Lifting the digital curtain on dance

by Rachel Turner


Digital transformation conversations are part of our everyday here at The Crocodile, and increasingly so of late with many of our enterprise clients. Introducing innovation and creativity – enabled by technology – can really shake things up, and ambitious marketers are up for it. An organisation on the front foot of such an approach is the Royal Opera House, and they’ve got it so right.

Years of dance school have fuelled my love of ballet, and since hanging up my pointe shoes there’s no greater pleasure for me than watching professional ballet live. It’s an expensive hobby as good seats tend to shock the bank balance, but there’s nothing like being present in a theatre amongst such talent. Until now…

The Royal Opera House’s annual Live Cinema Season is a game-changer. Through the power of technology, they’ve expanded beyond their Covent Garden bricks and mortar to bring live theatre and dance to the masses.

Last night, watching three short ballets as part of a centenary celebration for the late composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein, live at my local cinema, it struck me how far they’d gone to ensure that what was lacking in Opera House ambience was made up for by pretty much EVERYTHING else.

Exclusive interviews with choreographers, costume designers, and set designers, and engaging host (Oré Oduba), behind the scenes footage, unrivalled views…. Even a digital version of the coveted hard copy programme was available with added films, articles, photos and exclusives to bring you closer to the production.

During the intervals, live tweets were shown on cinema screens, and immediately after the production, social posts went live encouraging online reviews and feedback, with #ROHbernstein featuring as one of the top 10 trending hashtags in the UK.

A Crimson Hexagon review of the last 24 hours on Twitter shows 1,000 uses of the hashtag, across 37 countries.

All of this demonstrates a carefully planned and exceptionally executed approach by the Royal Opera House to broaden its reach and to appeal to a different demographic, through increasing accessibility via technology. In addition to affluent theatregoers, more frugal (and digitally native) dance lovers can share their appreciation of the art in real-time.

The customer experience, of course, is key, whatever you’re marketing. Personally, I think the Royal Opera House has nailed it on multiple levels. They’ve expanded their product offering, without compromising the experience of their traditional customer – no mean feat in an industry so rich in tradition and heritage. Delivering a feeling of exclusivity to both theatre and cinema audiences is impressive; doing it simultaneously is a masterclass in marketing, and digital transformation in particular.

What lessons can we learn from this in B2B?

  • Tradition and heritage can embrace digital. Technology elevates products, services and marketing.
  • Accessibility is all-important. Make it easy for your customers to reach you, engage with you, buy from you, have a conversation with you.
  • Think customer-first: existing and prospective. Sometimes these can be complimentary. They may want the same things, but in different ways. Technology could make this possible.
  • Innovation doesn’t mean re-inventing the wheel. Look for opportunities where integrating technology can add value.

A bloody good customer journey

Our Head of Customer Engagement, Matt Garisch, describes his recent experience of giving blood.


Sat planning my next tattoo, I suddenly found myself focussing on a rather different type of needle, and considering giving something back instead – by donating blood.

It’s not every day that an organisation makes me stop and re-evaluate my life choices. In this instance, it was the NHS’s Give Blood appeal.

Somewhere, somebody customer obsessed, thought about how to get people to donate, and keep them coming back for more, by using a clever mix of channels, technology, and a focus on customer experience to evoke an internal conversation in the recipient – in this case me!

Everything from the booking process online, the Give Blood app, the experience in the donation centre, and the follow-up (which was the thought-provoking icing on the cake for me), altogether created an awe-inspiring customer experience. They did their job so well, that it made my behaviour, dare I say it, predictable!

Here’s the journey they took me on:

  1. I decided I wanted to donate – so downloaded the app via a link in a tweet by the Give Blood appeal.
  2. I was offered a convenient appointment – signing up with no fuss.
  3. The experience on the day was great – the waiting room wasn’t full of awkward Londoner strangers, catching each other’s eye and quickly looking away. On the contrary, there was a feeling of camaraderie amongst us.
  4. I left feeling happy – I’d done a great thing and was proud of myself.
  5. I received a thank you message – an unexpected text message thanking me for donating, stating that my blood type would be updated on the app, along with my next potential date to donate.

