How GDPR will affect your marketing strategy in 2018

Over the past few months you’re likely to have noticed increased coverage of something called GDPR. It’s a massive change to data protection regulation and the new law will be coming into effect in May 2018. What you might not be aware of is the implication that this change will have upon the way you market your business to your customers and to potential customers. We’ve broken it down below to give you some tips on how to get ready for GDPR.

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and it will be in force from May 2018. It’s an EU-wide agreement so will affect not only the UK but also most of Europe too. That means if you market to customers there you’ll still need to follow the strict rules laid out by GDPR. Importantly, as the UK has not yet exited the EU, GDPR will take effect and you will need to comply even if we then withdraw from the agreement when we exit the EU.

The aim of the new GDPR regulations is to simplify data protection rules and give back control to individuals over how their data is handled and by who.  However, the scope is so wide-ranging that, for businesses, there’s a lot to understand in order to ensure that you comply.

How will GDPR affect marketing?

The main rule to come under GDPR is that a person has to be asked, and give their explicit consent, for a business to hold their personal details. This means that just having a tick box on a form or assuming that it’s OK to hold onto someone’s details because they haven’t said it’s not is not enough – you’ll need them to have signed a form which clearly states it’s OK for you to have, and use, their information to contact them.

The second main aspect for marketers is the right to be forgotten. Recognising that so much of our personal data is now held by so many people, this rule means that individuals can make a request to a business for their details to be removed – and the business has to ensure this is done.

Finally, you’ll need to ensure that you have a clear system in place for how you store personal data with reasons given for why you hold someone’s information. For marketers, this might just mean you need to tidy up your mailing database or it might mean changing significantly the way in which you hold personal data.  

What are the implications if I don’t do this?

One of the reasons that GDPR is being spoken about so much is that the implications of not complying with these new rules are very strict. If you are found in breach of one of the GDPR rules then you could be fined as much as 20million Euros or 4% of your global annual turnover (whichever is higher).

While receiving a fine of this magnitude is unlikely for most businesses, you do need to ensure that you take some time now to make changes to the data you currently hold.

We think this is a great opportunity for all businesses to take a look at who they are targeting their marketing materials at and make sure that you are sending it out to relevant people. So often, businesses we work with find their mailing lists growing each year without actually going back and reviewing to see if you have correct details or if the person you are still targeting is relevant.

Getting started now

May 2018 will be here in no time, so you need to get started now in thinking about how you will adjust your systems to ensure you comply with GDPR.

Our top tips for getting started now are: 

  • Review your mailing list and customer database and remove anyone who is no longer relevant. Organise this information in a way which makes it clear why you hold these details.
  • Have a way to be able to share the personal data that you hold on an individual if they ask.
  • Design a new form to ensure that customers or prospects are clearly giving consent for you to keep and use their personal data. 

Knowing who are the right people to have on your mailing list to ensure your marketing material has the biggest impact can be a challenge. Here at Honest, we regularly help businesses to review their marketing approaches – and if you think that GDPR might be the right time for you to do just that, then give us a call today.

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