GDPR – A New Opportunity in the Digital Marketing Journey

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New EU data protection regulations – the GDPR – has caused turmoil in the marketing world. But does the upheaval compliance will cause hide new opportunities for data-driven marketers?…

GDPR: A New Data Standard

For those adrift on the swiftly-changing seas of data use in the digital marketing industry, it is safe to say that operations are rarely plain sailing. And the GDPR is yet another storm on the horizon for data-driven marketing…

No sooner had the wave of big data gathered momentum in marketing circles than it threatened to break on European shores, thanks to new EU legislation – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – announced last year. With merely 2 years to implement the technology and procedures needed for compliance, we are now fast approaching the midway mark. May 2018’s deadline is beginning to loom and, as such, the topic should be on every roadmap. EVERY roadmap, as this regulatory stance is sure to impact as a global standard, and not merely a regional inconvenience (so no, Brexit will not impact this).

Sure, two years is not a long time to shoehorn new legislation into established practices and new technology into increasingly-diverse infrastructures. And yes, the penalties for non-compliance – €20m or 4% of worldwide turnover (whichever stings more) – are worryingly large. But far from being yet another hurdle used by bureaucrats to slow innovation and progress, the changes can and should be used as a turning point for an industry that has become worryingly detached from its ultimate source of revenue – the individual customer.

ICO offers a simple 12-step guide to preparing for GDPR.

GDPR policy focusses on that individual, putting them back in control of their data, instead of detached from – and often freaked out by – the whole process. (As proof of the latter, just look to the current rise of ad-blockers; people feel harassed by the constant barrage of banners containing abandoned shopping carts or personalised content that now follow their digital presence, and have begun to act on this…).

“To ensure the continued growth and sustainability of the data-driven economy we need to, as an industry and society, find the right balance between privacy and commerce”

Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA

Data-Driven Marketing: Looking Forward to GDPR

GDPR has rightly identified transparency and control as the key to the EU’s data policies. Digital marketers and their clients – who must follow their lead – should use this as an opportunity to build the relationship with their customers and align their services with forthcoming innovation sure to spring from these changes.

To better understand how the marketing industry can benefit from GDPR, we have to first understand the areas of significant interest to marketers (and on which we will expand in future):

  1. Data Access – marketers must make it clear to customers how and with whom their data will be used and shared…
  2. Consent / Permissions – …and obtain their permission to do so.
  3. Data Portability – customers will have the right to transfer their own personal data between organisations.
  4. Right to be Forgotten – along with greater access and understanding comes greater control, and customers may now enforce the deletion of their personal data if they are not happy with its use.
  5. Data Protection by Design – companies will need to implement technologies with data security and protection – such as encryption – at the forefront.

As we approach the final year before the GDPR implementation deadline, we will take a more in-depth look at the implications of each area above for mobile and digital marketing, and how compliance can be beneficial and align to marketing goals. This series of articles will start at the beginning of the data journey, with Customer Permissions…

 

Resources:

ICO checklist for Marketers and Media Owners – https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/

EU Data Protection Press Release (a concise summary) – https://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-6321_en.htm

Posted by Ben McDermott

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