GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was put into effect last week in Europe.  It gives EU citizens more control over their personal data, including what messages they receive from marketers, and it’s already having a ripple effect across the Atlantic in the U.S.  I’ve been thinking a lot about how it will impact marketing behaviors of small- and large-size businesses and believe there will be four major changes:

1. Building Followers and Asking Followers to Help Market Your Brand.  While small and large businesses have been trying for years to build followers and connections, now there will be a dramatically increased sense of urgency.  Without the ability to send unsolicited emails to targeted mailing lists, brands will rely more heavily on their own networks to spread the word.  As a result, they will try even harder to make those networks larger, to add connections who have large numbers of connections, and to ask more frequently and urgently that their networks to spread brand messages within their networks.  The trick is how to do it, without be annoying.  Building/extending personal, professional and brand LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram networks, will be good ways to go.

2. Posts Will Need to Get Even More Creative, Valuable and Visual to Maximize “Virality.” Each individual post will have more pressure to be as viral as possible.  Boring copy will not cut it.  Even more thought and effort will go into making ads animated, funny, surprising, and attention getting, since the difference in sharing between great and suboptimal creative can be massive.  Analytics for what makes posts viral will receive even more scrutiny.

3. Micro Influencers Will Be Even More In Demand. Finding influencers in specific interest areas, who have large, engaged followings that have opted in and value their opinions about products and brands, will be even more important as a way to reach target consumers.  Micro influencers have the ability to reach affinity groups that correlate well with a brand’s target consumers: beauty bloggers for cosmetics, electronics bloggers for devices, food bloggers for ingredients.

4. Traditional Media, TV, Magazines, Newspapers and Radio Should Benefit. Traditional media doesn’t require that people opt in to ads.  If brands are cut off from reaching target audiences with unsolicited messages online, they may pay more attention to advertising vehicles that still don’t require permission and still have some ability to target.


Michelle Greenwald is CEO of Inventours™, a firm that curates visits with leading global innovators in diverse fields (tech, product design, food) in the world’s most creative cities, to give companies new insights for improving their innovation processes. She started DigitaLatest™, an annual conference, where senior management from the key global digital marketing platforms, tools, and technologies help execs get up to speed on the latest, and inspire them with best practice creative examples to improve ROI. She runs “Innovation Days” for companies, with benchmarking, insight-generating “safari’s” to foster cultures of innovation. She’s a former SVP New Products at Disney, VP & GM at Pepsi-Cola, and Business Director at Nestlé. Michelle teaches Marketing at Cornell Johnson, Columbia, NYU Stern, and IESE Graduate Schools of Business. She writes about innovation and marketing for Forbes, and wrote the book, “Catalyzing Innovation” to help firms innovate systematically with fresh thinking. Her firm, Marketing Visualized™, does business plan and marketing plan consulting, and executive education.

CEO of DigitaLatest; Inventours; Cornell Tech & NYU Stern marketing professor; former marketing exec at Disney, Pepsi, Nestle & JWT; author of Catalyzing Innovation; consultant

Sourced from Forbes