What is GDPR?
In under a year, the EU (European Union) will be rolling out the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and having done cursory research we can tell you that most companies aren’t anywhere near ready for the implications it holds for marketing, and GDPR’s reach even beyond marketing.
The site describes the law thus: “The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”To read it in its entirety/for clarity the regulation can be found below this post.
The thing is, it impacts marketers most clearly and the harshest, which is why taking the time to make your plan now is crucial because it can easily take over a year, not under – which is the time which is left now, to formulate a killer strategy to work around this.
What If My Clients and I Aren’t Part of the EU?
Your location isn’t nearly as important as that of your clients. If your clients are part of the EU, then regardless where you call home, you’ll need to fall in line or risk noncompliance and the resulting fallout.
More importantly though, regardless where your clients live – practicing and readying for GDPR globally can’t hurt you because it’s a better way to market, even though it means a bit more work on the part of the marketers.
Certainly if your business is online-based, you’ll want to adhere to this because your clients can and will come from anywhere in the world, and ignoring GDPR is a great way to close your doors forever.
Think of GDPR as the hinge to the door of opportunity. Play it right and those hinges will keep the door wide open for you, but try to use old tactics and find those hinges holding fast, the door slammed shut.
Consent, the Single Biggest Part of GDPR
Getting and giving consent is more important than ever. People are tired of having their privacy abused and trampled upon. Think back to when door-to-door sales was the big thing.
Not too long thereafter, companies made fortunes by selling metal and wooden plaques to hang outside one’s door which said “No soliciting” or “No salespeople”. They don’t want you to come running into the privacy of their home, waving your paper in their face touting the latest and greatest thing out there that they cannot live without.
While it might seem to you, an affront as a marketer to be painted thus – getting an email in your home, or an SMS from someone you don’t know, and didn’t sign up with, is an invasion of privacy and considered the height of rudeness.
Consent matters. Without it you look bad, and turn business away, and any word of mouth you get won’t be great. With it, people trust you, they want what you’re selling, or telling them, and word of mouth will gain you many more happy customers just like them.
Email and SMS Work Still?
Email and SMS marketing work because people opt in to get the information you’re giving them, or they have a genuine interest in your product, or even yourself!
Conversions happen through SMS and email because they trust you, and trust what you’re selling. The people who manage to buy off a “cold list” are extremely few and far between and in the realm of statistics, they’re called outliers and aren’t even used to tabulate results.
Trying to base any marketing strategy off a cold list, with people who don’t know you, who at best will ignore you, is foolish and bad business.
GDPR seeks to eliminate shady marketing practices, and though it sounds like the end of the world for marketers at face value, there is a lot of good within it. SMS and emails can be sent to people who actually want to hear from you, whose trust is growing and who are loyal to you.
Tracking & Demographics
GDPR stands to change a lot more than SMS and email marketing by redefining and prohibiting certain tactics. Where marketers used to be able to track online behavior anonymously, or even without knowledge by the customer at all – completely without consent, GDPR stamps out.
If a marketer wants to know demographic data or behavior, or even the users location, they need to get consent. Consent is the big word thrown around where GDPR is concerned.
If you want your customers, you’ll be earning them, by earning their trust and gaining their approval FIRST. This also means the customer can retract that consent at any time as well, which keeps marketers honest, and treating their customers like the valued community they are.
Tech & Compliance
Many big companies, and certainly the ones who are shouting the loudest about GDPR are the very ones using snake oil tactics in one way or another, who aren’t happy that they have to get permission, and actually tailor their communications for specific groups of people instead of sending out one big generic “blast”.
Big corporations are looking at GDPR mostly as a technology and compliance issue, when the reality touches so many other industries including our own. It’s time to embrace these changes, and to see this as being as important and impactful as it truly is.