GDPR. Yet more burdensome red-tape? Marketing opportunity? It’s up to you.Neil Connaughton
Don’t be afraid – marketing apocalypse is not upon us!
The doomsayers out there (and there’s plenty of them) are telling us GDPR is a bureaucratic nightmare. But we think it represents a great marketing opportunity for small and medium businesses, so we thought we’d shed some light on the changes to data protection coming down the line in May 2018.
GDPR – or General Data Protection Regulations to give it its proper name – is already written into the existing EU legal framework which governs companies trading in the EU (pre-Brexit), but the legislation isn’t enforceable until May 2018.
What’s it all about?
It’s an important change in the rules around how we collect and store data, including email addresses. But there are bigger considerations and stricter regulations around the rights of EU citizens about how we hold and use their personal you need to be aware of too.
Gaining consent is key…
We need to be focused on getting consent from our customers and prospects around holding and using their data. So, if you currently use website downloads / PDF case studies on your website this is a great opportunity to gain their consent!
We recommend using an opt-in method permitting you to stay in touch and follow-up in the future (you can no longer be vague). It’s always good practice to keep a record of new and existing customers who’ve opted in to continue to contact them after May 2018. The quick and easy way to do this is to simply pick up the phone and give them a call. Inform them that you’d like to get their permission to hold their data. And that you would like to continue to send them relevant information in the future (… permission-based marketing!).
There are increased responsibilities around record keeping. Prospects will have ‘the right to be forgotten’, and request to see what data you hold on them, while customers and prospects alike have the legal right to insist that you amend or update any personal data you hold on them at any time if they believe it’s inaccurate. The burden of proof lies with you, not them.
The scary(ish) bit
All previous data you’ve collected must be GDPR compliant too – you need proof of original opt-in. We think this gives you a great opportunity to re-engage with customers. Maybe you’ve got lapsed or dormant clients, so why not use GDPR as an opportunity to pick up the phone, and talk to them about how your company is being proactive and gearing up for the changes? Perhaps you can help them with it too.
Your company will look even more professional, and you can talk to them about your latest service and products too (once you’ve got their permission of course).
The good news
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) relies on customers and prospects reporting non-compliance. Overall, we think companies who get on the front foot and prepare for GDPR will benefit from having cleaner in-boxes and more engaged customers and prospects – if you reach out to them in the right way.
Straight from the horse’s mouth
Information Commissioner Elisabeth Denham clarified the issue in her blog on December 22nd, 2017:
“By now you should be putting key building blocks in place to ensure your organisation implements responsible data practices”.
PS: Need help cleaning up your database? Want to crack on, but lacking the time or resource to call everyone?
Not yet formulated a GDPR plan. Need one? Let’s talk.
PS Please feel free to connect on Linkedin.