In an identity-less world, intent is king

Fast Web Media

The world of digital marketing is changing.

Whether you believe GDPR represents a seismic shift or a minor deviation from our current reality, there’s no denying that the way data is gathered, used and shared is going to change.

When the behemoths of Google and Facebook see fit to wholesale update their working practices and put the control in the hands of their users, you know this is serious business.

But what does it mean for the future and where should digital marketers put their focus now?

The Challenge

The challenge for digital marketers is that the currency we’ve traded in for so long is soon to disappear. Whether it’s replaced by new alternatives, or gone for good, we’ll find out in time.

But the fact that some companies have decided to give up on the European market altogether suggests they don’t see it coming back any time soon.

From now on, demographic, location, device, email address and behavioural information will all require the (unlikely) explicit consent of users to be used for advertising targeting.

At best, this significantly reduces the targeting pools available to advertisers, at worst it removes them altogether.

Context and Intent

So where does that leave us? Well, the process of building personas, targeting them and talking to audience segments and profiles remains valid, of course. Knowing your audience and who generally buys your product does not diminish in marketing value just because you can’t target them through digital channels.

But with a large swath of targeting options removed from the digital industry what’s increased in important is context and intent. These are two critical elements of advertising that have largely become lost in a world obsessed with people-based targeting and reaching ‘the right person’.

The context of an ad and where it is placed is a core premise of more traditional advertising planning: TV advertising alongside the appropriate programming, and magazine and press advertising against appropriate editorial. It’s never lost its importance, but we somehow lost our focus on it digitally.

Then there’s intent. In a world that moves so fast, where customers make purchase decisions or are influenced in a micro-moment, capturing intent and creating action is increasingly hard.

Understanding the intent and delivering solutions at the right time is key: miss the moment and the opportunity it lost.

In a nutshell

GDPR is spreading fear through the digital marketing industry, and it’ll continue to do so for a little while yet. But this isn’t a marketing apocalypse, just an evolution.

We are moving towards a world of intent-based marketing and an intention economy. Is your business ready?

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