Global brands across the nation are gearing up for a major change to the data protection and privacy landscape as we know it. Set forth by the European Union, a new piece of legislation known as the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) will transform the way organizations collect and store data.
Coming into effect on May 25, the GDPR limits the amount of data that marketers can collect on European consumers. This will have a large impact on U.S. companies that operate on a global scale. Namely, marketers of these global brands will need to implement new processes and tools that prompt consumers to give explicit consent when sharing their information.
Although its parameters are extensive, the GDPR ultimately aims to protect the data privacy rights of consumers by holding organizations to higher standards of transparency, security and accountability when it comes to the way they collect and store data.
Any companies that fail to comply with these regulations will face significant penalties of up to €20 million or 4% of their global annual revenue—whichever is greater. In order to ensure compliance, global organizations should take proactive steps over the coming months to align their marketing practices with this new regulation.
Below are five key ways that your marketing strategy will be impacted under the GDPR:
1. Lead Generation
Generating leads through inbound marketing campaigns will still be possible, but marketers must receive explicit consent from data subjects before collecting any of their personal information. This involves using simplified language to clearly outline what data is being collected and why, then providing a call to action—such as a checkbox—that prompts a user to give informed consent. Pre-checked boxes and automatic opt-ins are prohibited.
2. Database Management
Because a major goal of the GDPR is to hold data collectors to a higher standard of accountability, companies should expect to be monitored for compliance. This means marketers must keep thorough records that demonstrate the data they’ve collected is accurate and consensual. In addition, they should establish procedures for auditing and maintaining databases to ensure that any contacts without a documented opt-in are removed.
3. Consumer Profiling
Under the GDPR, marketers will be more restricted in what type of data they are allowed to collect—information that is unnecessary, sensitive or related to minors is off-limits. Therefore, the capability to build extremely detailed consumer profiles will scale back to protect the privacy rights of those individuals. At any time, consumers will have the right to revoke their consent and demand their data be deleted.
4. List-Buying & Cold Emailing
List-buying and cold emailing have been outdated and ineffective for a while. After all, no consumer enjoys being spammed. The GDPR will make it illegal for marketers to contact individuals without their consent, putting an end to these old-school tactics. However, this doesn’t mean businesses relying on email marketing for lead generation are doomed. Instead, they have an opportunity to build a better mailing list with an inbound marketing strategy. Rather than buying and/or using email lists, marketers can generate leads by providing valuable content in (consensual) exchange for individuals’ email addresses.
5. Media Pitching
The GDPR will also change the way marketers conduct media pitching. For the most part, media pitching is considered a legitimate interest for collecting data under the GDPR as long as it’s done in a proper, respectful manner. However, gone are the days where marketers can use the “spray and pray” method of securing media placements. Mass mailings will be strictly prohibited. Although the liability for consent will primarily lie with media databases like Cision and Vocus, marketers need to ensure they don’t abuse this data by sending a reporter irrelevant information. Instead, marketers should make sure their media lists are accurate and up to date, develop mutually beneficial relationships with the media, and tailor media pitches to each individual reporter.
The GDPR will inevitably transform the marketing industry as a whole—and, with its implementation only months away, global brands should take heed. It will force marketers to ditch tired, old-school tactics and rethink their approach to marketing.
Successful brands will use this as an opportunity to better cater to their consumers by putting more creative and thoughtful marketing practices into play. Initiating a transparent marketing strategy that adds value—not irritation—to consumers’ lives will ultimately gain the trust of consumers and drive more success for your business.