GDPR at Leeds Business Week: How warm is your data anyway?

As part of our bedding into our new offices in Leeds, we attended Leeds Business Week on Tuesday.

A particularly interesting part of the day was a talk by Saul Gowens on GDPR. His talk had a slightly different focus than previous GDPR talks we have seen. In short, his thoughts are that for many the new regulations offer an opportunity rather than a painful re-organisation of data processes.

There’s a lot of truth in what he says.

Most of the organisations we come into contact with are more concerned with the size of their data sets rather than what the people on those lists think about their company.

This is especially true of B2B companies. Many of them have contact lists running into the tens of thousands but only expect to convert tens of prospects into clients each year. Even when allowing for longer sales cycles of over 5 years it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the ratios there sound out of sync.

A more sensible approach is to think about data in terms of how warm it is, rather than what sectors, job roles or lead sources it belongs to. We’ve recently introduced the following classifications:

  • Suspect: we think they might be interested but they’ve shown very little interest
  • Active Subscriber: has been receiving our messages and has been consistently responsive
  • Clients and Known Prospects: we have a relationship and they have either purchased from us or are very warm to us.
  • Old clients and prospects: People we used to have relationships with who may be interested in the future
  • Do not contact: These are people from all of the lists who have stopped being interested or have asked not to be contacted again.

For most organisations, the first four categories get amalgamated into a ‘general’ list. This means that as much time is spent trying to convert suspects and active subscribers as clients and known prospects. Similarly, if we need to move contacts to the Client and Known Prospects stage to get them to take action it’s really hard to do this if all of your data is in one indecipherable lump.

As much as it was surprising that Weatherspoons destroyed all 600,000 records on their database you can sort of rationalise the decision if the data quality was poor.

GDPR at Leeds Business Week

A second talk we saw was from Andrew Machin at Lion & Mason who talked about getting customers to take action through the intelligent use of UX. There were some really interesting insights into how to create effective landing pages and testing Call To Action text. Andrew mentioned that in the era of UX it’s really important to have a publishing platform that allows you to test, such as Sitecore. This was certainly music to our ears as we’ve been telling customers for a long time that if their budgets can extend to an enterprise CMS it does offer up a whole world of flexibility in the future.

We’ve got Jon on the ground in Leeds now so if anyone fancies meeting him for a coffee to discuss GDPR or CMS feel free to drop him an email to

Interested in learning more? Check out our latest blog topics for more great digital marketing insights and trends.

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