22 February 2019

GDPR: Email Marketing’s Beautiful Disaster

When the original announcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) first made its way into headlines, marketers around the globe found themselves fearing and preparing for the worst—and with good reason. The idea behind GDPR is to set marketing compliance standards and protect the data of EU citizens, regardless of where that data is stored. Thousands of marketers found themselves frantically asking a series of intimidating and unanswered questions: Is this the end of our marketing strategy? With GDPR, how will retargeted techniques be fulfilled? Will we be able to see how people are moving through the sales funnel? What will our data centers look like?

The initial shock of the announcement began to settle as marketers penciled out strategies to meet the demands of this new and powerful regulation. Compliance plans were drafted, sealed, and put into action, all in preparation for a monster that panned out to be an unrecognised hero in the world of marketing, particularly email marketing. In the beginning, email marketers feared that their lists would be destroyed, but the introduction of GDPR in May of 2018 proved otherwise. In fact, 60% of GDPR-compliant organisations saw less than a 10% change in list size, with 20% of organisations reporting no changes in their lists.

List Cleaning Made Easy

With the regulation in full effect, email marketers kept compliant by asking subscribers questions regarding their subscription preferences, providing readers with opt-out forms and casting light on those subscribers who made no effort to engage whatsoever. This GDPR-compliant tactic helped marketers to quickly—and easily—clean up their lists, removing idle subscribers while simultaneously increasing engagement and ROI.

Smaller Lists, Bigger Results

There was once a time when marketers lived by the myth that the larger the list, the better engagement results will be. Now, and especially after the introduction of the GDPR, email marketers understand it’s quality over quantity driving successful email campaigns. So while marketers were first wary of removing those idle or opt-out subscribers, it was quickly realised that focusing too much on the unengaged was wasting time, money and other valuable resources. Once marketers diluted their lists to those who were truly interested, open rates, click through rates, engagement and overall ROI skyrocketed.

Building a Better Marketer

Though frightening in the forefront, the implementation of GDPR created a better, more calculated marketer with a focus on developing successful email strategies. Using the GDPR standards as a basis for email marketing, highly engaging and profitable campaigns are developed and executed. So while many feared that the introduction of GDPR would be the fallout of email, it became a favourable tool used by email marketers to better their practices and create more engaging campaigns. In fact, it has been estimated that company spending on email campaigns is expected to grow by 48%, further proving the worth of this industry’s beautiful disaster.

Make sure to attend Shane Phairs session on 6 March, 14:35-15:10 and visit the Campaign Monitor stand at MD18.