Why GDPR law presented sport with a great chance to promote brand loyalty

Lyndsey Irwin is Commercial Director at Sotic, specialist provider of digital services, websites and software applications to the sports industry.

For many businesses, 25th May was a day of dread; GDPR sent companies scrambling to make sure that they weren’t at risk of fines and punishment. However, GDPR isn’t a monster but an opportunity that sports clubs and businesses can capitalise on to help increase the fans’ feelings of trust and loyalty. Privacy, security and data management should be at the forefront of thinking – with GDPR, it must be, whether people like it or not.

Data security always the topic of conversation when it comes to GDPR, especially in the wake of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal. Being ‘GDPR compliant’ is now a promise to fans and partners that their information is secure and it’s a badge that should be worn with honour. That promise of compliance gives businesses legitimacy in regard to data – trust and transparency are valued more than anything else in the information age.

The classic data conundrum, which GDPR has totally changed, is the frantic landgrab to secure as much user information as possible without any real thought being given to how exactly that information will be used – and this where the opportunity prompted by GDPR presents itself.

The new regulation’s rules on data acquisition now forces brands to devise a more solid strategy and decide how data is best used. In other words, don’t collect data if the output isn’t worthwhile. Clubs aggregate thousands of fans’ data every month and this is now the perfect time to profile it. Until GDPR hit, it was always deemed ‘a priority which could wait’ but by acting now brands will gain vital insights into their audience and customer-base. Having a well-organised, detailed, and in-depth database of data enables businesses to scrutinize and target specific demographics. This will do wonders for any company’s communications.

However, the biggest talking point of GDPR has been around re-permissioning databases. Many managers worried that doing this would risk massive reductions of their database, but it shouldn’t have been seen as such a negative – surely it is far better to be conversing with a fanbase that is loyal, engaged, and ready to listen rather than supporting a vast database of disinterested people? It will certainly help your deliverability as low open rates are a clear signal to email service providers that your recipients are not engaged with you, your brand or your content. Whilst re-permissioning almost definitely results in losing subscribers, the remaining fans are worth keeping.

Undoubtedly GDPR has meant more work cultivating lists and potentially a loss of records, but the 25th May was actually a great chance to clean house and create databases that are more efficient, the consequence of which is a concentrated collection of valuable fans who wish to hear from you.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 772 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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