This guest blog was written Stanton Allen - specialists in providing CRM, data strategy,  data management and data cleaning support for professional services firms. 

I think that many of us thought that we would not get past the end of May and GDPR “go-live” in one piece. However here we are enjoying 100 days of glorious weather and an almost triumphant World Cup Campaign and for many of us GDPR is a distant memory.  

The thing that I found most interesting about GDPR however was not actually the huge variations in approach that firms took, or even the radical shift from “we must mail all our clients, or we can never speak to them ever again” to “we’re going with legitimate interest for everything”. What interested me most was that many firms seized GDPR as an opportunity to implement policies and processes that they had been desperate to put in place. Also, it was a chance to re-engage their users to persuade them once more that CRM is not an administrative task that your secretary does to manage mailings but actually a process and way of thinking about how access to data and real insights about clients can drive your decision making.

Every successful company in the world drives its business through data. Yet most firms see data as the responsibility of the “data department” or the finance team. But the concept of Business Intelligence (BI) has arrived. GDPR made firms seriously look at the data they held, where it was, what they used it for and the smart firms realised that this was an opportunity not a threat.

When it comes to segmentation and data management for most firms their needs are pretty straightforward. They want to know 4 things:

 •       Who are our clients?

•       What do they do?

•       What are their issues?

•       What do we do /could we do for them?

Our approach with firms has always been if you start there and then focus on how you answer those questions you very quickly are able to build a map of the “building blocks” you need to segment your clients. Firms typically find that there are very few building blocks that are actually useful.

 Typically they are:

 •       Financial

•       Geographic/jurisdictional

•       Job focused

•       Sector focused

•       Engagement focused

When you understand these building blocks then you can start to build a more effective communication strategy, so rather than recycling lists you can dynamically create the right segments and tailor your messages to those segments.

Of course this also enables you to build a much more straightforward data management plan as you can really focus in on the information that matters.  And at the end of the day that is exactly what GDPR was trying to achieve.  It was not an idea dreamt up by the “marketing prevention department” but a plan to make businesses only maintain and keep data that was actually useful.

 So we may not have won the World Cup but let’s win at data!  (Not as exciting I know)!