There has been a lot said about GDPR over the last few months, and I'm sure plenty more in the months to come. But for a minute I want to put all of the discussion of legislation, compliance, process and consent aside and talk briefly about why it's a good thing for marketers.
Whenever there is new legislation put in place - everyone's first response is - fear. Fear of not understanding, the impact, the compliance, the punishment, the change. But let's face facts, these laws are put in place just because many organisations don't believe in delivering quality experiences to their customers. GDPR has been designed to provide customers with better experiences and allow them to put more faith and trust in how we use their data. So whether it was CAN-SPAM or CASL, GDPR is solving a real problem and hopefully B2B marketers will embrace that opportunity.
If your business is spammy, interruptive, aggressive, then you might be in trouble. If your marketing is aligned to inbound - or at least its concepts, you'll continue to be relevant, helpful, transparent and the steps to compliance will be smaller. The effort will still be required, and that will always lead to a level of anxiety between now and May 25th, but if GDPR leads to be better customer experience, it'll deliver results and help your business grow.
I've tried to pull some thoughts together of what the business benefits are of complying with GDPR and how that impact your customer journey.
Increased Transparency of Data Collection and Processing
While the legal language is pretty cold, the 'right to access' and 'portability', meaning your contact can demand a copy of the information you hold on them in a standard format. Translated your contacts can ask what they've signed up for, and receive a quick accurate and easily understood answer to their question. In reality, that's pretty basic logic. Being a transparent business is essential in B2B markets, it breeds trust and allows organisations to build a real sustainable relationship that leads to sales.
If you're compliant with GDPR, you'll need to ensure your contacts have 'the right to be forgotten'. At any time your contact can request that you delete them from your systems and database. Having your process in place to do so will ensure you end up with a happy contact, deleting them will ensure that you're not wasting valuable time and effort trying the market to people and sell to people that have no interest in your products or services. In the meantime, you can be focusing more time energy and resource on marketing and sell to those customers and prospects that do want to hear from you.
I'll tell you what I want to receive
Now imagine a world where every person you could market to or sell to - tells you exactly what route will be most useful for them. Well, that's the post GDPR world. You don't have to send anything to contacts that don't want to hear from you. You don't waste time and money sending things that won't get read, but you do get access to the ones that do want your marketing. The result reduced unsubscribes and better deliverability.
You need a lawful reason for processing data; this is the piece that probably has the most significant impact. Meaning, you need a statutory basis to use your contacts data. That reason could be their consent or legitimate interest. Both of which you need to be able to demonstrate. If you're purchasing a list, GDPR essentials mean you can't. That will have a considerable impact on B2B marketers everywhere. But, its great news for everyone. Think about the ramifications. Would you rather market to a list of email address that has been scraped from sources across the internet, of business contacts who've never heard of your business, or would you instead invest in engaging with the contact that has a genuine interest in your products? We know which side of the fence we sit on.
GDPR has ramifications for everyone. Our own business included. GDPR compliance is a painful process to go through. But as you figure out the implications, processes and changes, you need to make, the world of marketing post-May 25th, 2018 will be a much better, more effective and efficient place providing better experiences and increased transparency to customers everywhere and happy customer spend more money.