Top 5 GDPR ‘Hacks’ for Digital Marketing Professionals

What’s happening?

Data protection is changing. From May 25th, 2018 onwards the former EU Data Protection Directive will be obsolete and in its place, will be, the new General Data Protection Regulation. This new legislative framework will provide a whole new data protection landscape which will create compliance pressures for businesses and other organisations holding personal data. However, the GDPR also represents a new way of engaging with the public. GDPR will enshrine data protection as a de facto fundamental human right within the European Union – which means if you are based in the EU or not, but trade with EU citizens, you’ll have to be totally compliant.

As a marketer, “personal data” can be a goldmine of analytics that can help you target your marketing more efficiently. However, the new rules will impact greatly upon this endeavour. This article will explore how this will impact and provide some valuable ‘hacks’ aimed at helping SME marketers continue to reap the benefits from data-driven marketing, whilst remaining compliant in a changing data privacy world.

The Impact on Marketers

Clued-up Marketers are aware of the implications of GDPR on their trade – members of the Chartered Institute of Marketing will be even more so in-tune with current developments. However, being aware is only part of the solution. What is required is an understanding of impact. These new regulations will narrow the context of personal data, making it even more challenging to drive leads and communicate efficiently with customers – this is a fact! One that people need to be aware of ASAP. Change is coming and what is required is an understanding of the issue and, more importantly, ways of challenging these changes in a positive way.

Top ‘Hacks’ for Marketers

The Chartered Institute of Marketing has an intuitive statement regarding GDPR, “don’t panic, but act now.” So why not take a moment to evaluate some of these great ‘hacks’ that can help you save time, money and effort when navigating the pitfalls of GDPR compliance. Whether you are an Email Marketing Manager, Lead Generation Manager or a generic Marketing Manager, these ‘hacks’ can help you make your life a little easier:

1. Don’t put your head in the sand
Change is coming – you cannot keep your head in the sand any longer. First things first, act! Sit down and make a simple plan of action. Read up on the GDPR here. Understand the issues, the Information Commissioners Office has guidance for small businesses. Use these resources and make a simple plan of action today.

2. Find a GDPR professional; someone who can help you navigate the pitfalls
SME marketers can sometimes feel like a ‘jack of all trades’. However, this might just be the time to get some external support. There are training workshops available, consultants are plentiful – perhaps even recruiting a Data Protection Officer to help streamline the process. By recruiting talent, you can help your marketing endeavours remain compliant.

3. Find all processes within your business that could cause you compliance failure
You need to evaluate the entire marketing landscape utilised by your business – does your mail delivery service, hosting company or other digital service adhere to the GDPR regulations? You need to understand that third-party data capture on your behalf impacts your compliance. Furthermore, you need to re-evaluate your data privacy notices and train staff to understand what privacy means and how to manage data records/processes appropriately.

4. Write up an Information Governance Framework document

You need an Information Governance Framework. This will help you save time later on and help you get compliant sooner. There are free templates available. You should sit down with your leadership/team and outline a structurally significant and fully compliant information governance framework to help make your business GDPR compliant.

5. Audit your data – understand external pressures and internal threats today

Create a list – an audit so to speak – of the processes that could cause pressures relating to non-compliance going forward – by identifying ways of mitigating mishandling of data through heightened awareness of the structural deployment of information. This means that you map how information is distributed – the weakest link should be removed to help keep data safe. By visualising such threats/pressures, you can help create a more manageable GDPR experience within your workplace.

Gaining competitive edge

In conclusion, these activities can help marketing managers in a range of different roles understand the impact GDPR will have on businesses. Your customers will be expecting you to get in contact soon to establish the type and format of future marcoms. Don’t be put off entirely by this regulation. A well-managed outcome is that you come out with a stronger cleaner database (that wants to engage with you) and therefore all your marketing engagements improve.

Solid planning, insightful mapping and verification, along with better training and processes can give you the competitive edge. However, if you only take a single ‘takeaway’ from this article it should be this; GDPR is happening. Brexit isn’t stopping it. You need to plan, you need a strategy and you need to action for change.