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Post  |  June 21, 2018  |  Chris Vroman

The Impact of GDPR on Buyer Behavior

Customer-driven marketing tactics are about to become the new norm. Over the past several years, consumer response to marketing materials has undergone a huge shift with the recent changes in technology and privacy concerns.

With the European Union’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), consumer attitudes towards marketing are likely to shift even further. On an episode of “Building Success: A Real Estate Podcast,” Stuart Lee, Operations Manager at Qube, dives into buyer behavior, GDPR, and how data concerns factor into these topics.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is an EU regulation designed to give individuals living in EU member states control over their data. This regulation dictates that any company within the EU must receive explicit permission from individuals before collecting their data. GDPR also dictates that data collectors must clearly identify what data is being collected, what it’s being used for, and where that data will be stored. Users can choose to opt out as easily as they can opt in to this kind of data collection.

How does GDPR impact consumers?

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that these changes have been made not to punish organizations but to protect consumers and match their attitudes that have changed overtime regarding data and privacy.

Many email campaigns have previously run on a model where the consumer provides their information in an online order and then receives targeted emails based on the information that they’ve put into the system. If they then decide they don’t want the communications, they can easily unsubscribe from the email list they were automatically added to. GDPR changes that. If you want to use the consumer’s data to market to them, you have to ask them in clear, explicit terms to use their data. In addition, you must tell them exactly why you’re using their data and how long you’ll use it for. From that point, consumers can choose whether or not to opt in.

This switch from an “opt out” model to an “opt in” model will actually give organizations a more targeted, qualified pool of email recipients. In the previous model, organizations relied on generic lists of emails to send out consumer-facing content. The idea was that customers would opt out if they didn’t want the email, but many times, the emails would just keep going to the customer’s trash bin and the company, not knowing any better, would keep sending them under the assumption that the customer was still a qualified lead.

By utilizing opt in marketing strategies, organizations will have a more accurate list of qualified leads. By providing specificity to the consumer in regards to what their data will be used for, consumers are now able to tell organizations which specific communications they’re most likely to click on. This helps organizations develop better email practices and, as a result, produce better engagement.

Where do organizations go from here?

GDPR isn’t forcing a change for the sake of change – it’s an indicator of where consumer preferences are headed, and it puts more responsibility on the customer to engage with the brand. Valuable marketing tools once used to drive email signups, like websites and social content, will now become more important in a market where consumers want brands to tailor content for them.

Ironically, the residential real estate industry was already pointed in this direction. With online portals, live chat systems, and other technological advancements, the real estate industry is ready to handle a shift in consumer preferences. Our customers are residents and tenants who already expect this level of personalization, making it easier to deliver.

For more information on GDPR, check out this episode of “Building Success: A Real Estate Podcast!”

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