And, I assumed that would be it…

However, about two weeks later, I got a further text from the service. My blood had been given to a named London hospital that day – wow!

Now, it may not be much, but that last message stopped me in my tracks. It had instantly made the whole process real for some reason. Donating is not something I did a few weeks ago, but now that I knew that it was actually being put to some use, and I knew whereabouts, this immediately created a flurry of internal dialogue around my choices of whether to donate again in future.

How is this relevant to B2B?

Often when we talk about customer journeys, it’s usually a straight line on a diagram which leads to some positive benefit for your organisation. The flaw (as it is with most things in this world) is the human element. You cannot predict, or encourage, the reaction you get from someone. Or can you?

Customer journeys do not begin with web pages, events (virtual or physical), emails, or social channels. They start in the mind, beginning with a conversation as a person works through a problem.

Have you thought about the conversation you want your customer to have when they are not engaging with your brand? Customer analytics platforms like Thunderhead and Kitewheel can show you the path, and (much like ABM theory and frameworks) they are useless, unless you look at how you fundamentally influence the decision-making process. Through using multiple channels that manage the ongoing conversation, you can minimise the chance variable in the decision tree.

And how can you break through the noise to positively influence their decision? Well, 97% of decision-makers say they have a preferred vendor before they go into a pitch process, according to a new study entitled Group. Mind. Set. How Group Dynamics Impact Business Decisions – conducted by B2B Marketing.

The point of the journey

Customer journeys are not a straight line. Spanning multiple channels, they start way before you have intentionally turned your marketing sights on them.

So, if my experience is anything to go by, and the journey I’ve been on influenced the chance variable in my internal dialogue, the stage has already been set, and I have made 92% of my decision already.

Only time will tell what the most likely conclusion will be. Let’s connect and I’ll let you know the outcome.

The difference diversity makes

Here we are in 2018 and we still need to educate the world on the merits of diversity.

Happy International Women’s Day!

At the risk of being over-simplistic, businesses that have a knack of spotting talent and nurturing it tend to thrive. Talent is not a gender, an age, a sexual orientation, or – dare I say it – a disability. Talent is talent.

Living in digital or IoT times, one could argue this has never been more necessary. I believe it’s critical to have a varied outlook so as to stand a chance of connecting with the world on a daily basis. Spoiler alert: the ‘world’ is varied and so requires a varied and balanced outlook – common sense surely?

At The Crocodile we have a talent-first policy.  This has resulted in a team from over 5 countries, multiple ethnicities, a female bias inclusive of top roles as Department Heads and Partner. We believe that diversity and a balanced perspective directly impact performance.

If you need a bit more persuasion, don’t just take my word for it, take a look at some factoids:

  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • Case study: Facebook. They have over 75 nationalities in the International HQ in Dublin. This is because they realise when they’re trying to speak to 1.86 billion people worldwide, they need to have diverse talent and multiple voices so they can scale globally and engage locally.
  • Also, when considering a potential employer, 61% of women look at the diversity of the employer’s leadership team, so diversity is also important for securing your future workforce.

We’re proud to celebrate International Women’s Day today and recognise just how necessary diversity is to businesses and the wider world. But diversity should (of course) be on all of our agendas, no matter what day it is.

 

by Jason Talbot

What the click is in store for PPC this year?

It may be a cliché to say that the marketing landscape is an ever-changing one, but it certainly is true. As marketers, it’s really important for us to look to the future and see how we can improve, aligning with the constant advances in tech. And looking at the emerging trends in the ad world, this year looks to be an exciting one!

With that in mind, here are our PPC predictions for this year:

1) The importance of personalisation

We’ve all heard the well-known phrase ‘personalisation, personalisation, personalisation.’ No? Well it’s certainly key to us here at The Croc, and to marketing in 2018. People are individuals, so we should treat them that way. And when you start on the road of truly personalised content, the scope for inventiveness and creativity increases tenfold.

Personalisation also results in a huge uplift in lead generation when compared with non-personalised content. Inbound marketing platform, HubSpot, estimates this to be as much as a 42% uplift. On top of this, personalised web experiences get double the engagement and response.

However, personalisation in itself is a two-step process. To tailor content, we need to know the audience that we are marketing to. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is set to help with this, but more about this later.

