It has been a long time coming. Have you heard about the GDPR, AKA the General Data Protection Regulations? It is brand new legislation, and it enters into force in May 2018. Some say it is the biggest data law shake-up in two decades. If you get it wrong, you could face a massive fine. Not good. On the other hand, it represents a brilliant opportunity for any company that collects and uses consumer data. Here’s what you need to know.
Why do we need the GDPR?
The current Data Protection Act 1998 was set in stone just as the internet went mainstream. At the time it scared the pants of marketers because they feared it would restrict their collection and use of data. It did. That was the whole idea. However, it also presented brilliant marketing opportunities for those who did not object to doing things properly, treating consumers with respect and consideration.
GDPR will make sure that data processing is carried out legally and justly in today’s digital landscape, something that rarely happens right now. Organisations like Google take our data without permission, use it as they like and don’t pay for the privilege. The new laws are designed to force businesses to collect data for explicitly legitimate purposes, at the same time making certain the data is adequate, accurate, and only stored for as long as necessary. Sadly, it does not require organisations to pay us for the valuable data they mine. However, hey, it is a start.
What is the marketing impact of GDPR?
If you have never really bothered about getting opt-ins, opt-outs and consents for marketing comms like email campaigns and newsletters, now’s the time to prepare for the brave new world. Any data you collect from your customers must be ‘freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous’, articulated by a ‘clear affirmative action’. GDPR means that it is no good just assuming someone has consented because you have pre-ticked a box for them. They have to tick a box, a big difference. Prospects and customers must agree to you using their data and agree to be contacted by your business.
At the same time, consumers will enjoy a new legal right: the right to be forgotten. The GDPR gives people more control over the way their data is collected and used, including giving people a way to access and remove it if they want to, when there’s no legitimate reason to process it. The same rights apply if consumers withdraw their consent for data to use in the original terms they agreed, and when the data processes illegally.
The legal basis for personal processing data will also change, meaning you have to look at any data you hold in a specific way.
Is all this a bad thing?
Don’t panic, Mr Mannering! It may seem harsh at first pass, but in fact, the GDPR delivers loads of real marketing goodness. After all, it does not do you any good at all to collect and use data from people who object to your doing so. There’s no way you will improve your sales conversion that way. All you do is breed resentment and end up with a rubbish response and conversion rates.
The good news is borne out by the numbers. Apparently, 42% of B2B marketers say a lack of quality contact data is the single biggest barrier to lead generation. If you focus on the right target markets and communicate well with them, you are onto a clear marketing winner. After all, why waste your time and money talking to people who do not want to hear from you?
The practical side of GDPR and marketing
What do you need to do to make a marvellously tasty meal of your marketing efforts post-GDPR? Great inbound marketing is about providing engaging content, sharing your knowledge and being an expert in your sector. Rather than overt hard selling, you build real interest in your brand. Post-GDPR you will be able to add properly qualified warm contacts to your marketing database thanks to much better levels of active consent.
The new business acquisition will differ, too. You will probably need new lead generation tactics. However brilliant your content is, e-mail lead generation is going to be severely restricted, only applying to the people who have opted in. The GDPR will leave you in need of a fresh approach, harnessing things like digital advertising, old-school direct mail, telemarketing, and traditional off-the-page ads instead.
Last but not least, you will need to take great care about the way you manage your databases and the data you keep. GDPR makes collecting and keeping personal data for the sake of it a big no-no, so it seems wise to review your current data protocols earlier rather than later.
The pleasure of doing things properly
If you are a marketer, put your consumer head on and think things through. Do you like it when organisations use your data willy-nilly, without so much as a by your leave? Probably not. Would you prefer to give consent to the brands you like, trust and enjoy? Probably. In that respect, it is a no-brainer. We can help your response and conversion rates. That is what we at Mass Impressions call an exciting opportunity.
For the fine detail, see these links: