Why EU data opt-in is one to fight

The optimism held by Michael Barnett regarding the possible impact of the draft EU Data Protection Regulation (DPR) on businesses that use one-to-communication to drive sales is dangerously misplaced. The DPR poses a very real threat to our industry and the UK economy, so we can’t afford to slip into complacency, cross our fingers and hope for the best.

The analogy with the Cookie law on which Michael bases his optimism does not hold. The Cookie law comes from the EU Privacy & Electronic Communications Directive. An EU directive merely sets out a ‘legislative framework’; it’s then down to EU member states to implement it as they see fit. This allowed the UK Information Commissioner to take a more business-friendly interpretation of what constitutes ‘consent’ for the use of cookies. An EU regulation is entirely different. There is no such scope for national governments to put their own slant on it, which must be adopted word-for-word into national law.

The latest changes to the DPR announced by the EU make it even worse for businesses than first feared. Changes to clauses such as those regarding the definition of personal data, limitations on customer profiling, consent to direct marketing and the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ will severely infringe the right of companies to communicate with customers.

This would have an immediate knock-on effect for businesses; recent research published by the Direct Marketing Association estimates that the proposed legislation would cost the UK economy £47bn in lost sales generated by one-to-one communication to customers.

The DPR is not a done deal though. Within the next 180 days, the legislation will start making its way through the European Parliament. We’re leading the industry’s campaign to lobby the lawmakers in Brussels to ensure they produce a piece of balanced legislation that protects the data privacy rights of people but that is also fair to businesses.

The DMA’s Data Protection 2013 conference on 8 February will give marketers more information on the imminent threat to their businesses and how they can petition their MEP to ensure they understand what is at stake.

Chris Combemale, executive director, DMA

Facebook has got it right this time with Graph Search

Facebook has started 2013 with a bang with its introduction of Graph Search. Forgotten are all those previous issues, it has delivered a game changer for the web.

People use Facebook to find out what others are doing, where they are going and what they’ve done. Now, we can search people and companies in a generic way - for people who work for Google and who like Frank Ocean, for example. We can link up with these people or talk about employment opportunities (which means Facebook is moving from the model of connecting people who know each other to people who share a common ground).

Questions that can’t be answered within Facebook will be pushed to Bing but that information can all be profiled and will hone Facebook’s advertising arm.

Searches by people will be undertaken on Facebook and the links will go back to pages. For instance: ‘Show me great places to eat in Windsor’ will go to all the places that are rated, especially by peers.

The idea is to go to the most desirable, linked-to page, just as we go to Google’s favourite. But what is better from a consumer’s perspective is that personal reviews and interactions will be displayed. And if that route is more preferred and uptake is serious enough, Facebook wins.

What will be interesting is how Facebook will integrate this into mobile. If it works well, then the web will change - and how we market forever.

Gareth Crew, marketing and communications manager, Creative-jar

The ties that bind HMV et al’s failure

I read with interest your article on HMV’s marketing chief asking for investment in multichannel and digital offerings.

One of the main reasons HMV finds itself in this situation is that it tried to remain mass market in a sector where the mass market had migrated online. Many have noted its slow move to digital services as a reason for its downfall - and with UK shoppers flooding to retail websites on Boxing Day, we can see why. Crucial to a successful retail strategy is a robust multichannel offering.

Blockbuster has just suffered the same fate, failing to establish and connect a significant online presence to a naturally shrinking physical presence, and of course suffering from the rise of online services like Netflix and Lovefilm.

James Miller, lead consultant - retail & property, data & analytics, Experian Marketing Services

Comet, HMV, Jessops, Blockbuster… There’s a common thread running through these sinking retailers: they lost their cool. They thought it would be everlasting, but times changed; cool is fleeting if you’re not careful.

HMV’s management became so out of touch with what consumers wanted that they even banned its staff from having large tattoos on display. HMV didn’t just stagnate, it actively stifled the one thing that had the potential revive a worthwhile USP: the staff.

If HMV is dragged out of the mire by a white knight, it needs

to begin by putting people first - both the consumer and its staff. The in-store experience offers something unique - human interaction. Even in the face of online mass merchant juggernauts, nothing can replace the human element of sales.

Daniel Todaro, managing director, Gekko

Not all media are equal in single data set

It’s great to have one system that allows you to view multiple data sets together including mobile but we mustn’t make the mistake of thinking that all media sources should be treated the same.

Mobile is by its nature, a personal and idiosyncratic platform, and should be treated as such. We must also be mindful that this does not totally solve the issue of duplication, especially on tablet devices that are typically used by more than one member of a household.

That said, this is a significant step forward. The ability to establish the role of mobile in the overall media mix and demonstrate the effect of multi-platform planning (total effect being greater than the sum of its parts) could prove to be a game-changer.

David Sandler, account director, Fetch

Simple Things in life count

Your article on ‘Brand potency and the power of the people’ demonstrates the potential of social media. The approach by ‘The Simple Things’ magazine to create a buzzing social media community before launching the title was ingenious. Fans and followers don’t want to have products pushed onto them but want to feel they have stumbled across something worthwhile.

Given that consumers say they dislike seeing an increasing amount of promoted brand activity in their social media timelines, the approach by the magazine’s publisher, Future, was to build a community organically and then, once it had garnered brand advocacy, launch to an already engaged audience.

Simon Orpin, joint managing director, Getmemedia.com

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