GDPR: fighting nudge with nudge

Just about every business we work with is stressing about GDPR, not least because they’re worried they’re going to lose great swathes of customers from their marketing databases.

GDPR is, of course, one giant nudge: it’s changing the default option. Instead of businesses getting you to hand over your data by pre-ticking consent boxes, they’ll now have to assume you don’t want to give up your data unless you actively choose to.

And lots of us who couldn’t be bothered to unsubscribe from marketing spam will now choose to opt-out, just because businesses are having to ask us explicitly (I’m already doing it myself).

So, if you’re about to try to persuade your customers to keep hearing from you, there are three things you could do to improve your chances.

1. Run a trial.

You’re probably going to contact lots of your customers, so it’s the perfect time to do a test. Especially because you’re going to have to get people to re-confirm their consent at regular intervals in the future. So split-test different approaches now, see what works best, and do even better next time.

And when I say different approaches…

2. Out-nudge the nudge.

So what could you try? There are loads of behaviourally savvy techniques you can use to persuade people to do things. Tell them what other people like them are doing. Highlight what they could miss out on. And many more where those came from: just ask Adam. (It’s what we’ll be doing, naturally.)

3. Don’t let the lawyers loose on the tone.

GDPR is a legal minefield. So your legal team will probably have a view on what you say in your GDPR comms; that doesn’t mean they should dictate how you say it. There’s plenty of evidence on how off-putting overly formal officialese can be. Something ‘normal’, or honest, or in your brand’s tone of voice, is much more likely to succeed. And if your lawyers don’t believe you, see point number one. Test different tones, collect the data, and never have that argument again.

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