Tuesday 2¢: Laurel vs Yanny and GDPR

With only a few days before the arrival of GDPR, Ian Truscott takes the topic by the horns, reminding us that we can see it either one of two ways - 'Laurel' or 'Yanny'...

  1. chevron left iconTuesday 2¢: Laurel vs Yanny and GDPR
Ian TruscottMay 22, 2018
  • Digital Marketing

Welcome to the Tuesday 2¢. It’s Tuesday, the weekend is a distant memory and it’s time to let off some steam and give our 2 cents on a hot industry topic. With only a few days before the arrival of GDPR, Ian Truscott takes the topic by the horns, reminding us that we can see it either one of two ways - 'Laurel' or 'Yanny'...


Oh yes, I’m doing this, I am taking the top internet meme of the moment and crashing it into the seriously hot topic of GDPR. Perhaps it is a cynical attempt to get eyeballs on one of my rants, or maybe because Robert Rose posted something on Facebook last week and I thought “challenge accepted”, but maybe there is something in this, you decide…

Let’s start with Laurel vs Yanny. If you have been living under a social media rock, don’t have teenage kids, or maybe are reading this in two months’ time when all of this is forgotten, Laurel & Yanny is a recording which has the listener convinced that the same sound clip which either sounds like the word ‘Laurel’ or the word ‘Yanny’, and people either fall into one camp or another.

Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking, this is JUST like GDPR.

No, really :)

Some marketers are hearing GDPR and like the musician Yanni who’s apparently riding a wave of new found awareness of the word ‘Yanny’, see this as an opportunity.

I don’t mean those sales folks who are cynically peddling GDPR snake oil, often via non-GDPR compliant junk mail (if my email inbox is anything to go by). Nor do I mean the apparently the dark side of hackers who see this as an opportunity to fish while our inboxes are inundated with GDPR compliance requests.

I mean the marketers who know that double-opt in means an engaged contact (and yes, I have written about this before).

To be honest, my optimism is based on two things: gut feeling of how I like to be marketed to and that, having joined a German company already operating under strict German data protection laws (which include double-opt in), I was seeing email open rates and engagement with our campaigns which are far higher than the industry average.

As this article suggests, whether you hear ‘Yanny’ or ‘Laurel’ depends on the quality of your audio equipment, so I changed what I was listening to and tested this theory with my chum Misia Tramp last week.

As VP of Customer Experience Strategy and Insight at Metia, Misia’s day job is literally keeping her finger on the pulse of the what’s happening in marketing today, she has access to some fantastic social data and research. Her conclusion is that this is precisely the case, that folks who double-opt in are way more committed to and engaged with your communications, and are far more likely to share and convert.

Of course, when you hear GDPR, you may not hear ‘Yanny’, you may hear Laurel and (apologies for anyone called Laurel) this is the lower resonance, voice of doom for a hard-earned contact database being decimated (have some sympathy, not all marketers are list buying shmucks), an increase in customer acquisition costs and in some cases, chucking the whole thing out and starting again.

The anguish of those hearing Laurel cannot be underestimated and there has been some hard work being done. But the opportunity I see when we punch through this thing, is that a cleaner, GDPR compliant, double-opted in database is worth more. You have a database of folks who are one step closer to being fans, they have chosen to communicate with you, they are engaged.

Look at your own inbox, all those marketers appealing to you to confirm your subscription to their communications as they clean up their act - who do YOU choose?

So, yes, my motive for writing this was a bit of fun, but the final Tuesday 2¢ before the GDPR Day, (I suspect Hallmark are developing a card, don’t forget folks) just had to be about GDPR. And best of luck everyone with those last-minute preparations.

Just think ‘Yanny’.

Ian Truscott
Ian Truscott has a passion for creating ART (Awareness, Revenue and Trust) for B2B software companies as a marketing leader and is a censhare alumni. Wanting to connect a like minded community and share something useful, he founded Rockstar CMO, a monthly digital publication, and is currently helping B2B companies create ART at appropingo.

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