Why new data laws could be a marketing opportunity

GDPR represents an opportunity and that you can use the new regulations to re-establish trust with your consumers – if you put processes in place that enable you to communicate effectively and gain your customers’ consent. In this article for Marketing Donut, Keith Dewar explores how to rebuild or strengthen trust.


Why new data laws could be a marketing opportunity

In May 2018 the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. It will apply to anyone that holds data on EU citizens – so it will affect many UK firms, regardless of Brexit. But no matter what happens between the UK and the EU in the coming months and years, this legislation is relevant for anyone that wants to stay competitive in the digital economy.

GDPR is onerous but it’s not all bad news. In fact it presents an opportunity to transform your relationship with your customers and supporters. It just calls for a new approach and a new way of thinking.

Re-establishing trust

Consumers know that some businesses haven’t looked after their personal data; and this has led to a decline in trust that damages brand reputation. Once that trust has gone, customers won’t be loyal and they certainly won’t be receptive to marketing.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s report Whose Data Is It Anyway? reveals that 57% of consumers don’t trust brands to use their data responsibly. What’s concerning is that 41% of marketers also admit to not fully understanding the laws and best practice around using consumers’ personal data.

With GDPR, the regulation around data will be tougher and the risk for non-compliance higher, resulting in potential fines of up to 4% of annual turnover. But I believe this new legislation represents an opportunity and that you can use the new regulations to re-establish trust with your consumers – if you put processes in place that enable you to communicate effectively and gain your customers’ consent.

Gaining consent

With GDPR you need explicit consent to use an individual’s data. Customers can also ask you exactly what information you hold, who it is shared with and the purpose it has been used for. Most organisations simply don’t have these systems in place at the moment.

The opportunity comes because firms will be able to transition from a simple yes/no option when asking customers about data to providing them with a range of options so that they can find out what their customers are interested in. Through consent you can gain insight into each individual’s interests and confidently provide them with information that they want to receive.

Right to be forgotten

Under GDPR, every individual has what’s called the “right to be forgotten”. If requested, your business will need to remove all data you hold on that specific individual, across the whole organisation. If data is kept in different places for different purposes this can cause issues. Research from Symantec shows that 90% of businesses believe it’s too hard to delete customer data and only 40% have systems in place that would allow them to do so. By having a single platform that hosts all consents, you can ensure you’re compliant. Plus, you can give your customers the opportunity to switch consents on and off, for different purposes.

Transparency

It’s all about being transparent. If you can demonstrate that an individual’s data is being treated with respect, held securely, and if you can show you have their interests at heart, then you’re on the way to strengthening trust and engagement with your customers – a relationship that pays real dividends.