In the past few months, I’ve been very focussed on learning as much as possible about GDPR and how it will impact my business and the businesses I work with. Some marketers are viewing this new regulation as the monster that will cut their databases in half and force them to revert back to flyering campaigns to avoid penalties. I myself see this new regulation as a blessing that will force us as marketers to truly be customer driven in our campaigns, our promotion and in every aspect of our strategies. Welcome to the new world of marketing - it’s gonna be fun!
So what does this mean for us as marketers? No more email? No more AdWords? Shut down shop as we know it? Not exactly. Basically this is the very needed database audit we’ve all been waiting for and focuses on actually putting the customer first.
Having focussed most of my career on B2B marketing, my first thought when hearing about GDPR was “I’m sure it only applies to consumer marketing” - I couldn’t have been more wrong! Firstly, it’s important to know that it applies across the board so if you’re still not compliant, you’ve opened up your business to world of trouble, namely fines of up to €20 million or 4% of your annual turnover. But I think by this point, most marketers are very aware of the penalties.
Right, so what’s happened since the 25th? Aside from the influx of emails flooding inboxes with “updated privacy policies” and “changes to T&C’s”, not much else had made headlines until last week.
The First Breach
Dixon’s Carphone may be the first major breach under the GDPR by confirming it has experienced two data breaches involving 1.2 million personal data records. Dixon’s is set to receive a fine by the ICO after the breach left customer data exposed to hackers but with the new GDPR, the fines may be even higher than initially expected. With reported revenues of £10.5 billion in 2017, the fine according to GDPR could be as high as £420 million. It can also hugely impact share prices for any publicly traded companies.
The way this case unfolds will really set the tone for how companies handle the regulations moving forward and many will be watching closely.
The Next Steps
Where do we go from here as marketers? A lot of what unfolds with Dixon’s over the next few weeks will determine how companies approach data security and GDPR within their own company.
Now I’m no legal professional - but I am a marketing pro with a vested interest in keeping both my business (and the businesses I work with) #compliantaf. There are a few things you can do to make sure your company’s marketing strategy doesn’t suffer en route to compliance.
Take a step back and examine your data to look at the lists you can continue to market to under GDPR's 'legitimate interests’ requirement. It’s a lovely day for a data audit and you’ve now been given the gift of time since GDPR is fully in action and you’ll want to avoid hefty fines. This is a great opportunity to take a look at your pot of gold (aka your database) and understand that not everyone in there is a potential customer...unfortunately.
The Digital Marketing Association research shows that 62% of consumers are more willing to share their data if they have GDPR explained to them, and more than 85% want greater control and transparency regarding how their data is used and collected according to an article by ITPro. This means that there is an amazing opportunity to reconnect with customers and prospects by giving them insights into GDPR and the reason for this new regulation. By being straightforward, you build trust and position yourself as a thought leader to your audience.
Lastly, why not explore those channels that you’ve been wanting to but email stood in your way? It becomes very easy to put all of your eggs into one basket when you start seeing conversions. The tricky bit is diversifying your portfolio (yes, the same way you would with investing) so you can explore what works and perhaps find a new, profitable channel that lets you be creative. While GDPR seemed like the scary puppet from Saw at first, in reality it’s Dickie Fox from Jerry McGuire telling you “the key to this business is personal relationships”. I couldn’t have said it better than my man Dickie.