GDPR and marketing – one year on

Sian Brookes ALP

Brookes: Opportunity to improve customer experience

Posted by Sian Brookes, business developer at Legal Futures Associate Allianz Legal Protection

Working in the fast-paced, demanding legal sector can often mean buzzwords and jargon are commonplace, especially when it comes to legal expenses insurance (LEI). To help simplify these terms for you, our brief guides give you the know-how.

On a day to day basis, there’s plenty to keep legal professionals on their toes with increasing demands for sophisticated services, market challenges and legislative developments. Then, on 25 May last year, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, having a real impact on the way legal firms market to their clients.

Let’s start with the basics. What is the purpose of GDPR?

Essentially, GDPR is there to protect customers, regulating how businesses collect, process and use personal data from individuals across the EU. From a marketing perspective, it’s changed how law firms and the like manage and communicate with consumers and clients.

Why is it so important?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) was set up to protect data privacy for individuals, “uphold information rights in the public interest” and promote “openness by public bodies”. Those that breach GDPR may be subject to fines and penalties.

Recently the ICO fined Vote Leave Limited £40,000 for sending nearly 200,000 unsolicited text messages in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum. Examples like these stress the importance of gaining legitimate consent before using personal data for marketing purposes.

The day to day

It’s no secret that GDPR has imposed significant change across UK businesses, particularly those that rely on or hold a large amount of personal data.

Opting out of consenting for personal data to be stored and used is now (thankfully) a thing of the past; customers need to actively agree to this and have access to the what, how and why. This has resulted in fewer unwanted calls, and businesses taking a different approach to marketing to their clients.

Smarter marketing

Whilst law firms are assisted by their legal expertise in GDPR, the regulation has disrupted the industry over the last year.

Effective email marketing campaigns have become increasingly difficult to achieve with open rates for mass emails tending to be low. The shift has been to smarter marketing: personalised online and offline marketing techniques that are targeted to the customers’ needs.

Law firms have to balance this with the need to continue to comply with their conduct rules.

Popular methods of smarter marketing include:

Social media – creating and contributing to conversations in the industry and advertising using social prospecting and retargeting;

Paid-digital advertising – such as pay per click (PPC) on Google or social channels;

Search engine optimisation – to make it easier for potential customers to find your website;

Influencer marketing – utilising the power of industry names or, in some cases, celebrities to target relevant audiences;

Content marketing – blogs, articles, news and videos that add value to a particular audience; and

Networking and events – having valuable conversations and driving brand awareness.

Some 55% of businesses are taking the marketing-first approach and using GDPR as an opportunity to improve customer experience, according to research. And it’s those firms that have adjusted to this with smarter marketing methods that continue to win the loyalty of their customers.


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