The GDPR’s Impact on Marketing and Advertising


When companies share customers’ personal information with third-parties, they’re helping brands target consumers like never before.

Data is the hottest commodity in our digital-centric world, in large part thanks to the advances of marketing technology and the need to get more creative with advertising.

As subscription-based services where consumers pay a flat fee to skip advertisements become the new norm, marketers must lean on technology and data mining to increase sales.

Although digital and social media advertising is quantifiable, it’s proving less and less effective over time with so many brands infiltrating news feeds and screaming for attention.

“We are getting closer to a consumer-controlled world, and every company that spends money on advertising will be forced to find a new way to do business,” says Medium contributor, Bob Gilbreath.

Resourceful marketers are scrambling to find new ways to integrate their brand into customers’ everyday lives, like smart billboards, an IoT technique that collects data from social media accounts and hits them with live, relevant ads in public.

This type of invasive marketing technology is a privacy pro’s worst nightmare, as it would not be possible to implement successfully without access to personal data.

Privacy regulations, like the impending GDPR, will have a profound effect on marketing and advertising moving forward. Faced with the legal and financial ramifications of ignoring a consumer’s right to privacy, organizations must rethink their data collection, use, and retention methods.

“The GDPR will have a massive impact on the martech landscape in Europe, and not everyone is going to survive,” according to MarTech contributor Travis Wright. “Those who adapt to the new environment will prosper, and those who don’t will go extinct… if you don’t comply, the EU will make you comply!”

Fortunately, companies that commit to protecting personal data are in a unique position to win their customers’ trust and repeat business, which could make the case for legal to reallocate some of the marketing budget to embed Privacy by Design.

That, in and of itself, is a marketing tactic –– a simple narrative shift that tells customers you care about them in an authentic and meaningful way. Put your customers’ privacy first, and it’ll pay dividends in the future.

GDPR does not have to be marketing and advertising’s four-letter word.