With changes to technology, digital innovation and a heightened importance put upon security and data protection, 2018 will see a wealth of changes that affect direct marketing. The focus will be firmly shifting from large-scale marketing campaigns in the hope of attracting more users, to finely tuned, personalised and quality content. There are some key changes that your business or agency should be aware of in order to remain agile, relevant and compliant in the upcoming new year.

Maintain agility

DMA recently noted that due to the liquid state of marketing, it is currently evolving, therefore, professionals in the marketing industry must be hypersensitive in order to keep up with changes. Marketing has moved to a demand for content-driven and highly-focused material, in order to effectively target customers. This is no easy feat and requires the mastering of skills that ensure you as a marketer are highly agile and have a constant finger on the pulse of the market.

Quality over quantity

With an inordinate amount of data currently available, marketers have historically had a habit of spraying and paying, targeting everyone and anyone that they can get their hands on. In 2018, with the changing of data protection legislation with the implementation of GDPR in May, marketers will need to distinguish the data they can use, alongside determining which data they should not use. Poor practices must be stamped out in 2018 to make way for the use of data to achieve key business goals. Whilst equally, old databases must be reevaluated to remove inaccuracies and information which they no longer have the right to hold.

Security is paramount

If you don’t already place security at the forefront of all of your business and marketing plans, then 2018 is the year to begin. With cybersecurity now considered paramount for the ability to compete with key industry leaders and competitors, companies must embrace technological advancement. To prevent sensitive employee and customer data, companies must be able to provide encrypted methods of collecting and storing information, ensuring they are responsibility managing this with the consideration of their stakeholders in mind, with everything they do.

Understand the power of personas

Every company should have a deep understanding of their customers. Through establishing a map of your customer’s needs, demographics, requirements to succeed and why they need your brand, you can then better target your content and direct marketing efforts to ensure that you engage with your desired group of personas. A foundational understanding of each type of customer that your business attracts should form the core of everything that your businesses does, beyond your marketing efforts. These personas should be embedded within all operations, services or products and research and development – if you don’t already have a well-considered set of personas, make 2018 the year that you really nail these.

Prepare for GDPR

If your business hasn’t already formed your plans for managing data in 2018, then now is the time to ensure that you implement strict changes. With the GDPR legislation changes coming in May 2018, your business must ensure compliance with the ways in which it manages, collects and stores data of customers, clients, and employees. This not only refers to the collection of the obvious; names, address and contact details – but also will affect those who use  Google Analytics to measure traffic and success. Companies will now need to better manage the IP address information collected from site visitors and customers. If you’re unsure of how to manage GDPR for direct marketing, then take a look at our comprehensive GDPR section or get in contact with Absolute DM today!