If your company collects customer information for any type of marketing, you probably already have rules in place regarding data privacy. That said, the laws surrounding customer data in Europe are about to change, which means your rules need to, as well.
What Is the GDPR?
Its goal is to standardize all of the different privacy laws in place across the European Union and combine them into a single set of regulations that will apply to every member state. This will make it easier for companies to understand how to remain compliant no matter where they’re doing business.
How Will the GDPR Change My Company’s Data Privacy Practices?
Simply put, your company will need to adapt to this new legislation. Fortunately, complying with these data privacy laws is fairly straightforward. While you can read the full text of the GDRP here, we’ve highlighted the three things you need to know right now.
1. Asking for Data Permission
If your company uses pre-ticked boxes to automatically opt-in leads that will need to change. The new rules make it very clear that parties must provide consent and that it must be, “freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous” through a “clear affirmative action.”
Up until this point, you’ve been able to assume that a prospect who fills out any type of webform on your site is fine receiving marketing emails from your company.
However, you now need to make it clear you’ll be sending these emails. The prospect must consent to this by checking a box or taking some other kind of action that proves they understand.
2. Providing Access to Customer Data
The “Right to Be Forgotten” is now law and the GDPR will give people more power over the information your company is allowed to store about them. They can access it or require that you remove it and your company is obliged to make this process as easy as possible.
For marketing emails, this means including a clear “unsubscribe now” button and a place where consumers can easily update their account preferences.
3. Justifying the Data You Collect
One of the reasons data privacy has become such a hot topic in recent years is because people worry about just how much information companies have about them. The GDPR is addressing this by requiring companies to only process data they’ve collected if they also have a legal justification for doing so.
As long as your company can directly link the data it collects to a specific business need, you will be in compliance.
How the GDPR Can Help Your Business
Although it’s vital your company takes the GDPR seriously, the changes shouldn’t be a tremendous burden if you’re aware of the laws and look to proactively comply. In fact, this legislation could actually go a long way in helping your marketing efforts.
For one thing, asking for explicit consent is a good way of ensuring you’re not filling your marketing funnel with leads who don’t actually have a lot of interest in what your company has to offer. Instead, keep your focus on customers who stand the highest likelihood of converting.
Of course, the public has been growing steadily more worried about the information companies have on them. If the GDPR is successful at inspiring confidence, customers should be more comfortable providing you with their data – especially because they know they can always ask you to delete it later.
While the GDPR marks a clear change in traditional data privacy laws, there’s plenty of reason to look for the silver lining in how to use this new regulation to your advantage.