There are, of course, many ways in which we can tailor our content and messaging. It can be done via geography, intent, industry vertical, or even a person’s position within a company. Focusing marketing resources on target accounts is, of course, account-based marketing (ABM), and it’s now more important than ever. According to US marketing company Wordstream, over 70% of B2B marketers are ramping up their programmes with the likes of ABM platform DemandBase.

With a smaller set of target accounts you can then track the effectiveness of a campaign more easily, align your sales and messaging perfectly to your specific targets, and see a very clear ROI. From here, the next step is in actually creating the content. Good personalised content listens to its audience and their needs.

When sales and marketing resources are concentrated on a clearly defined audience, we can deliver relevant and personalised information that people will be receptive to and genuinely interested in, and so give a better overall experience.

2) Machine learning and market automation

AI seems to be all people are talking about right now, but it’s largely from a speculative point of view. That’s going to change. Yes, a machine has written a book and is able to beat humans at chess, but it can be utilised in a far more practical way. Machine learning is here, and we will soon be using it in our day-to-day marketing.

We can use machines to learn about customers on an individual level. This will work practically in terms of assisting customers and, in detecting and adapting to shifts in customer interests.

Google’s Smart Bidding is a useful example to bear in mind, particularly in terms of optimising campaign strategy in real-time. Here, machines work within defined targets for the cost per action (CPA), return on advertising spend (ROAS), or other key performance indicators (KPIs). The result is, of course, an enhanced cost per click (CPC) bidding strategy as a whole. It is able to factor in an enormous amount of data, such as the precise time and location of the individual auction, and so can gather relevant information that we can use to deliver the best results.

Put simply, it’s efficient. Machines are able to process far more information than whole teams of people. Time is saved, but far from the machine overthrowing the human, it will ensure that your teams have time for creative tasks and producing excellent campaigns, free from hours of labour-intensive data processing. The intelligence that is gathered can improve both existing and future strategies. Used in this way, technology doesn’t take power, it empowers!

3) Better audience targeting

For the very first time in online marketing, a solid keyword strategy just won’t be enough on its own. But this shouldn’t be damning, but liberating.

At The Croc, we integrate targeting into our marketing strategy. For example, with clients, Linux Professional Institute and AppDynamics, we looked very specifically at the types of audience who downloaded a guide. This told us that they were engaged and actively searching for information: effectively ‘in-market’. By looking at characteristics such as age group, gender, and content they have interacted with, (overlaid with CRM data of existing customers) we were able to serve ads to reach people that were most likely to engage with the content.

Of course, there is more to learn about a customer than simply what they may have clicked on, say, in the last hour of browsing. Equally important is how long someone has spent on the page. Have they pogo-sticked and bounced off the page, or spent time immersing themselves in the content? If it’s the latter, then you have found that top tier audience. You can remarket to them, yes, but also bid higher. We can create marketing plans based on activity and actually understand and nurture the people we are speaking to.

For example, if someone has recently bought a phone, they may need insurance or a contract, and we, as marketers, are able to guide them with this purchase. This is essentially what tools such as Google’s Custom Affinity Audience allow us to do. Ultimately, better targeting stops ads from being simply background noise, and elevates them, making them relevant, interesting, and able to shift in real-time to the specific demands of an individual. Marketing and ads can then operate in terms of a conversation, rather than a loudspeaker.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what’s on the horizon for 2018. Another thing to look out for is the use of video marketing. When the typical organisation publishes 18 videos per month  (which looks a lot like the production schedule of a blogger a few years ago) it’s clearly on the rise. Video content engages audiences and it is a really interesting area to bear in mind. Stay tuned to our blog for an in-depth look at emerging and upcoming video trends for 2018, coming soon.

A little more conversation, a lot more interaction

Our most recent recruit and Head of Customer Engagement, Matt Garisch, opens up the conversation between brand and customer. 


Conversational marketing – yet another marketing buzzword to throw around the B2B marketing universe. But what does it mean? Well, the truth is like many grandiose marketing pedigrees bandied around today, like account-based marketing, influencer marketing, and (one of my favourite catch-alls) CX, it isn’t a new concept, but rather a different way of thinking about how you engage with your target audience.

