GDPR (General Data Privacy Regulation) is going to be rolling into effect in May 2018. There isn’t much time left. In any line of marketing, this law is important to be aware of as it is being passed by the European Union and will affect people worldwide. Irrespective of whether you live in Europe or are not if you have clients or audience on monitoring in Europe, this law will apply to you. If in anyway an organization has European connections, this law is a must to be aware of. Companies need to start preparing for the same. But the question is, are they? Are marketing professionals and companies ready for the changes and in what manner? Let’s have a look at what is happening across the industry:
Consumers are welcoming the GDPR:
People today are more aware of their privacy and online presence than ever before. When people see data breaches in the news and feel their privacy violated, it is only natural that rules are passed by the governments to take care of such issues. Data security is a right of internet users. Any violation, of course, means the violation of human rights. Consumers want their data to be private and if being used or gathered, to be done so transparently. Around 91% of consumers expect companies to be completely transparent about their data accumulation and usage efforts. This leads to better privacy and a greater sense of freedom. If there is no transparency with such sensitive issues, then it is only natural that people will be uncomfortable sharing data.
European customers expect proper notifications and transparency regarding their data:
Because of other violation incidents, people are now more aware and hesitant to submit their data. This naturally makes marketers looking for leads to get consumer data. Despite complete transparency from the companies still, more than three quarters would not say that the companies are trustworthy.
If companies want the trust of their customers firstly they’re going to have to work a lot harder in the lead generation process. The customer sentiment isn’t like this for any single company but all companies. To regain this fallen trust, companies will have to be completely transparent and over time with efforts, these things would be a matter of the past again.
On the other hand of the scale, marketers don’t seem to be that well prepared for the GDPR:
Surveys reveal that less than half are even aware of such a law being passed. More importantly, no one understood the gravity of the situation that will soon be coming to them to face. Moreover, despite knowing about the GDPR, marketers are still not prepared or haven’t begun the efforts to change their practices in time. Even though companies are updating privacy policies and contracts as well as other marketing efforts, not all are aware of such changes.
Fear of losing customers is also one of the reasons that some companies aren’t comfortable following this. Naturally, as per the regulation companies will have to ask their customers to be subscribed to the company newsletters and other changes carefully. The ‘right to be forgotten’ part of the GDPR makes this essential and customers can now choose to be never contacted again or to say it better- to remove all trace from company records as required. The majority and at least 59% of people from the EU (European Union) would ask companies to remove their data.
Email marketing and calling practices are bound to be hit, but in what ways and for how long, no one knows. To make up for such losses, companies will have to boost their content marketing and other practices that don’t depend on customer permission.
Are you prepared for the GDPR?
Surveys revealed that at least 22% of the people didn’t start doing or preparing anything to brace the changes coming soon. Companies are gearing up and preparing themselves for the changes about to drop. Is that enough? Maybe. But to fully protect themselves against any violations, even ensuring the regulations are followed by vendors is a must.
Expected consequences of GDPR:
The GDPR includes several rules for customer privacy and the one that will affect companies the most is their right to be forgotten. To fully understand this right- customers will have the right to tell companies to completely wipe off their records and may even be required to submit proof of doing so. This means as any of the people aware of this will ask the company to remove their data from all email and other marketing lists. As mentioned earlier also, 59% of the Europeans would choose to take this route given the choice. So, this exists as a pretty big pitfall for marketing professionals. Companies are preparing new ways to collect customer data as email and calling and other ways will require a lot more effort.
Companies will focus more on content marketing and SEO:
The European consumer views the GDPR as a welcome change that will finally affect how companies treat their data. Having someone or themselves to be able to check up on such things will give a new breath of relief to the people. The general population is really happy about this change and marketers will have to adapt too. Companies can take it as part of their brand awareness. Transparency about consumer data is after all not such a bad thing and it should be customer first. The more a company retains its customers, the more they’re bound to become the elite customer and the greater the number of people they’ll rope in. As other means of marketing fall apart, for the time being, companies can look at the silver lining and work on improving their content marketing and SEO practices to rank better on search engines. If one thing is falling apart, you shouldn’t just give up all practices. Find ways that you can still be following all regulations of the GDPR and getting customer satisfaction as well as new customers.