GDPR Is Here! 3 Ways to Prepare as Marketers
As marketers, we speak an entirely different language filled with endless acronyms.
CTR. LTV. RPM. KPI. CPC. CPA. DSP. RON. CPL. CTA. RTB.
This list could go on longer than Celine Dion actually singing ‘My Heart Will Go On.’
But a recent addition to the bunch could be the most intimidating acronym yet (even more so than that musical picture I just painted for you) … GDPR.
Otherwise known as the General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR (in a nutshell) is Europe’s way of strengthening and unifying data protection for all individuals within the European Union. One of the biggest data protection movements we’ve seen yet.
While it’s technically protecting European citizens only (no matter where they are!), this should be a wake-up call for us all. Data with expiration dates is our new reality.
Gone are the days of attempting to win back churned customers after three years, three months, and seventeen days of no purchases. Or sending constant case studies to a lead that downloaded ONE white paper… ONE year ago.
As of May 25th, our GDPR alarms will officially go off. It’s HERE!
Overwhelming? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely. It’s time we formally and strictly protect our customers, their personal data, and quite frankly, ourselves.
Remember, once we clock out (if ever, amiright?), we’re customers too. Empathetically putting ourselves in our customer’s shoes, we don’t want companies retaining our personal data either. Especially after a long period without honest interactions.
That said, here are 3 ways to prepare for GDPR.
1. (Over)communicate and Be Transparent
Yes, over-communicate. Transparency is key here. GDPR gives us the freedom to each establish our own rules and timelines for data collection and storage, as long as they align with the regulations. Communicate that with your customers.
Not to toot our own horns, but we’ve always stayed strict on data, and provided full transparency and the ability to opt-out of our personalized recommendations.
We’ll be taking this a step further soon, so stay tuned. Just know, the little things count! Make it seamless (and make sure you’re putting enough resources behind this!) — anyone can request their personal data from you, at any time. The more accessible, the better.
2. Automate and Request Consent, Again and Again
There’s nothing like a good ol’ cleanup email. Takes chutzpah, and you may feel like you’re disintegrating your master list of all lists. But at least you know that the customers left are still engaged and interested in your brand and what you have to offer.
This isn’t a one-time data deletion. This is ongoing. Automation takes time, and there are always kinks to work out. Review how you are seeking, obtaining and recording consent, and make any necessary updates.
Don’t be afraid to automate daily/weekly/monthly cleanups — opt-in mailings once customers fit your GDPR danger zone.
The lovely “we haven’t heard from you in awhile…” message is always charming. But marketing-bait aside, it’ll ensure you’re only targeting and communicating with customers who want to be targeted to and communicated with.
3. Consider Going Global… Oh, and Take Deep Breaths
Again, while this is a Europe-based initiative, it affects companies all over the world. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world adopts this same type of regulation.
If you’ve already put in the effort to secure your data, making it easily accessible to customers, adding multiple forms of consent, etc… why not expand it beyond one region? Consider going global. Here’s why:
- You’ll be one step ahead since a global rollout is not only likely but fast-approaching.
- It’s easier to update all of your data all at once, versus restricting regionally.
- One big global sweep will ensure no customer slips through the regional cracks.
GDPR isn’t just for customers living in Europe — it includes all European citizens, no matter where they are. This becomes tedious to track overtime, if done regionally.
And yes, it’s overwhelming — that we know. But take deep, deep breaths. We’ll get through this, one re-consent email at a time.
Let’s Flip the Switch and Celebrate GDPR
GDPR = good. Keep that in mind when your elbows deep in automation and data cleanup.
Remember why we do what we do in the first place — to fulfill a need for our end customers. GDPR will help us achieve that, with the data walls taken down. End goal = happy customers.
Make sure to over-communicate and be transparent, automate and gain consent (again and again), and consider going global (while of course, taking deep breaths!).
**Disclaimer: This blog post does not contain legal advice pertaining to GDPR or other EU privacy laws. Instead, this provides marketing-specific tips and background information about GDPR, to help readers understand the bigger ‘protection’ picture.