I feel I have an insight into this connected conversation world, both from a marketing standpoint and from the rather more unusual perspective of living with a shrink – the master of connected conversations. Or at least she thinks she is!

Valuing the human element

Starting a conversation in a room full of people you don’t actually know is one of the hardest things to do. Even harder to engineer and create ‘genuine’ interest with one another. I’m not talking about interest in the product, but in the person. A conversation completely hinges on two parties being engaged in the here and now. With that in mind I wondered, can a machine do this? Is a kick-ass ABM program and tech stack alone strong enough to deliver this for you? In a word, no! Just this week I picked up on this very honest LinkedIn post by Nikki Nixon, reiterating that the biggest challenge with any form of marketing is that we’ve forgotten that we are trying to connect with an actual human being. Customer personas, detailed interests, and company information alone do not make for a good conversation.

How odd then, that when we try to utilise something that we as people do every day, it often fails. It’s now far too easy to get lost in the data, with people becoming just lines on a spreadsheet.

This is where marketing evangelists would potentially say that sales and marketing alignment comes in to play, as salespeople are adept at creating conversations. I disagree. Part of the problem is the ability to truly listen.

‘True listening requires the setting aside of one’s self’
M Scott Peck, psychiatrist and author, The Road Less Travelled

Listening is the step before the use of customer data, marketing tools, content, and CX – and contextualises it into something meaningful.

Admittedly conversational marketing has been around for a fair bit. The resurgence brought forward by chatbot vendors like Drift. However, they were not the first people to start the conversation. In fact, the rise in a more real-time and personal way of engaging with your audience has been seen as the key for a long time. In 2015, the Gartner report predicted the rise in a more real-time and personal way of engaging with audiences, stating that by 2018, organisations that excel at personalised customer integration online will outsell slow to act rivals by more than 30%. Now more than ever digital experiences, understanding our customers, and engaging with them on their terms and at the right times, is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it’s expected!

My aim is to see this blog as the start of a connected conversation with you. And next time you think about your marketing plan, strategy, or product launch, try putting the types of conversations you want at the heart of your thought process, and see if you get a different result.

As a parting thought, I would like to share a couple of points on the subject of conversation from Celeste Headlee, TEDx speaker and radio broadcaster:

  1. Be present – in a marketing context, it has to be real-time and personal.
  2. Go with the flow – conversations, like customer journeys, are not in the shape of a funnel or a straight line, but more like a DNA Helix.
  3. Don’t equate your experience with theirs – all experiences are individual. Unless they actively ask, they don’t care about the great work you did for someone else.
  4. Conversations are not promotion opportunities – in your experience have you ever enjoyed an evening out with someone who only talked about how great they are as a human being, how amazing their business is, and how freaking awesome their life is?
  5. Forget the details – people buy people, then they buy value, everything else is irrelevant.
  6.  Listen.

Watch Celeste’s TEDx talk here, and if you’d like to carry on the conversation then get in touch with us at The Croc.

LPI Launches New DevOps certification through integrated multi-channel campaign

October this year, global leaders in Open Source certification, LPI, launched its first DevOps certification. The Crocodile devised a global, multichannel campaign to launch the new exam to the market with a splash.

The Crocodile was asked to develop a creative concept that would engage DevOps professionals, Sysadmins and Software developers, build brand awareness with these new audiences, and encourage sign-ups to take the new exam.

We designed multivariate landing pages for A/B testing and produced a brand video for the campaign, which was edited into short teaser videos for use across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Blog content was produced to support the campaign messaging.

We also produced a DevOps Exam Guide to help candidates to prepare for the exam; providing practical guidance as well as access to sample questions and a checklist to help track progress.

The campaign theme ‘there are easier ways to stand out in DevOps’ ran through all elements of the campaign – video ads, static ads, graphics, landing page copy, blog content and even the exam guide. All campaign assets were distributed to regional partners for local translation and execution.

The campaign was rolled out internationally, across LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Search, Display and YouTube, using hyperlocal targeting to reach tech-hubs around the globe with the greatest appetite for DevOps.

Just three weeks in and traffic to the LPI site has more than tripled; with over a thousand IT professionals downloading the exam guide in advance of taking the exam. How’s that for standing out?

