Matthieu Betton, general manager for Europe, discusses impact of GDPR
Travel specialist personalisation marketing platform Sojern expects new data privacy rules due to come in in Europe to set global standards and clean up the industry.
Matthieu Betton, Sojern general manager for Europe, said the industry should welcome the new General Data Protection Regulations that will become law on May 25.
GDPR does not change the fundamental principles of data protection, but does put much greater onus on firms to comply or face fines of up to €20 million or 4% of global turnover.
Betton said as advertisers and brands look for more ways to personalise their marketing and product compliance with regulations become ever more “super important”.
“Being a travel data platform, we have been compliant for years because we have to be on top of things.
“This is only natural in the world of marketing and advertising, that things get cleaner. In general the perception of the public has been advertising is bad, it’s intrusive, it’s polluting.
“To some extent a lot of users only think about the bad experiences that they have had but there is a huge need to clean up certain types of advertising.
“Everything we see around GDPR and evolving data privacy regulations is only a good thing because that helps clean up all the trash that’s been around for a long time.
“GDPR is setting global standards. For us it’s not a question of whether we operate to different rules in Europe to the US to APAC, this has to be the new global standard.”
Sojern bought Facebook specialist advertising firm Adphorus in November last year and Betton said it has not been affected by the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
“Adphorus has never made third party data available to Facebook. They use first party data to power marketing and use Facebook data. This is legally compliant.”
Betton said the proliferation of channels and number of devices people own aligned to the emergence of connected devices is only going to make more and more data available.
“I see two trends,” said Betton. “First, for our clients and advertisers and travel brand their whole purpose when it comes to advertising is offering a better service to their clients.
“It’s about how do they personalise their service and product better, to make their messaging more personalised in terms of content and who they are addressing.
“Not many marketers are truly succeeding at that but the only way to do it is through better use of data.
“The second trend is the volume of data is only going to grow. With online marketing it used to be you were talking about search, a little bit of display, and that’s it. And desktop only.
“Fast forward 10 years and you are talking about users owning four different connected devices on average.
“When people buy online they might start on mobile on their way back from work and end up booking at home with their wife and children.
“This multiplication of channels means you have to become smarter at communicating wherever your customer is today, at this moment.
“These trends of data proliferation and utilisation of data are key for marketers and advertisers.”
Betton pointed to a recent Sojern study into Paths to Purchase which suggests there are no longer conventional behaviours – everyone researches and books in their own unique way.
Travel firms can no longer think in terms of silos as each channel interacts with every other.
“It’s how we connect the dots which is very important? There are no two people today who are the same.
“The only way forward is to get access at scale to data about your potential customers. You have the ones you know who come to your site.
“Then you have the ones you don’t know. Our clients are interested in the ones they don’t know and are looking for clues to power marketing messages to them.”
Betton said he expects to see voice-controlled devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home to have a disruptive impact on the big two Facebook and Google duopoly.
And he says he also see the like of Amazon, Snapchat and Microsoft looking to mount a challenge.
“What I see from our clients is there’s a general appetite to diversify where to put their advertising budgets.
“It’s true search has become more expensive but it’s been the main way to drive traffic to your website. However there are many more channels that are super-efficient today.
“Travel is such a complex world with the volume of touch points way beyond anything you see in other verticals.
“So it’s extremely complicated for travel brands that are focusing on a lot of things to figure out how they market to potential customers. That’s where we can help them.
“for them to do it themselves they’d need to employ an army of data scientists.”