Content Marketing Summit Asia, one of the largest conferences in the region, will be held in Singapore in August. But thanks to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), event organiser CMS Asia cannot send promotional e-mail messages to marketers, brand heads and content creators. Earlier, personalised e-mail could be sent to nudge individuals. But under the new set of rules (always applicable as you don't know who all in the database are from the EU), marketing mailers, personalised banner ads, sponsored social media posts or promotional offers are an absolute no-no unless one has actually 'opted in' for them. Moreover, it cannot be blanket consent for 'related purposes'. All purposes must be clearly defined along with the details of the party which will be handling user data.
Another critical change involves how user data is collected. Digital marketing is all about using cookies to collect the behavioural data of website visitors so that advertisers can display personalised or retargeted ads to returning visitors. But with the GDPR in place, such data collection is no longer allowed unless users categorically consent to personal data collection by the platforms, says Rajiv Dingra, Founder and CEO of WATConsult. In fact, people must be categorically informed how the companies are going to use their profile data. "All these point to one thing - users have to be aware of what data is being collected, how it is being used and how it is stored," he adds.
Marketers can't ignore the mandate. If companies violate the rules, they can be fined up to 20 million euro or 4 per cent of the annual turnover, whichever is higher. So, for now, CMS Asia is promoting the event on its website, Facebook and Twitter, and posting relevant articles on LinkedIn, says R.P. Singh, Conference Chairperson and former South-east Asia head of media at VML.
In an era when 'consent is king', advertisers are scrambling to find new ways to sign up more people and handle data more responsibly. One way to do it is process data as per requirement instead of grabbing it all. Many of them are also going back to plain vanilla advertising. "However, it will require more money and effort to convert users into buyers as there is more wastage in that format," says Singh of CMS Asia.
Right now, myriad experiments are on to hit the sweet spot that will work in the post-GDPR era. But over time, both advertisers and platforms will be able to figure out the most effective ways to get more opt-ins. Meanwhile, companies may utilise this period as an excellent opportunity to connect with their consumers and build trust.