Seeing the message ‘You have been unsubscribed’ gives that momentarily feeling of Moksha. You think you have won the battle against spams and personalised unwarranted e-mails. It is Maya, an illusion. The same domain rises like a phoenix and starts spamming you sooner than you can say ‘Om Namah Shivaya’.
Visiting ant banking, insurance or automobile site for comparison or information gives birth to multiple product lines sending a barrage of emails flooding your inbox. You blink for a moment in your journey, and they tag you as a potential consumer who has permitted them to communicate digitally. You feel like Bhisma Pitamah in Mahabharat. You are in unless you opt out.
THE MARKETERS ARE THE BAHUBALI OF THE DIGITAL-LAND, TO THEM, A CONSUMER NO DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN A NO.
Think India too need to have EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) equivalent. It is all about EXPLICIT CONSENT and POWER TO MANAGE. The companies collecting Personally Identifiable Information ( PII) must do so with explicit consent for a well-defined purpose. PII includes information like email addresses, birth dates, government-issued identity numbers, credit card, bank account information, IP addresses, mobile device numbers, and biometrics.
Under GDPR, the consumer must consciously OPT-IN instead of the current NEED TO OPT-OUT process. The marketer must not trap the consumer by any process that is not transparent or open to debate and misunderstanding. in the process. The onus of making everything clear rests with the marketers.
Expect the consumer who is already irritated with the relentless onslaught of unrelated irrelevant messages and uncontrolled digital trash to be extremely strict and act pricy for the sharing PII information or give permission to connect.
The marketers will need the consumers’ consent for sending discount offers, promotional messages, subscription feeds, newsletters, cross-selling offers, use consumer social media data and much more.
FREEDOM FROM MASS EMAILS AND DIGITAL STALKING!
The marketers need to work hard now and regain the trust and faith of the consumer or have an offer that is lucratively tough to refuse.
GDPR comes into action on 25th May 2018 and governs the area of European Council. In addition to the explicit consent, it gives the consumer the power to manage their preferences at any point in time.
GDPR will force the marketers to evaluate every consumer experience, in case they want the digital conversation or relationship to continue. Maybe it will make a few of them more responsive to direct consumer speak or on social platforms.
A REAL WIN-WIN SITUATION IN MANY WAYS.
The marketers will have to make that much additional effort to understand consumer needs, seek approval before proposing a business alliance and stop treating one time smile as a right to a life-long affair.
Everything is not against marketers, it rarely is. It is merely a wake-up call. It hopefully will help differentiate and sharply define the emergence of a stronger real consumer-brand relationship.
MARKETERS MUST SEE GDPR NOT AS A HINDRANCE BUT AS AN OPPORTUNITY.
It is time to make a difference. Time to deliver more and stop paying lip service of consumer experience and delight. Time for real big data analytics to provide options that make a real impact on consumer’s life. Deep dive introspect and answer the most critical question, what will prompt consumers to say ‘Yes’ to keep digital channels open. Thus the art of niche segmenting may get a boost.
Digital ads will have to work extra harder. They will have to be entirely relevant. They will in many cases become the marketers’ application to explicit consumer consent. The marketers will then need to consistently deliver ever an evolving competitive consumer experience that pulls the consumer to give progressive consent to enhanced touch points.
In addition to the Gold standard asked by the digital advertising users- the marketers, we need General Brand Image Protection Regulation ’GBIPR’. Cribbing or negative consumer comments, be original, or add-on must originate from real experiences.
Currently, travel and service review portals do it half-heartedly and on trust. A reviewer is asked to tick the box and thus certify that the review is genuine and based on real experience. Let’s push it a bit more. Let’s insist on proof of experience like booking reference/pictures etc. In the absence of valid evidence, the reviews should remain unpublished or be presented under unproven experience, and the reviewer is blacklisted.
I know, the consumer within all of us will react violently to such a suggestion. But, what’s the harm in doing a test run? Maybe reviews with proof will be logged under certified reviews. I think it will be a reason enough for the potential consumers to believe and push brands for a better experience?
Here is the possibility of another Win-win solution. The scorecard then will read Consumer -1- Marketer -1. What about turning the argument on its head. Make reviewing without a first-hand experience legally punishable. Why should the consumer have all the fun!