Consent is not an option, spamming is not marketing and innovation is easier than you think.

Consent is not an option, spamming is not marketing and innovation is easier than you think.

It's a new age, first, we traded on products, then services, currently experiences are sealing the deal but the horizon is near, resting upon it a new ecosystem of privacy, almost a year to the day GDPR was born.

GDPR has mostly impacted back office functions, the only major impact on the customer experience side is the definition of consent, but that is a big one. There are other legal bases for processing, each with caveats and these are free to be utilised for general purposes; notably Legitimate Interest.

The question that really needs asking is "Is it worth spamming a largely disengaged audience to attempt to reach someone new?" We can start by asking another question, "When was the last time you bought something from a random email?"

Your email campaign stats will tell a similar story, large audience, low opens and click-through rates. The story they don't tell us how many people you annoy in the process, our inbox is clogged and people must wonder, as I do, where these people get my data. Most of it is rightly termed junk. Completely irrelevant, deleted at first glance without even reading.

The whole system is broken, I get emails for stuff I was looking at months ago, AI is good but I cannot anticipate my whims. I tend to walk around my house and certain things will annoy me to the point where I pull out my phone and look for a toy box, a side table, a new bathroom light, outdoor security lights, a holiday etc. This can all be built into a profile, let's call the segment this profile falls in to "DIY Dad" containing the classic dad stuff, DIY, cars, family stuff, the occasional gift for my wife.

It's a good system but has one major limitation, the timing.

All the things I might be interested in are known, but the timing cannot ever be right, because my whims and impulses cannot be second-guessed. Even the things I plan to buy over the next couple months get pushed out as I change my priorities, almost an "Agile" concept to life in general, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. There are people who ponder over decisions but, pardon the cynicism, most people want instant gratification. Sometimes that's in the form of seeing and wanting, but often it's a bit of what you fancy.

The timing is the missing element in the profiling model, live bidding and AI are supposed to be breaking these barriers but to consumers it's all just noise, a constant barrage, like when you go to a crowded market on holiday and the vendors are surrounding you, hassling you to come and look at their stall.

I can't help but think sometimes the old ways are the best, such as the current resurgence in direct mail, with hand-written letters really taking hold.

But I cannot help but what's really missing is a digital "How can I help?"

Innovation is repurposing, the personal touch is missing in the CX because we're not buying from local shops over generations from people we know, we are further from these corporate behemoths more than ever before by our digital distance. The element of personalisation which used to be achieved face to face is apparent in the trading of "services" we mentioned earlier. The current trading in experiences is about building on that relationship, sharing awesome things that fit within the culture of your organisations, as you do socially.

When you consider things on these terms, trust is the next step in the evolution, relationships cannot exist without trust, and trust is founded by privacy.

Organisations spend Billions trying to reach and stay engaged with their audience, this evolution to privacy is the next logical step in the developing relationship model; it completes the elements and facilitates the ultimate customer relationship model, similar to that of the local, inter-generational family retailer. It's not just about being seen to protect peoples information from hacks but focuses on how you obtain and use their information. This is definitely the focus of lawmakers within the EU, on a moral basis the big data practices at use are unscrupulous, they remain hidden from the general public but recent scandals serve only to highlight and educate, and there are definitely more to come.

In the end, there is no balance to be made, first-party data and profiling are not working, the timing cannot ever be accurate enough. Data privacy legislation pushes us in one direction, more e-Privacy Regulation in the pipeline focused on communication and digital will increase the force for change.

People are annoyed by constant bombardment, the irrelevance and inconvenience, they want instant gratification and you want them to return to you for their hit.

The ecosystem dictates one approach, seek preferences, stay relevant.