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How marketers can get ready for GDPR?

European new regulations for data protection and privacy present both challenges and opportunities to marketers.

GDPR - ShareOn Marketing

When marketers were asked how GDPR will impact their work: around half of them do not have much of an understanding on how it will affect their marketing activities and certainly they don’t know how they can benefit from it.

So what is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? Simply, people in the European Union are very keen on their privacy. In 1995, the European Parliament adopted the Data Protection Directive that clearly states the protection of any individual’s data living within the EU – name, email, phone number, address, other personal data like bank statements or even criminal record. The GDPR was agreed in April 2016 in the EU parliament, and from May 25, 2018 will replace the outdated DPD. The GDPR expands to all personal data as computer IP address, social media profile information, mobile phone details, photos and more. Bottom line, any personal data of an EU citizen can be used only if he provides his agreement. Any company – irrespective from where it is based - sending marketing messages to prospects living within the EU countries without the data owner’s approval or opting in can be fined. The fine can be 4% of the annual global turnover of the company or 20 million Euro - as simple as that! If you keep the email addresses or other personal information of customers or prospects from EU countries that have not agreed to have this information kept, otherwise known simply as "double opt-in" , you cannot use it for marketing purposes. All this will affect also your CRM database and your Marketing Automation tool.

5 action items you need to do to be ready for GDPR

  1. Update your CEO and CTO about GDPR and make sure everybody in your company understands its meaning. If you want to learn in depth about the regulations, you can read here.

  2. Update privacy and policy of data collected on your website according to the new regulations and have it easily accessible. The best way would be to get advice from a legal expert, be it in your company or an outsourced adviser and have the privacy and policy text updated.

  3. Renew the way you collect personal data: Prepare all your forms on the website and landing pages to be GDPR compliant, so it has a clear opt-in check box and a link to privacy and policy. Even if someone opts-in from a form, a follow-up email should be sent to the new lead that states clearly in an unambiguous language your purpose with the data you received from him. This double opt-in is a must. If you use Hubspot, learn here how to prepare such double opt-in emails.

  4. From now on, for every marketing piece to be sent to customers or prospect, you need to add an option for opting-out or changing email preferences, as per the Right to Access and the Right to be Forgotten.

  5. In case your company deals with a large scale of data, you must nominate a Data Protection Officer (DPO), who will audit current processes to identify areas where privacy controls need to be strengthened and develop new policies for safekeeping customer personal data.

Marketers golden opportunities

Beyond the regulations that require marketers to act quickly and precisely, there are marketing opportunities as well. Now your databases can be segmented, old irrelevant contacts should be taken out, and from now on you will target only relevant audiences who want to hear about your products and services. The "double opt-in" requirement is a yearly duty, thus your database will be always fresh and updated. Your marketing efforts will focus on quality and not quantity, so at the end of the day, you efforts will bring real fruits.

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