Black Mirror tube takeover is a shocking New Year wake-up

The Crocodile’s Marcus Gibb shares an unsettling vision of the near future….


The first day back at work after New Year is never easy. It’s a real shock to the system when you finally have to crawl out into the cold January dawn and face the horror of a London commute. So, imagine my fear, dread and anxiety when I stepped off the tube at Old Street to be confronted on every poster with the bleakest headlines you can imagine…

  • ‘Tech startup turning dead loved ones into chatbots’
  • ‘Brain implant lets parents monitor teens’
  • ‘Hackers blackmail victims using their internet history’

What was happening? Was this the news in 2018? Had the world gone mad? (Well, madder.) Had Donald Trump pushed the big red button instead of the Tweet button? Or had I stepped into some kind of dystopian future nightmare?

As I headed up the escalator, my latter suspicion seemed to be confirmed. The stark black-and-white posters, filling every advertising board in the station, began to feature the words ‘Black Mirror’.

I realised that Old Street station had been completely taken over – but not by aliens, incompetent world leaders, or technology tyrants. This was an imaginative, unsettling and subversive takeover advertising campaign by online broadcaster Netflix, for its latest season of Black Mirror – the ‘future shock’ TV drama series created by British writer and TV critic Charlie Brooker.

And the ads weren’t the end of this immersive Black Mirror experience. As I exited the station, I was handed a box labelled: ‘Are you being watched?’ Inside was a plastic cover to stick over my webcam – alluding to a Black Mirror episode where victims are blackmailed with covert webcam recordings. The box itself makes no mention of Black Mirror or Netflix – a very brave move by a major brand.

The station takeover was arranged by Netflix with TfL through ‘pop-up space marketplace’ Appear Here. Old Street was selected as it’s apparently a hub for “forward-thinkers and early-adopters” – (ahem) – “making it the ideal place for brands to test out more daring ideas”. All in all, it’s a great execution of an idea that perfectly reflects (excuse the pun) Black Mirror’s themes of zeitgeisty techno-angst.

But why am I discussing a B2C ad campaign on a B2B blog? Because it highlights that in 2018, more than ever, any brand, whether B2C or B2B, has to overcome people’s ability to zone out their message as background noise. (Rather like the Black Mirror episode where people use augmented reality to mask out things they’d rather not see.)

By contrast, this campaign is surprising and affecting, thrusting big and thought-provoking ideas into people’s faces – making them literally stop and take notice. But most of all, it definitely succeeds in creating conversations. And at The Crocodile, that’s an objective we think every brand should mirror.

Black Mirror Season 4 is on Netflix now.

Love them or hate them? New social features to boost your brand into 2018

Popular opinions are sharply divided on many of the big changes and happenings during 2017 in social media. Influencer marketing rocketed, and fake news was fought by Facebook. But what are the major developments of the past year in social platform capabilities that marketers should be aware of? Let’s take a look…

Instagram: Polls, filters and influencers

In 2017, social photo sharing platform Instagram went Face Filter crazy – in a game of catch-up with rival Snapchat. Instagram also enabled users to save and bookmark favourite photos, create multiple-photo posts, and added new desktop functionality. With this constant evolution, Instagram’s popularity continues to grow at a rapid rate, predicted to reach 1 billion users in 2018.

But even more interesting from a B2B perspective, Instagram’s new Business Profiles – its equivalent to parent company Facebook’s Pages – are now being used by more than 25 million marketers. With a handy ‘Contact Us’ button on the profiles, plus invaluable in-depth analytics about the number of impressions and unique reach that each post achieves, it’s no surprise that businesses want a slice of the action, with 80% of Instagram’s 800 million users now following at least one business account.

Influencer marketing is exploding right now on Instagram. Brands of all sizes are forming both paid and unpaid partnerships with influencers to spread their message. In the spirit of enhanced transparency – and with the added benefit of bringing even more credibility to influencer marketing – Instagram rolled out a ‘Paid Partnership With’ tag in June 2017 for posts and Stories.

This year also saw Instagram Stories celebrating its first birthday by adding an interactive poll function – so your brand can now ask customers topical questions and easily share the results. It’s a great way to add more interaction to your Instagram visual storytelling.

