How the GDPR affects Marketing Automation


As you may realise, the GDPR affects Marketing Automation a great deal. That’s mainly because you need their previous consent to make Marketing Automation work. There’s no way you can deliver a personalised experience without them accepting to be tracked by cookies or otherwise.

Imagine that you’re Martha, who is looking for blue summer shirts to match her lovely new skirt. She’s going to a night out next week, and she’s desperately looking for something great to wear. Now, she is Googling it and ends up at your store because you have blue shirts for women.

Unfortunately, the one Google delivers as the main result has a picture of a model wearing a blue shirt that doesn’t fit Martha’s body or look. So, she rapidly closes the page and moves on to other results. It’s the end of the story to you at this point.

That is unless she has clicked in “accept cookies” at your site.

How GDPR affects Marketing Automation due to user privacy

If she had accepted the cookies when she arrived at your e-commerce store, you would be able to send her different product photos or maybe other blue shirts that would match her style. This is not quite yet marketing automation. It’s more of a retargeting tactic.

However, if she clicks on one of those banners, it’s telling more information about her interests. It’s building up a persona. A persona that would allow you to turn your marketing automation machine to deliver relevant content to this person. Make your brand relevant to her.

Don’t get me wrong. User privacy is mandatory, and it should be every business-standard. We just need to live with it and know how to show the benefits for each user to trust us by accepting our cookies.

It’s almost like a comparison between Email Marketing and Marketing Automation. If we don’t have the user’s consent and we’re delivering content to them in the form of visuals, text or messages, it’s spam. That goes for email marketing or marketing automation.

That means that, like in email marketing, we need people’s consent to use marketing automation to reach them. Like email, we need to have a good value for them to “subscribe” to our marketing automation.

According to their interests, history, and navigation, the value should be to send them relevant content.

How to overcome the way GDPR affects Marketing Automation

As you have found a way to have email marketing subscribers, it’s also mandatory to find a way to invite people to accept your marketing automation cookies. And the way to do it is through content.

Here you can find a few examples of inviting people to accept your marketing automation cookies.

Separate each permission within your cookie bar.

The best way to approach this is by separating your cookies from the other advertising cookies. When they open the description of the cookies and find everything bundled as advertising, most likely, they won’t accept it. So, make a category just for the marketing automation ones.

Tell them why they should accept your marketing automation cookies.

What’s in it for them? Why should they bother to click on that acceptance button? It really depends on your business model.

I’ll give you a few examples of different cases:

  1. If you’re running an online store, it’s pretty easy to place a small button in each product that says: “I want to see more shirts like this” or something similar. When they click it, it shows a div (without leaving the page) to tell them how they can activate that marketing automation to be alerted of other similar products through their browsing.
  2. If your business is more on the service side, you can have a similar approach in each service or post of your site. In this case, the idea is to be alerted of related content when it’s published.

The most important thing is to deliver on the promise in each case. Please don’t use it to sell what you want. Use it to keep providing things they most likely will wish to. That will create rapport for your brand. Trust is everything in any business.

Enjoy that built up trust to then ask them to subscribe further. To your newsletter, for instance. Or sign up for an account.

Yes, GDPR affects marketing automation in a big way. However, you can still use this marketing channel to reach your audience with relevant content. Be smart, be creative, be proactive.

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