Whether you are in the marketing space or not, there’s no doubt you are aware of the frequency in which our personal data is collected and stored for marketing opportunities. Our “digital footprint” leaves a mark in all the places we have visited whilst browsing the web – valuable pieces of information that are vital when it comes to re-marketing to a client base. However, there is always a downside to such freedom of information, and for data that is misuse.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), was brought in as a new law to regulate and protect the way in which personal data is gathered and stored for marketing purposes and will come in to effect on 25th May 2018. Marketers need to be aware of the guidelines set out in the new policy, making sure that the data they capture and store is fully compliant. In this blog, we’ll take a look at how you can prepare for the upcoming GDPR and avoid any nasty surprise.
Who is affected?
As a general rule, if your company has customers that hand over any personal information, then collectively everyone is affected. However, it’s the marketing department that will see the biggest impact.
Attaining customer email addresses is the starting point of filling the sales funnel, meaning email marketing managers are going to be hugely impacted. Promoting some form of gated content in exchange for an email address is absolutely fine, as long as it is made clear to the recipient that they have “opted-in” for this information of their own accord. However, companies who rely on “scraping” their lists from websites or buying lists in will find themselves in breach of this regulation if they continue to do so.
In terms of automation, the same rules apply. If you’ve been building a CRM database full of email recipients that have not expressed permission for you to be contacting them, then you could find yourself on the receiving end of a hefty fine.
How can you prepare?
Although the GDPR does sound intimidating, there is no reason why we cannot plan ahead and look for opportunities in the way we all do business.
- Gain consent and cleanse your data
This is actually a perfect opportunity to find out more about your customers/client base and what they are interested in receiving from you. Gathering this information from your current database provides you with the opportunity to cleanse data and become fully compliant, and to potentially increase sales conversions by sending out personalised, tailored content.
- Be completely transparent
Trust should never be underestimated when it comes to building relationships between consumers and brands. The more you can be upfront and honest about what you plan to do with an individual’s data, the better. The large majority of online users note the security of their personal data as their biggest concern – so companies need to not only be transparent about the use of a person’s data but also reassure them that it is being treated with the utmost respect.
- The “right to be forgotten”
Within the GDPR is the right of every individual to be “forgotten”. This simply means that if a customer or client chooses to they can request that you wipe all the information that you hold on them within your database. Which for most companies may be no problem at all, but if you hold this information on multiple systems, then you could find this becomes a bit tricky.
Again, much like gaining consent and cleansing, this can provide an opportunity to move all the information into one CRM system, allowing customers to simply turn off and on consent for different purposes. This becomes valuable customer insight on preferences and helps personalise future marketing campaigns.
Although the regulation is due to come into effect the middle of 2018, this does not mean that you shouldn’t start putting plans into action right now.
- First off, review the way you or your organisation is collecting data – if you are still buying lists in the dozens this needs to stop.
- Secondly, start your mailing list audit as soon as possible by removing those who have not opted-in and making aware to new subscribers that they must opt-in to receive content from you.
- Lastly, look to utilise personalisation by creating a content marketing strategy for your organisation, if you do not already have one.
Let us know your thoughts on the upcoming GDPR and how you’re staying compliant. Furthermore, If you need any help on personalising your content marketing strategy then contact us today.
NB – Find out how GDPR will affect your business by attending our FREE event, book your seat today!