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Between the History and the Future of Digital Marketing Under GDPR

Digital marketing has come a long way since the invention of technology, however, concerns have been raised about the future of digital marketing.

Growing up we thought the future will be flying cars and time machines.

little did we know the future was going to be as we know it today.

In 1971, Ray Tomlinson sent himself an E-mail, not realizing that a new era was about to begin.

An era that has started the future of digital marketing.

Indeed it was an important move toward the evolution of technology.

However, it was not the only step that helped lead the way.

Many other different steps helped in shaping digital marketing as we know it today.

In 1981 the American International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) was the first to release a personal computer.

It was a big change and was considered a luxury as it cost $1,565 which is equivalent to $5.000 today.

In 2004 the search engine Google went public, after a few missteps.

It started as a research project in 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford University in Stanford, California.

Feb 2004The Facebook” launches, now known as the one and only “Facebook” ranking in the top 3 websites in the world.

It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommate, and it started off as a game between college students.

In June 2007 Steve Jobs releases the first iPhone.

After years of rumors and speculation, Apple Inc. finally released their first smartphone known by iPhone 2G or iPhone 1.

From dial-up internet to broadband, and wireless connections.

From keyboard phones, aerial phones, to touch screens.

And today the average time spent online in 24 hours per week.

Who would have believed that everything can be available within a phone click?

With today’s technology, everything you can imagine is real!

To reminisce on the past, one must also wonder about the future of digital marketing.

Marketing Channels

Digital marketing is basically any form of advertising that is delivered through digital channels.

It is the use of information technology to get to the targeted audience.

Target audience is a specific group of people that the message, product, or service is aimed at.

It is determined based on a few factors like their age, interests, demographics, or behaviors.

Offline Marketing Channels

Offline channels are often forgotten.

But dear marketers must remember that while 4 billion people around the world are online, there are people who can not be reached through online channels.

There are also offline channels for people who like to keep it old school.

Some offline channels are like Snail mail, ads in newspapers, magazines, billboards, and business cards.

There is also another method of marketing that keeps proving itself effective: brochures.

Online Marketing Channels

Digital channels are not just about social media platforms.

From E-mail marketing, social media marketing, websites marketing, search engines, and phone applications.

It is not just that, TV ads, and radio advertising, and SMS ads are also counted as digital channels.

And who knows what else is there for the future of digital marketing?

Why Digital Marketing?

Most people nowadays spend around 10 hours on their phones daily.

Everything today is available online.

And on the line is where people go to look for what they need or ask about what they do not know.

It is where all the attention is.

Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads are the new billboards.

Digital Marketing Methods

If you are a business owner or a marketer, by now you know there are various methods digital marketing can benefit your business.

Some of these methods are (but not limited to) as follows:

  • SEO: Starting with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which is basically optimizing your website to attract organic traffic.

When the process of SEO is done correctly, SEO can increase visibility and traffic to your website.

SEO is basically earning traffic and it is all unpaid ads.

Some of the SEO techniques are keyword planning, tags, and backlinks.

  • SEM: Search Engine Marketing (SEM), on the other hand, is about buying traffic using ads.

The paid ads that are on the top of search engine results are SEM.

  • Social media marketing: This method is one of the most common in the Middle East.

Because of the amount of social media users nowadays, marketers use this method to reach more audiences using social media platforms.

There are free ways of marketing a business or a service on social media.

First creating a page, posting compelling content, setting content calendar, and making a call to action.

There are also paid ads that have proven to be effective let it be on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Once you have found the best platform that suits your business or service, created a campaign, and built an audience you can then invest in paid ads.

Content strategy: It is very important to develop a content strategy because the content is the core of any marketing campaign.

content marketing

Setting a content calendar will help you stay on the market without being forgotten.

Always follow the trends and make sure you are up to date.

No one wants to be an Internet Explorer! aka. out of date.

The right content will help you build an audience base, reach the targeted audience, and start selling.

Think of content as a story that tells your audience why do they need you?

And they should choose you?

Then how to take the action to reach you?

Before starting a campaign you should ask yourself a few questions:

What do I have to offer?

It is very important to know your mission and set realistic goals.

Who do I want to offer it to?

Audience segmentation is a must-do process.

You do not want to reach an audience that is simply not interested.

Why do I want to offer it?

What is your product or service going to add to your customers’ lives?

How is it going to help them?

Why should they choose you?

And most importantly, how is it going to help you?

When do I want to offer it?

Before going into the market make sure your product or service is ready for clients.

Where do I want to offer it?

You really do not want to end up selling swimsuits in a country that never sees summer, do you?

Also, make sure if you are selling internationally, that you can ship to wherever you are selling.

E-mail marketing: that is the process of sending commercial chain messages.

Creating an E-mail list is the first step to E-mail marketing.

It is important here to make sure that you are not spamming your customers.

Sending a lot of emails, directly asking people to buy your product, or E-mailing another ‘SALE 15% BUY NOW’ is not the best way to reach your audience.

However, sending personalized E-mails with a compelling call to action is a good approach.

Influencer Marketing: it is simply all about using an influencer to market your product or business.