Facebook: Smarter Stories, plus more Live and 360° video

Facebook created its own Stories function in 2017 and then rolled out an option to link Instagram Stories to Facebook Stories. The big news for business was that Facebook Stories also opened up to include Pages, allowing brands a new useful marketing tool.

Facebook 360 was also launched in 2017. Over 25 million 360-degree photos have now been posted on Facebook, plus 1 million immersive 360-degree videos.

Pushing forward with Facebook Live this year, it became possible to start broadcasting directly from your laptop or desktop computer, and to add comments to your live broadcasts. A great tool for PR, and experiential events, The Crocodile has used Facebook Live with a number of clients this year, including Volvo Construction Equipment, Swatch, and B2B Marketing – with exceptional results!

Twitter: Character-building experiences

In 2017, Twitter turned eleven years old – and decided it was time for an interface makeover, such as turning square profile pictures into circles and repositioning tabs, toolbars and sidebars.

The update was mostly cosmetic.

However, 2017’s big development on Twitter was the increased character allowance for each tweet – from 140 to 280 characters. This was a major long-awaited change for consumers and brands alike, and probably one of the biggest social media news items of 2017. The move followed criticism that it was not easy enough to tweet, and was seen as part of Twitter’s masterplan to attract new users, increase growth and compete with other social platforms. While Twitter currently has 330 million active users, this is a relatively small user-base – Instagram has 800 million, and Facebook over 2 billion users.

The good news for marketers? While it’s still early days, some preliminary research indicates that tweets longer than 140 characters get more engagement. Analytics company SocialFlow has reported that people are liking and retweeting longer tweets almost two-times more than shorter ones.

LinkedIn: Generating leads and leading generations

The big LinkedIn news for B2B this year was the introduction of Lead Generation Forms, allowing users to opt-in to your offer with just one click. According to, AdWeek: “marketers have reported that using the lead gen forms have helped lower their average cost per lead by more than 20%”.

Another major step forward for LinkedIn was the rolling out of native video capabilities this year, allowing B2B marketers the chance to stream live video to a professional audience.

The Crocodile was an early adopter, joining the LinkedIn closed video beta trial for client the London Stock Exchange Group.

All in all, 2017 has been an exciting year for social media, and an interesting time for B2B social marketing. Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog – about hot topics to watch out for in social media in 2018.

Merry Crocmas!

 

 

We hope you have a good break.

The Crocodile will be closed from 3pm on Friday 22nd of December until Tuesday 2nd January.

No prizes for second place…

Turns out that’s not quite true. This year team Standard Life and The Crocodile scooped ‘Runner Up’ trophies for our ‘Step Ahead With Confidence’ SME workplace pensions campaign at both the B2B Marketing Awards and the Social Buzz Awards.

At the B2B Marketing Awards we won silver in the ‘Best B2B Lead Generation and Nurture’ category and at this year’s Social Buzz Awards, we were runners up in the ‘Best B2B Social Media Campaign’ category.

Truth is, we don’t rate coming second and as much as we like to see a new trophy in the boardroom, silver isn’t good enough. It is however industry recognition that collectively our thinking, craft and execution are up there with the very best in key categories.

You can expect us to find another gear in 2018 as we push for the top spot. Game on!

Jason Talbot
Managing Director

Buzzing from 4 more nominations

The Drum’s Social Buzz Awards celebrate and reward the very best in social media communications.

With Standard Life (Best Financial Sector) and VolvoCE (Best Social Event) we have yet again demonstrated B2B social can and should match anything the B2C market has to offer.

By driving richer experiences capable of supporting a deeper level of conversation we adopt a more human and personal approach. In B2B we believe this really can make the difference, so it’s fantastic to be the only agency to be nominated twice in the Best B2B category.

“As the most nominated B2B agency, we are really proud to be shortlisted four times this year. It’s great recognition that we continue to deliver award worthy work,” says Robyn Pierce, Head of Social Media at The Crocodile. “We couldn’t do this without amazing collaboration with our clients.”

