GDPR is really about (quality) data - and why that’s a good thing

Mario Costa, head of technical client services, Emarsys

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) serves as an opportunity for you to re-evaluate and reconsider numerous aspects of your data and marketing processes. Not just because you must - but because you should.

Bad data practices have soiled customer expectations

GDPR brings accountability for data management and privacy into the 21st Century. The essence of the new law is two-fold: transparency in data collection, storage, use, and availability; and clarity in terms of what registrants/subscribers/contacts can expect in the form of our marketing communications.

The Regulation is truly meant to restore power to the consumer - power to control their data - and gives them the right to access it and dictate how processors and controllers use it. But where did we stumble? Where did we go wrong along the way that caused the new regulation in the first place?

The world has been full of bad data practices for a while. Marketers haven’t been 100% transparent in how data would be used. 

People download a whitepaper - we include them in a range of subsequent campaigns. 

People sign up for an event - we throw their email in our e-newsletter list. 

People download a mobile app - we send them sales messages across every possible social platform.

SMS and WhatsApp spam are becoming more and more prevalent. 

Automated voice agents for outbound calls are an unwanted nuisance and are on the rise.

The new law points to the need for more regulation to protect against bad actors. Fine-tuning data collection tactics will help brands focus on providing relevant brand experiences and driving value for the customer. Use it as an opportunity, not an inconvenience.

Use the GDPR as a blessing in disguise

At Emarsys, we’ve always worked with clients on raising standards in offline registrations, online account creation, email sign-ups, and SMS data capture with the goal of creating a clean, valuable, addressable customer database. Look at the GDPR as an opportunity to be more responsible with your customer data, not as an obstructive law.

Having subscribers consent to marketing communication means that they’re indicating that they want to hear from you. This has a number of benefits, including cleaner data and increased engagement. In turn, this will increase the amount of your emails that get delivered to the inbox. Think about this equation: 

Clean data + positive intent = increased engagement + improved inbox placement + better ROI.

If you handle the requirements for transparency correctly, you’ll increase the likelihood that subscribers will provide you with more information because they’ll have greater confidence in how your data will be used. This means that you can build a deeper and more accurate understanding of your subscribers, provide them with a better experience, and retain their advocacy for a longer period.

Furthermore, GDPR will impact the data that powers personalised, omni-channel experiences. The technology that delivers personalised experiences simply works better with the most complete data possible - more data is better and chunks of missing (or incorrect) data means less reliable personalisation. 

Final thoughts

Always explain, in detail, the reasons why you collect and store specific data, how you will use that data, and how you will provide value for the consumer by having their information.

GDPR puts the consumer first, not the brand. Ultimately, a GDPR-compliant business won’t have to worry about inadvertently duping subscribers. It will understand that compliance is an opportunity to become more efficient, more process-driven, and more in-line with consumers’ lawfully-protected data privacy rights. You’ll see deliverability rates increase, better engagement, heightened trust from your audience and much better brand reputation.

Please note that blogs are the sole view of the author and that they are not neccesarily the view of IQ ddg Ltd and should not be interpreted as advice. Please read our full disclaimer

Head of technical client services, Emarsys

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