GDPR is helping drive the development of a new marketing channel

Many attempts to ‘look on the bright side’ of GDPR are, to say the least, tenuous. But, one really tangible benefit is starting to emerge – the birth of a completely new channel for marketers.

Virtually all responsible European organisations have changed their corporate privacy policies, or at least their customer-facing privacy statements. To support this, change a large number have also introduced customer portals to enable easier self-management of communication permissions and preferences. Some of these portals are well-designed and represent a great user experience, but many are complex, confusing and time-consuming.

The characteristic that links all of these new “Privacy Portals” is that they only relate to a relationship with a single organisation.

They are provided by the organisation for their own customers and prospects, each of whom is probably having to interact with many different portals. The portals will have different log-ins, interfaces, protocols and overall experiences.
A quote from a recent Ovum article emphasizes this point:

In reality, this (GDPR) power given to consumers has resulted in a patchwork of web portals. Every company has a different website and user experience, and users must seek out the correct link/portal to exercise their rights. Data privacy and protection rights in the digital age are highly fragmented.

The solution is a single, cross-brand portal that enables individuals to manage their permissions with multiple organisations from a single interface.

Surely any technology company should be able to develop and launch this easily. Well, if that were the case, why wouldn’t we have many services like this in the market already?

The reality is that this task is much more complex than it seems. Developing the interface is the easy part but the ‘plumbing’ behind it requires sophistication.

The actions of a user need to be communicated to the organisations using the service, probably via an interface into one of many types of CRM system. A history of all changes to permission and preferences needs to be stored and visible to both the user and the organisation. The users’ data must be transportable between organisations if the they want to change vendors. And, of course, security is paramount.

A few solutions to this challenge are now beginning to emerge with the JLINC Labs solution, mentioned in the Ovum article, as an early leader in completeness of this proposition. JLINC offers the single user interface to multiple vendors and has developed a unique approach to ‘plumbing’ behind it.

But how can this be called a new market channel?

Trust in what an organisation will do with a person’s data is becoming a key customer priority in selecting vendors.

This happens early in decision processes. Often, customers will not even consider visiting a website based on previous bad experiences or poor reputation for spamming. Services like JLINC provide users with a guaranteed level of care and transparency from organisations that use it. They will increasingly even provide trust ratings for these organisations based on user feedback and any transgressions regarding their stated privacy commitment.


So, a cross-brand privacy portal could easily become a favoured start point for privacy-conscious customers to search for new providers that are most likely to take greatest care of their data. It offers a new way to start a customer-controlled relationship with an organisation. The customer can see and select from brands already using the service. In the future, they will also be able to notify other brands of their desire to share information - if they are prepared to do so on the customer’s preferred privacy management service.

Only time will finally tell but there are clear signs that we are seeing the emergence of a whole new marketing channel – Relationship Invitation Portals.