“Worse things happen at sea!”

Another of my late mum’s favourite sayings in times of difficulty. Particularly disconcerting to me as a youngster as I had set the outrageously ambitious goal of joining the Royal Navy as an officer.

To listen to the business world, one might believe that one of the “worse ever things” (at sea or otherwise) is happening on 25th May with the advent of GDPR.

For those not in the loop (presumably having resided on Planet Zog for some time now), GDPR is the new General Data Protection Regulation that come into force on 25th May… just over a week from now.

Now, I’m not going to belittle the added work and the burden, particularly on small businesses, that the new regulations have created.

But, why is everyone panicking?

Yes, it’s our old friend, Change.

And here’s the thing…

GDPR is a good thing.

You see, marketing is not just about attracting lots of people to your list of “potential customers” (or clients). It’s also about dissuading those who don’t need your service or product, who don’t like you or what you do, who don’t value or want what you do. After all, you would only want to work with those people who genuinely want what you provide, wouldn’t you?!

Marketing is about attracting the right clients. The fact is that the second half of the marketing equation (dissuading the “wrong” type of clients) is often forgotten.

These past few years, in many quarters, there seems to have been far too much emphasis on building a list, rather than building a business.

If as a business, GDPR makes you consider what value you can provide so that the right potential clients will stay “on your list” and connected to your message in some way, that’s a very good thing. I know it’s made me ask a few big questions of my own offering… more of which over the coming days, when I’ll be “setting out my stall” for those on my newsletter list (which has been running since 1998!)

Oh, and by the way… and I’m not making light of this, just putting things in perspective…

It’s ironic that the new regulations come into play on 25th May.

You see, for me 25th May is always a poignant date.

On 25th May 1982, HMS Coventry was sunk in the Falklands Conflict… as a Navy man, and a “Coventry kid”, I remember it well.

As my mum would have said, worse things do happen at sea.