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GDPR compliance in marketing

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an opportunity for marketers to avoid one-size-fits-all marketing and create more personalised material which match the interests of your audiences.

People are increasingly concerned with where their personal data is going and how it is being used – data has become the world’s most valuable resource, according to The Economist.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an opportunity for marketers to avoid one-size-fits-all marketing and create more personalised material which match the interests of your audiences.

Email marketing managers, marketing automation specialists and public relations executives have an important responsibility, not only to customers but to their marketing teams. Both you and your marketing team must understand the rules and adhere to them, as it can be easy to slip up.

The cost of GDPR non-compliance is high. A business can be fined up to €10 million or 2% of its annual turnover – or even up to €20 million or 4% of its annual turnover for very serious breaches, depending on which amount is higher.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has already fined large brands small fortunes for breaching this legislation – usually because they sent emails to people who had unsubscribed from their mailing lists.

There are several ways to remain GDPR complaint:

Clarity – overcomplicated terminology leads people to unsubscribe once they realise they gave consent to emails. Your privacy statement should be informative and specific in as much detail as it takes to receive full consent. You could send a confirmation email once they have consented to explain what they have signed up for.

Consent – marketing teams need to remember to only ever send information to someone who has given explicit consent to receive it. It is imperative that companies offer the chance to their customers to opt in beforehand and to opt out afterwards if they change their mind. Pre-ticked boxes and cold emailing are no longer allowed.  

Right to be forgotten – it is imperative that anyone who has unsubscribed does not then receive another email from your company – they have withdrawn their consent. You must then delete all the information you have about them. All your databases should be updated, so you know who is engaged and still willing to receive your emails. If you have someone’s details but not the record of their consent, delete that information immediately.

Content – having a content strategy is an effective tool, as you can tailor material to your target audiences. You can create white papers, guides and eBooks which potential customers download in exchange for their contact details. This allows you to gauge the interests of the people you reach, helping you to effectively segment these groups.

Purpose – anyone in control of someone’s personal data must understand why they have it and what they will use it for. Any data you have, that you know you won’t use, should be deleted. If customers ask, you should explain what data you have on them – and if they request to have it deleted you must comply.

Push notifications – pop-ups and notifications can be used to invite prospects to your mailing list from specific pages on your website. You can also send them messages at any time without processing their personal data. It could benefit your company to try this, as they would be actively engaged and far less likely to unsubscribe.

Passivity – JD Wetherspoon made a bold move when it deleted its entire email marketing database. Instead, it offered customers a chance to engage on their own by promoting its website company news page. It is an interesting way to discover who is actually engaged.  

It will become easy to stay compliant once you implement these changes – if you haven’t already, you should be in the process of doing so.

The benefits of compliance far outweigh the effort. This investment into creating a more organised system for sending emails and keeping customer data will also benefit your overall marketing activities.

To find your next marketing and creative role or talented candidate, contact your nearest Reed Marketing & Creative office.

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