2017 nominations:

Best Social Event – VolvoCE
Best Financial Sector Social Strategy or Campaign – Standard Life
Best B2B Sector Social Strategy or Campaign – VolvoCE
Best B2B Sector Social Strategy or Campaign – Standard Life

GDPR compliance – Let’s get personal

Two months into my new role at The Crocodile and I was given the not-so-simple task of presenting a knowledge sharing session to the team about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR is one of the biggest topics affecting the marketing world right now, and with so much information out there, the challenge was to find out what the essential bits we all need to know are. So, here is my bite-sized overview of what the GDPR is, and what it means for you.

The GDPR is the new legislation from the EU, and affects anyone who collects or processes personal data on EU residents. In the UK, the GDPR will replace the Data Protection Act.

It will come into effect on 25 May 2018, and there is no transition period. From this date onwards, any breaches of data will be hit with tough penalties, with the maximum fine being a staggering £17 million, or 4% of your annual turnover, whichever is greatest. This is a far cry from the current maximum fine in the UK of £500,000.

Why is it happening?

  • To create a framework that simplifies and harmonises the international regulatory environment for business.
  • Provide more consistent protection for personal data.
  • Improve trust among consumers.
  • Give businesses more accountability.
  • Create more protection around B2B data.
  • Stay up-to-date with the digital age (the Data Protection Act was created in 1998).

The 6 key principles that underpin the GDPR

Personal data should be:

  1. Processed lawfully, fairly, and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals.
  2. Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not processed beyond those.
  3. Adequate, relevant and limited to what’s necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.
  4. Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.
  5. Kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed.
  6. Processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data.

Key impacts it will have on you as a marketing professional

Opt-ins, opt-outs and consent:

  • Consent must be informed and clearly given via a positive opt-in action.
  • Requests should be given in clear, plain language stating how the data will be used.
  • There should be a genuine choice about consenting – service provision cannot be conditional.
  • Children under 16 years old cannot give consent – parental consent is required.
  • Different consent categories must be separated.
  • Special categories of data such as race or health requires more explicit consent.
  • Withdrawing consent must be clearly explained and as easy to do as giving consent in the first place.
  • Pre-ticked opt-in is no longer allowed.

The right to be forgotten:

  • Giving someone the means of accessing and removing their data.
  • Being able to prove that the data has been deleted from your database.
  • Ensuring removal from any third party you may have supplied the data to.

Changes to legal basis for processing data:

  • More rules around processing data means better housekeeping on the part of marketers.
  • There must be a clear reason for data collection ­– no collecting data for unnecessary reasons.

Some aspects of how the new regulation will look in practice haven’t yet been explicitly stated, so there are still grey areas within how it will impact social media, automation, and targeted online marketing. Here at The Crocodile we see it as an opportunity for businesses. By engaging with your customer on their terms however, and wherever suits them, and by being innovative in your marketing techniques, you will remain both compliant, and ahead of the competition.

To find out more about how we can help you on the way to becoming GDPR compliant, get in touch at hello@thecroc.com

By Georgie Pickard

Beasting the B2B Awards

The B2B jungle is a competitive place with lots of fierce creatures. Turns out that team Standard Life have what it takes to be at the head of the pack having been shortlisted in no fewer than four categories:

  • Category 1: Best Multichannel
  • Category 16: Best SME
  • Category 22: Best Lead Generation & Nurture
  • Category 24: Bravery Award

There are no easy categories and all require a deep pool of skill sets, both client and agency side, to achieve connected strategies – with exceptional customer experiences that deliver results.

We hope that we have good cause to be swinging from the rafters come November 23rd when the winners are announced.

Standard Life: Step Ahead With Confidence

Taking digital experience to the next level

We are delighted to welcome Shimpei Okumura to our gang. He joins us from John Brown Media as Digital Art Director, having built a fantastic portfolio across fashion, lifestyle and finance brands.

This strategic appointment looks to boost our digital design team as the agency continues to push the importance of great digital experiences in the B2B industry.

Chris Tongeman, Creative Director at The Crocodile says: “In B2B there is no shortage of content being created, but what is often lacking is the craft and finesse skills required to take something to the next level and differentiate through the quality of experience. Shimpei will be a great addition to our talented team as we look to create higher value conversations with our clients’ customers.”