• Helen Pritchett

GDPR; The Aftermath and What it Means for Personalised Marketing

The world of marketing has irrevocably changed. New regulations on data protection and privacy now apply for all individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). The GDPR applies to all companies selling to and storing personal information and provides citizens of the EU and EEA with greater control over their personal data. Protection of personal data is paramount.

Although the legislation arose due to the requirement to keep B2C data protected, B2B data comes under the same jurisdiction. According to the directive, personal data is any information related to a person such as a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, updates on social networking websites, location details, medical information, or a computer IP address. There is no distinction between personal data about individuals in their private, public or work roles – the person is the person.

Anyone marketing using data has had to spring clean, brush up, make good and ensure compliancy. Failure to comply could result in fines and the penalties could be extreme. Fines could be as much as £20 million or 4% of annual turnover, a significant amount for any company to have to pay and a fine that could prove fatal.

If you use data as part of your digital marketing approach you should now be compliant. So, what are the key elements of GDPR that you should be aware of?

  • Data privacy is a right for all

  • People own their data

  • All identifying data must be securely stored and protected

  • There 6 lawful bases for processing data, the two most pertinent to B2B marketing are consent and legitimate interest

  • If using consent, businesses must obtain consent to collect and store data. The consent must be informed and given explicitly.

  • Consumers may withdraw their consent or request to delete or modify their stored data at any time

  • Regulatory breaches must be reported not matter how small

Whilst predominantly designed to address data privacy in the B2C arena, B2B marketers may also be affected. And next year’s ePrivacy regulations could throw yet another spanner into the works!

Are B2B organisations ready for GDPR?

SuperOffice recently stated that, under the new legislation,

  • 1 in 3 B2B marketers expect their lead conversion rates to drop

  • 40% of marketers believe their existing strategy will be significantly disrupted

  • More than half (51%) of all marketers anticipate that their mailing lists will get smaller

B2B marketers have spent years perfecting marketing strategies based on gathering as much data on prospects as possible in order to deliver personalised marketing that will make the difference. In this new world, everyone need to reassess how they go about things. Do you market under consent or legitimate interest? Have you ensured your status as data processor or data controller are beyond reproach? Is your data, or your data source, compliant? Can you continue to deliver targeted, personalised marketing under the new rules or is personalisation a thing of the past?

Can targeted marketing be effective if it isn’t personalised? How can marketing that is targeted not be personalised I hear you ask?! Well, Google is already doing this clever stuff with native advertising by targeting you with ads based on location and current viewed site content rather than any individually identifiable data. Is data mining now redundant? Could native advertising be the future?!

In conclusion, GDPR is here and there are 4 key tenets, ensure all are in hand and GDPR shouldn’t cause you any challenges:

1. Know your data

2. Manage your data

3. Protect your data

4. Document, audit and comply

It’s a Step Change, but Not a Bad One

We can all agree that GDPR is a significant benefit to human rights, but, unfortunately many businesses perceive it as a constraint. However, complying with GDPR and ensuring data privacy could give organisations a competitive edge, allowing them to increase the impact of personalization and the chance to improve ROI. This approach combined with improved brand trust could even encourage customers to share their personal data in return for better service.

At the heart of GDPR is sensible, responsible data usage. Protecting the consumer, particularly the most vulnerable, can only be positive for the marketing industry.

It’s time to stop viewing GDPR as a necessary evil and start to view it as an opportunity. Put all your data and data usage cards on the table. Think about the data you hold; consider its usage, flows and processes. Put your customers at the heart of what you do and define your rationale behind holding and using their data. GDPR will challenge you and your organisation but it can also empower you and your customer base to develop a more positive, open, and beneficial relationship.