The end is nigh!
On May 25th 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will take effect, and it will wreak utter havoc on the once lucrative email marketing industry.
The implementation of the GDPR will have far reaching effects in every corner of the digital marketing world. Brands and marketing departments across the globe, sitting atop their mighty piles of ill-gotten consumer data like kings of yore, will at long last be held to account, forced to crawl back into the dingy holes from whence they came.
A grassroots consumer data revolution, forged in the fires of inboxes filled to bursting with spam, social media feeds rife with clumsy retargeting campaigns, and the unbridled arrogance of those who claim the inglorious mantle of “digital marketer”, is upon us.
Days are about to get very, very dark for every brand and soul in the digital marketing game.
And, for those unfortunate enough to have carved out a niche in the treacherous realm known as “email marketing”, the sky is, quite literally, falling.
Here’s how it’s going to happen….
GDPR: The sky is falling
Day 1 (May 25, 2018 [the day GDPR takes effect])
In a panic, brands begin destroying their mailing lists. Some have already made it clear that they plan to do so. The email marketing community rallies, attempting to reassure the world that their channel and skills are still relevant. No-one listens.
Day 2 (May 26, 2018)
Brands turn on their email marketing departments. Contracts are broken. Ties to ESPs are severed. Email marketers across the globe find themselves cast out into the cold, cruel world without so much as a thank you for a job well done. Brands’ marketing ROI begins to plummet.
Day 3 (May 27, 2018)
Abandoned, the world’s email marketers band together in an attempt to scrounge out a living any way they can. Meanwhile, feeling the sting of lost email marketing revenue already, the world’s biggest online retail brands begin cutting the fat. Armies of laid off data analysts and digital marketers join the email marketing throngs already in the streets. Politicians ignore the problem.
Day 30 (June 26, 2018)
Their savings spent and unable to find work, bands of email marketers, data analysts, and digital marketers begin roaming the streets. Chaos abounds. Law enforcement officials, unable to access useful data to develop efficient strategies for dealing with the problem, are stumped, and begin resigning in droves to stay home and protect their homes and terrified families.
Day 90 (August 25, 2018)
Society has crumbled. Sure, the public is safe at last from the unbearable nuisance of marketers knowing which brand of dish soap they recently purchased, but the point now seems moot, as the internet no longer exists (nor does dish soap). So begins an era which will come to be known as “The Dark Ages 2.0”.
Day 20,530 (August 25, 2074)
At long last, society has been rebuilt. On the surface, it appears to be a utopia. But, in a cruel twist of historical fate (since all records were burned in the great famine of 2044 for rat roasting purposes), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is forgotten. In the eyes of the public, email marketers bear the lion’s share of the blame for society’s collapse. Email marketing in all forms is outlawed in perpetuity, and those who dare to engage in it face the worst punishment the future has to offer: death by rocket-probe.
While the implementation of the GDPR will indeed force marketers (especially email marketers) to re-evaluate their strategies and enact meaningful changes in their approaches, the problems it presents are entirely surmountable.