How to use data responsibly to drive business success post-GDPR

How to use data responsibly to drive business success 

Previously the domain of analysts, market researchers, and big budget businesses, now – thanks to technological advancements – every company can manage its own data. However, with the advent of business’ current bogeyman, GDPR, the playing field is changing yet again.

So, on 13 June 2018, we brought in the experts to find out how businesses can use data to drive success in a post-GDPR landscape and what skills their teams need to do it. Think data versus humanity, big shifts in marketing strategy, and the power of data in storytelling. 

Expert Panel

 Read on for all the highlights and top tips!

big data panellists

On the impact of GDPR

“I think we’ll see agencies trying to be more creative and less reliant on pure data itself. In practical terms, this means that GDPR will have a significant impact in the sense that it will make us more creative.” – Cecile Missildine

“Companies have the opportunity to go back to the days of real engagement. It’s an opportunity to find a niche and get a group of really engaged people to come together. You’re only going to get people who want to engage with your brand. And as we know, people want to engage with people, which is one of the reasons for the rise of influencers which I believe will continue to grow.” – Kinda Jackson

“Agencies are liable when processing data, so there are going to be closer controls on what they can do with it. The days of agencies taking this data and mashing it up with a whole load of that data for creative ideas are gone. You can’t do that anymore

“Agencies and clients have been lazy. They haven’t been using data in the right way. Some research we conducted found that 60% of people who received opt-in emails actively opted out, and 30% did nothing, so clients have smaller data sets post GDPR. They’ll need to be smarter with this smaller audience, you need to be more emotive to get people to engage. But automation needs to be used, otherwise you’ll be targeting a smaller audience for a higher cost and that won’t be feasible.” – Russell Marsh

“Using third-party data will mean we’re not constantly targeted by the same brands. There’s always the possibility that email may become a useful business and marketing tool again!

“Direct mail isn’t impacted by GDPR in the same way so we may see the rise of direct mail too. It will be interesting to see if anyone picks up on that. Overall, we should hopefully see a reduction in the spam content we get and an increase in quality communications with much more relevant, emotive components. It’s about finding out what your personal brand is and working out how you are going to use data in a meaningful way with your advocates.”  - Sam Knowles

On the intersection between GDPR and AI

 “One thing I’m seeing with clients is they’re taking data back in-house and trying to control it themselves, recruiting data scientists and exploring how to use AI. But it gets complicated if someone does a subject access request to find out how their data is being used. Once you have AI and algorithms in place it becomes a really complex undertaking.” – Russell Marsh

On monetizing personal data

“There are platforms now where you can monetize data, and by sharing your content you effectively become a business – social selling is a big buzzword at the moment.

Innovation is happening all around us and social selling is a huge trend. There’s also the potential to use blockchain to log individual data and sell that data to brands, allowing people to effectively monetize themselves. These are small incubators, but indicative of where the market can go.” – Russell Marsh

On how the use of data in marketing is shaping recruitment

“GDPR means we can’t do things the way we used to do them. This means we need to change the mix of people and tools and teams. We’re trying to get people from diverse backgrounds – for example, with psychology degrees – who can understand emotions and what pushes people to do certain things. It’s not just about the tools and technology, it’s also about the people who are going to be interpreting the data.” – Cecile Missildine

“We’re embedding digital people in every single team, but we still maintain a centre of excellence. The team structure has totally changed and will probably change again in a year’s time.” – Kinda Jackson

“We need to think about neurodiversity. Look at Einstein; he was profoundly dyslexic and dyspraxic – just wired in a different way. But maybe if he hadn’t been neurodiverse he would not have reached the conclusions he did. Someone with ADHD may struggle at an interview, but once in the workplace, they could offer completely different insights. We need to be thinking more about this when we talk about diversity and skillset.” – Sam Knowles

On data and storytelling

“There has never been so much data generated by and about businesses. With the open data movement, there are also so many publicly available data sources that can be incredibly relevant.

“But you can’t just put it all into a blender. You need to analyse it to understand it. If you put garbage in, you’ll get garbage out.  You need to find the data relevant to your brand, make sense of it, and then blend that with storytelling.

“It’s really important to engage with emotions. Don’t just give numbers, combine it with genuine authentic emotion and you’re onto a winner. Analytics plus storytelling can equal influence.” – Sam Knowles

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