The EU approved the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2016 and 2 years later in May 2018, it came into effect. Since then, the world of marketing has been facing some issues. In fact, each company needs to review their marketing strategy or they could be facing huge fines for noncompliance. However, how can they change their marketing practices to become compliant? This is where contextual marketing comes into play.

Standard Μarketing practices pro GDPR

Email marketing, is one of the most penalized technics. As a Gizmodo article underlines (15/6/2018), before GDPR, a lot of companies used to ask for email addresses when potential consumers were surfing their website, even if those did not have any intention of making a purchase. Some other companies even bought email lists from third parties (something strictly forbidden now).

Concurrently, sending emails to non-customers has been common practice in the world of email marketing. Now, companies have to ask permission and not only to non-customers but also to pre-existing ones. Furthermore, consent has to be asked for each and every purpose the company is using the data for. Consequently, companies have recently sent loads of emails in order to be able to keep sending subscribers promotional material. Unfortunately, people are not responding to those emails and therefore they are not ‘opting in’.

According to a CNBC report, the digital marketing agency Huge found out that about 38 percent of Americans are ignoring these emails, and 23 percent have actually used them as an opportunity to unsubscribe. Another email marketing firm PostUp has even estimated that only 25 to 30 percent of recipients globally, and only 15 to 20 percent in the U.S., are opening the emails at all. That means the companies which widely rely on emails to gain and retain customers are at risk: they could lose a sales channel.

And keep in mind that this does not concern just Europe. Every single business which sells to Europe or to European citizens living abroad had to comply with GDPR. Considering the fact that it is way too costly to maintain two sets of rules, the same logic was applied to every customer, even the ones that were not European. Hence, new rules have email marketers worrying enough.

Other accomplices

And what about other marketing strategies? The use of Google Analytics, remarketing ads and the display of ads from third parties also need consumers’ consent.  But all marketers have to do is to inform the consumer and ask his/her approval, mostly through the acceptance of cookies. But, how many of us actually read the cookie policy of the website we are visiting? How many of us shift to another website when we see that we have to agree with a cookie policy? Most people would probably agree and accept those cookies without having second thoughts. In fact, reading the policy or changing the website would be just too much bother. Thus, those strategic methods will probably not be penalized as much as email marketing

Taking a different approach with Contextual Marketing.

Even so, new life will come to contextual marketing. It consists of targeting individuals based on what they are searching for on the Web. Therefore there is no identifiable face behind this data. The contextual marketing tools are able to conduct a semantic analysis of site pages. Moreover, they can actually read content as the human mind would do. They do this by picking up subtle differences between the meaning of words and the feelings those words can trigger. Thus, marketers are able to create ‘tailored’ ads, without exploiting personal data.

Basically, contextual marketing is the marketing of the ‘now’ because it takes advantage of the content that is ‘relevant’ in a precise moment of research. Thus allowing marketers to say goodbye to big databases.

Check out our other articles on inclusive and experiential marketing!