Keeping Your Marketing GDPR Compliant
Marketing would be impossible without consumer data. How companies handle that data and the steps they take to ensure it remains secure can have a profound effect on marketing efforts and how customers perceive businesses. Any organization that handles consumer data in the European Union must now also comply with the General Data Protection Regulation. This will bring sweeping changes to how consumer data is collected, stored, and utilized.
GDPR Specifications and Requirements
GDPR is a set of data security regulations specifying how digital information about people living within the EU can be used. Any businesses that process personal data for clients within the EU are legally required to comply with GDPR. Marketers, in particular, will want to pay special attention to changes brought about by the new information security regulations.
GDPR compliance ensures that companies use their customer’s personal information in highly secure and codified ways. These companies will now need to ensure any customer data they collect is securely protected against unauthorized access and will also be required to disclose how they use customer data.
This includes disclosing how they are processing customer data and for what reason. Consumers protected under the GDPR may now use the information about how companies are utilizing their data to make more informed decisions regarding with whom they share their personal information.
Increased Security, Increased Trust
Companies in full GDPR compliance will likely enjoy more significant levels of consumer trust and confidence because these consumers will know that their data is protected securely. Businesses may also find it easier to convince people to share their data for similar reasons and enjoy greater marketing opportunities due to this increased trust.
One of the significant benefits of GDPR is that it limits companies from collecting or using information that is not needed for the provision of service. This means they are prohibited from collecting data beyond that which a customer uses to register for services. Under GDPR, any data breaches that expose customer information will be the legal responsibility of the companies that fail to keep the data secure.
Marketing and GDPR Compliance
Marketers using data protected under GDPR will face some changes in how they may collect and process consumer data. Data collection is limited to six legal processing bases. Companies may now only collect data relevant to consumer consent, contractual information, information pertinent to a legal obligation, public tasks, and data indicating legitimate interest, vital interest, or legitimate interest in marketing information.
For marketers to carry out the bulk of their business activities, they will first have to collect consumer data in a way that is compliant with GDPR. In most cases, consent or legitimate interest will be the basis under which this data is acquired, but different bases may apply depending on the specific situation.
Marketing and Explicit Consumer Consent
The change with perhaps the most pronounced effect on marketing activities pertains to explicit consumer consent regarding the use of personal data. Without this explicitly granted consent, any consumer data collected must not be used in conjunction with any marketing activities or strategies. It will only be legal to use data for which consumers have explicitly granted access permission.
Some exemptions allow companies to collect data without explicit consent, but they are stringently defined and limited in scope and scale. GDPR also mandates that any consent-seeking agreement or communication be clear, concise, and complete.
GDPR Impact on US-based Marketing
The GDPR contains many specifications regarding consumer data collection, storage, and use. Marketers and others doing business in the EU or with EU clients will want to familiarize themselves with GDPR requirements in their entirety to ensure compliance.
Of course, US-based marketers who conduct business in countries bound by GDPR requirements may have to make significant changes in their business practices to avoid illegal activity and subsequent liability. The GDPR is a general data privacy regulation that applies to every public and private organization that stores or utilizes the personal data of any EU resident for any reason.
This includes any US-based company that handles such data. The GDPR recognizes that some non-EU business entities conduct only limited or incidental business with EU citizens. Foreign companies must only comply with the GDPR if they are marketing directly to EU residents.
The GDPR covers many different aspects of data privacy rights for citizens of EU member nations. A careful and complete review should be undertaken by any business with an ongoing concern in any of the EU countries.
As a general guideline, the GDPR holds non-EU companies liable if they process the personal data of EU residents, and this data is handled in such a way that the rights and freedoms of the persons to whom the data pertains might be at risk. Special liability also applies to any non-EU entity that processes data in special categories, including information about a person’s race or ethnic background, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and health information.