B2B Marketing blog

Marketing and GDPR – A quick riddle for you: Why are all companies like banks?

By Ingrid Archer and guest blogger Nicola Meinders

If you stop and think about it, your bank holds all your money, and the ways to access it. Banks keep your money safer than you storing it under the mattress. In what way do most companies do this? They hold your data. They keep that safe and use it to customise your buyer journey.

Consumers all want faster, better and personalised interactions with companies to allow us to efficiently predict and fulfill our anticipated needs. To do this effectively companies need to know who they are dealing with, what their likes and preferences are, past purchasing habits and which tone of voice this should be in. This information is valuable to the company, and they should guard it, as if they were guarding gold.

Data protection and privacy regulation is on our doorstep. In this article we look at the positive side of things and we describe a case of how an international company, FIS, implemented all that was needed in order to be ready for the new regulation.

GDPR, it’s a blessing in disguise

GDPR, although it seems a dangerous beast, as it can threaten to cost your company to pay 4% of global revenue or 20 million Euros, it’s actually a blessing in disguise. Many people see it as a threat to profits, whereas it can massively improve your customer engagement. It can increase both loyalty and customer retention and therefore ultimately improve revenue. It could be seen as a warning to start taking your data seriously and respectfully, to prevent fraudsters from raiding gold from your bank.

Here’s why you should take the GDPR beast by the hand and start listening to what it has to say. 9 years ago Seth Godin at the B2B Marketing Forum told us that we needed to be more active in permission based marketing. We don’t want to buy random names of people in a certain industry, fire a wide-range email and hope for the best that by having a large enough volume we should hopefully reach the right person. We need to shift our approach to actively seeking those who really fit our segment. We need them to give us permission to approach them, thereby checking that they have a valid desire to interact with us.

Take a break and review your data

GDPR allows us to take a step back and review all the data we’ve collected over the years, all those people who our sales guys talked to once, but never followed up on. All the aging contacts, many of whom have long left that role. It allows us to find the gold nuggets for sales, by checking who actually wants to hear from us.

GDPR implementation at FIS

Colin Day from FIS talked us through how they took the GDPR opportunity by the horns and steered their company into a true GDPR compliant company, whilst increasing conversion rates and marketing-influenced pipeline.

As FIS is a publicly traded finance company, anything with an influence on risk or branding goodwill gets everyone’s pulse racing on the board. They need to be both on the right side of the law and of ethics.

Marketing took control of GDPR and helped create a culture for future-proofing data capture, processing and storage. They reviewed all the silos of information, where they held data relating to a customer. They looked into all departments and centralised this data onto 2 main platforms: a new CRM (replacing Salesforce with Microsoft Dynamics) and a new marketing automation system (Marketo).

Research company Sirius Decisions helped FIS to write a set of policies and procedures around consent by design.

Colin Day:

“This formed the stakeholder communications and set the cultural shift within our organisation. We then used a data decision model, as we didn’t know what data we were collecting and how long we were keeping it. Given our complex B2B selling cycle, we decided to ask for consumers consent to hold their data for 24 months.”

Best-in-class compliance solution

“Using our new software platforms, having the stakeholder buy-in we created a best-in-class compliance solution. We used an explicit confirmed opt in model – it’s own gold standard. Having done this, we realised the future proofing benefits. We can easily bring in new content streams as we see fit. For example, we didn’t use SMS, but we decided to add this as a new channel, which required explicit consent. It literally took 5 minutes to add this to our permissions landing pages and certificate engine (using Trunomi).”

How did you drive your 1.4 million contacts in your database to your permission engine?

“We literally sent out 3 emails to our entire contact database. We had a 1.8-2% unsubscribe rate. This was relatively low, when you consider with GDPR requirements, it must be just as easy to subscribe as it is to unsubscribe. We had a 20% sign up rate. That left around 1.1 million people who hadn’t responded or had ignored the email.

Undeterred, we worked with telemarketing around globe, to reach our contacts in over 130 countries. In order to secure permission from these people we confirmed our conversations from those who wanted to stay in touch, by sending an email link. Once they clicked on that we had a credential certification and could claim immutability.”

How did this effect our marketing?

“Marketers talk about reaching the right people, at the right time, with the right message and the right way. In our permission-based landing page we could ask which channels they wanted to receive the emails, which frequency they prefer and in which areas of our business they were most interested in.

With a much better targeting, post implementation, our open rates shot up to 25-30% (from 18%), and for some communications has been 94%. We still have a decent unsubscribe and attrition rate of 2%. With such a large database and with employment dynamics, it allows us to reduce stale data and keep us engaged with those targeted audiences who really want to listen to our messages. As a marketer, it’s gold dust.”

Looking at the story of Colin Day, we also looked back at some important principles that we published to prevent panic.

In this earlier blog we described some key principles of the GDPR to keep in mind during the implementation of your B2B marketing strategy and activities.

Key principles of the GDPR to keep an eye on

  • Permission: Within 72 hours, you will have to be able to prove that the contact (lead) has given permission (an opt-in) to be approached by you (and your marketing activities): both online and offline.
  • Opt-in renewal: When a contact has not shown any activity for 24 months, you need to renew this opt-in in order to continue using this person’s contact information. If you don’t, you are not allowed to use or save this data.
  • Processes in order: Do you work with external parties who generate leads for you and/or work with your data? Then the rules also apply to them and you need to be able to prove that all processes meet the new GDPR.

Want to read more and understand how to move from risk of degradation to quality opportunities? Read this blog from one of our colleagues. Or contact us at info@spotonvision.com.

Ingrid Archer

Ingrid Archer is a marketing and communications professional ‘pur sang’ with more than 20 years of experience in B2B marketing and communication. She is co-founder of spotONvision and the B2B Marketing Forum. She initiated successful campaigns in various sectors and is one of the experts in the field of content marketing, buyer personas and lead nurturing in B2B.