The GDPR has plenty of implications for various departments across the organisation including IT, legal, sales, and product management. Of these, the larger concern of compliance lies with the marketing function. This is because businesses are heavily dependent on marketing to bring leads in. Marketers rely on data and personalisation to track and nurture qualified leads. Given that the European Union’s aim for adopting the GDPR was to empower individuals to control use of their personal data, the regulation, along with the e-Privacy Directive significantly impact the way marketers can use personal data for any kind of promotional communication.
Some common concerns are :
- Previous ‘opt-out’ approach needs to be replaced with the ‘opt-in’ approach
- Organisations need to be more transparent about the use of data
- Mechanisms to protect the rights of data subjects needs to be put in place, and allow the data subjects to use the service even if they withhold consent for data processing
- Appointment of a data protection officer is required to make sure the organisation is GDPR compliant
Before the GDPR goes into effect, businesses need to ensure that their contracts and databases are up to date. As companies will not be able to use pre-checked consent boxes anymore, they should ascertain that there are mechanisms to check if any customer has opted out of marketing communication. Therefore, there is a pressing need to maintain data quality while getting leads. This may result in significant reduction in the amount of data available to process or analyse.
As we rapidly approach the May 25 deadline for global compliance, organizations must essentially rethink their outbound strategies. Failing to comply with the GDPR could result in fines up to €20 million or 4% of their global annual revenue, whichever is greater.
So what can your business do to sharpen your marketing strategy for a challenging road ahead?
For starters organisations may consider the following steps:
- Seize the opportunity without being scared. The GDPR will require businesses to provide users with ability to control use of their personal data. Marketers can view this as an opportunity to prioritize cleaning up of email lists across various platforms. Strategically, it’ll help segment users and make sure they receive relevant content.
- Be transparent, be flexible. Businesses should try to build platforms where users can easily access their own data and revoke consent for its use if they wish to. Essentially, flexible mechanisms that enable users to choose the information they would like to receive will help businesses effectively engage with prospects.
- Strategic and personalized efforts. In order to gain explicit view of customers’ behaviour and needs, marketing efforts can now become more strategic and personalized. This will help build long-lasting relationships with customers as they will now be provided with relevant information only.
Compliance efforts can seem a bit overwhelming for businesses at the moment. However, this regulation is likely to drive organizations to become better corporate entities, better at technology, and better marketers.
Changing the marketing plot can take a while, but here are some best practices your team can start following immediately:
- Less is more. Identify information you really need to have an initial conversation with the customer. In most cases, users refrain from filling up forms which have a high number of input fields.
- Maintain data hygiene. Make sure that ‘opt-outs’ or the unsubscribe options are updated across all platforms used for outbound communication. The GDPR also mandates this practice to make sure that data preferences of users are updated, and this will help streamline data across several tools that marketers use.
- Protect customers’ rights by asking for consent. Run ‘opt-in’ campaigns to collect as much consent as possible from the known contacts before the deadline. This shall allow you to continue to communicate with prospects with whom you have existing relationships.
Winning moves also include embracing social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to capture, nurture, educate leads, and re-engage prospects. Strategically, there is a pressing need to align sales and marketing initiatives. Organizations which use marketing initiatives to add considerable value by generating inbound leads shall also benefit greatly. The ability to engage efficiently with the customer is where the social media platforms will play a major role.
GDPR compliance will bring transparency, which helps to build trust amongst your audience and enable targeted marketing initiatives that would result in higher engagement with prospects and happy customers.
For more on how Freshdesk helps you meet the obligations put forth by the GDPR, read Product FAQs (GDPR) – Freshdesk.