How Your Marketing Team Will be Affected by GDPR in May

gdpr-marketingThis is a part of our ongoing GDPR series. This specific article focuses on how GDPR will affect marketers when it goes into affect in May 2018.

We’re less than 100 days away from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becoming enforceable, and many marketers are currently discovering that their methods and strategies will be affected. Marketers have been increasingly relying on data and personalization to increase qualified leads and improve the buyer journey. So what does this have to do with the GDPR? In April of 2016, the European Union adopted the GDPR with the intent to empower individuals to take control of the use of their personal data. This new regulation will impact the way marketers gain access and consent to and use personal data for everything from email campaigns, to chatbots, and remarketing. The GDPR becomes enforceable May 25, 2018, and failure to comply with these new regulations could result in “fines of up to €20 million or 4% of their global annual revenue—whichever is greater”; it also depends on the violation. (Hubspot)

Simply put, the GDPR will require businesses to clearly state to users how their information will be used, gain consent to use their data, as well as provide easy access to users to update how their information is being used.

If this news to you and you’re feeling crunched on time, find comfort in the results from a 2017 survey from TrustArc, which reports 61% of US companies and 64% of UK companies surveyed had not begun implementation of their GDPR compliance programs. Also note that if your business is based outside of the EU, but it controls or processes the data of EU citizens, the GDPR will apply.

In our premier post in a new series about how the GDPR will affect marketers, we are going to outline how it affects specific areas of marketing and what you can do to get in compliance.

Think of This as an Opportunity—Not a Roadblock

First up: Don’t let the GDPR discourage you. These new regulations aren’t meant to scare marketers or provide a roadblock to capturing leads. Currently, marketers capture a lead’s personal data in a number of ways, like email and webinar sign-ups, forms to download a resource like a white paper or ebook, or to request a demo of a product or service. Where the GDPR will come in is to ensure there is consent for user data and provide users the ability to control what is done with that data.

Marketers might use personal information in a number of ways—to send product and company updates or for surveys, for example. The GDPR will require businesses to provide users or subscribers the ability to control how their data is used—or forgotten. These new regulations welcome the opportunity for marketers to prioritize scrubbing email lists across all platforms (ESPs, CRMs,) and more strategically segment subscribers—like with cleaner email lists, for example—so they are receiving information you know they want to consume—because they’ve specifically stated it.

GDPR Will Let Users Control How Their Data is Used

If a user signs up to receive updates about a product or service, under the GDPR the company must provide users the option to control what type of updates they receive. Take the following example from an article from SuperOffice (see graphic below.) Under the GDPR, businesses will be required to have users “easily access their data and remove consent for its use.” Twitter, for example, provides the option for users to remove their data from specific updates:

GDPR Will Help Marketing Efforts Become More Strategic and Personalized

With these new regulations on how data will be used, marketers have the opportunity to implement best practices that will result in a more strategic, personalized approach to their audience. This will drive a long-tail effect of building better customer relationships, as well as gaining a more accurate view of your customers’ behavior and needs.

Here are three easy best practices your marketing team can start today:

  1. Stop asking for too much information. Take a minute to think about what information you really need. Do you need a lead form that asks for their first and last name, email, address, company, title, company size, and favorite color? (OK, that last one was a stretch.) In all seriousness, the last four or five options listed aren’t really necessary in order for you to have an initial conversation or product/service demo. In a lot of cases, this actually prevents users from filling out the form all together.
  2. Stop buying lists. This is a frowned-upon tactic already, but with the new regulations it will be forbidden. This regulation will trickle into how marketers obtain users’ information, requiring them to be more creative and strategic with their marketing efforts.
  3. Data hygiene: This is something all marketers aspire to maintain, but the GDPR will make it a necessary practice. Marketers must make sure that their opt-outs/unsubscribes are updated across all platforms used for sending email and notifications. This ensures that users’ data preferences are updated across the board, helping to streamline data across marketers several tools.
  4. Consent: A business’ website can no longer have pre-ticked opt-in boxes. It must to be clear that somebody is giving you consent to use their data. See our article to learn more about clickwrap agreements and how to make sure their enforceable.

Register for our latest webinar, where we help you prep for GDPR in May.

The GDPR's weighing on much more than data mapping & consent tracking for organizations. For many enterprises and organizations of smaller sizes, Data Processing Agreements become a massive hurdle to achieving full GDPR compliance. Register below:

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