline across all the different media they visit. Being relevant is key.

This requires a structural rethinking of how many companies work. Currently the focus is on singled-out silos (e.g., web, chat, social media, print), which leads to unfathomable complexities in both data storage and marketing effectiveness. Think of the large variety of digital channels and integrations without central ownership - with silos not being up-to-date with the regulation changes. The data flow is fraught with inefficiencies as well: specific data exports from the main CRM to serve custom audiences; uploading data facts to external databases; managing cookie permissions and user tracking. How can anyone reasonably be expected to keep track of all of it?

Use command center technology to manage GDPR compliance

Instead of managing all channels individually, a central, adaptable technology seems the solution - one designed for data security and privacy, while keeping marketing effective. A central "command center" to let your company stay in to control of security measures, while at the same time creating an opportunity to orchestrate your marketing message. Basically, data management done right.

Many may look to a data management platform (DMP) or a customer data platform (CDP) as the solution. But the limitation of these platforms is that while they may collect the data and store it in a secure way, they are limited in your ability to activate that data safely in order to orchestrate personalized customer experiences. The compliance might be there, but the marketing power risks getting lost.

A unique solution

Relay42 offers a unique solution – a marketing platform with the capabilities of a Customer Data Platform and a Data Management platform (DMP) but with additional Journey Orchestration and AI technology that lets marketers harness the power of their data for incredibly accurate personalization. 

A platform like Relay42 acts as the central point in an increasingly complex network of social media, third party websites, personalized homepages and traditional physical locations. It's a home base for your interactions with first, second - and third parties. Since the platform was developed with DMP and CDP capabilities, and with data management at its core, it keeps your customers' data safe, it keeps your business compliant with GDPR, and it offers your customers the personalization that they're looking for. 

A central solution allows you to serve your customers with relevant, contextual, and personalized offers, and be ready for the GDPR at the same time. The platform functions as a gatekeeper with respect to all your integrations in the digital marketing space, and as a starting point for the orchestration of all your marketing activities. Having a single place where you organize these interactions makes it easy to see what data you are currently processing, who accesses the data, how it is stored, and what you are sharing with which party, when.

Technologies like this offer a unique balance between customer engagement and an ingrained propensity to privacy and security. Instead of being on the defense, trying to detect data breaches and struggling with user permissions across tens or hundreds of channels, they give you the opportunity to take back control.

Now is the time to take charge: make the GDPR an opportunity to centralize security and privacy orchestration - for the mutual benefit of you and your customers.

Want to learn more about how Relay42 can help businesses to comply with GDPR?


Customer satisfaction ladders up to customer retention, loyalty, and advocacy — and it all starts with better personalization through customer data. Get the best new strategies and insights in our Insights Hub:

Register and don't miss out on Relay42's new resources and updates.