Companies now resort to influencers with a lot of followers usually on Instagram to promote their business, product, or service.

The influencer gets sent a free sample to try and post about, and surprisingly, followers almost always respond.

The era of data and analytics

Today everything revolves around data and analytics.

Collecting customer data is an essential step in marketing.

Businesses gather insights about costumers or potential costumers concerning their behaviors, interactions, and characteristics.

The amount of data being collected is increasing by Terabytes, which is a huge amount of data.

Digital marketing in a data-driven world

Businesses or marketers no longer put their ads on a billboard or a newspaper then sit back and watch.

They make custom made ads to fit their customers and potential customers.

In order for them to do that they need to first file those people’s profiles, behaviors, and even interactions.

Everything and every action a customer or a potential one is doing is probably being collected in order to tailor-make ads for them.

Every permission given to an app or a website is more than what it seems, and that is why the era of big data is now.

Digital marketing analysis

To create a marketing campaign businesses or marketers need to collect different data.

They collect data about their audience that is to be analyzed and categorized.

Moreover, to measure the effectiveness of a digital marketing campaign, a lot of data gets collected.

The data collected by businesses or marketers are then analyzed and categorized.

Which means all the time different data whether existing, new, or updated data is being collected about customers or even potential customer.

Data Privacy

All of which raised many concerns about people’s privacy and security.

Questions were raised such as:

Why is my data being collected?

What about me exactly is being filed?

How do I know my data is safe with the collector?

Information was also being shared with third parties, and to make it worse, information was also sometimes bought.

Which is why a lot of companies now are concerned with data or information privacy in favor of the customer’s privacy.

There has been an increase in campaigns raising awareness about data privacy and stressing on consent, notice, and transparency when it comes to handling customer’s data.

General Data Protection Regulation

general data protection regulation

On the 25th of May 2018, the “General Data Protection Regulation GDPR” was enforced by the European Parliament.

The regulation is in favor of data privacy and states that whoever will not follow the regulations will face heavy fines.

The GDPR is now enforced in the European Nation and people are hoping it will spread everywhere.

The regulations gave explicit rights, to whoever was subject of data collection, including (but not limited to):

  • The right to opt-out.
  • The right to request and/or delete their data.
  • The requirement of subjects’ consent.
  • Ensuring the safety of data being collected and/or transferred.

The future of digital marketing

Today, digital marketing plays a huge role in the business field.

Almost all businesses depend on it not only to reach audience but also to make sales.

A business that does not hop along the ride, risks being forgotten and is more likely to go out of business.

Digital marketing has proved that it is here to stay.

And that it adapts to changes and evolves with them.

As long as there is business there will be marketing.

Over the past 30 years marketing has kept up with technology and evolved on its hands.

However, today technology has evolved too much that the average person fears for his safety.

No one wants to be analyzed all the time. or at all!

With all the changes happening, and all the regulations being set, the question is bound to pop.

What is the future of digital marketing under the General Data Protection Regulation?

The GDPR is meant to give data privacy protection and security.

It is also meant to give people more control over their own data that is being collected.

But, it is important to know, that GDPR does not completely shut off marketers.

It gives companies and marketers a chance to change their strategy to more of a proactive one.

GDPR focuses on protecting data from unauthorized access, which probably means the end of third-party data.

According to Lisa Loftis, the thought leader in SAS; “Several components of the GDPR revolve around ensuring companies have robust IT and security practices.

The regulation offers specific timeframes for reporting security breaches.

Systems must be designed to ensure that personal information has high quality and accuracy, is consistent across databases, has adequate security and privacy protections and provides clear data lineage.

Processes must let consumers see, receive and correct (if necessary) all personal information stored in company databases.

And direct accountability for oversight of all “GDPR” mandates must exist within the company in the form of a qualified Data Protection Officer.”

Failure to comply with the “General Data Protection Regulation” will result in heavy fines and penalties.

There are two kinds of fines: the lower one means that companies shall pay up to 10 million Euros or 2% of their annual revenue whichever is higher.

The upper one means that companies shall pay up to 20 million Euros or 4% of their annual revenue whichever is higher.


Digital marketing is the present and the future, hopefully!

The smart technologies used in marketing now provides a lot of potential for the market.

Marketing is no longer ads on a billboard or in a newspaper, it has evolved to be much more than that.

Since marketers have been working on inbound marketing, it has proved to be a blast.

However, because marketers collect consumer data and analyze it to make custom made ads for customers or potential customers there has been privacy and security fears.

The act of collecting and analyzing data has raised many concerns, which led the EU to enforce the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Nation.

As a result, questions are starting to pop, will digital marketing work under the GDPR?


What Are the Main Marketing Channels?

Offline and Online channels. Offline channels are like ads in newspapers, billboards, and brochures. Online channels are like social media, website, and SEO & content marketing.

Why Is Digital Marketing Important?

Digital marketing is effective and measurable. It allows you to reach targeted people, build brand loyalty, measure the efficiency of your strategy, and save money cause it is cost-effective.

What is GDPR?

General Data Protection Regulation is legislation enforced by the European Union. It is a guideline for data privacy and protection of the EU citizens. Any business that does not follow the regulations will face heavy fines.

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