Unless you’ve been in a sleeping coma for the past year you must have heard about GDPR, and like most people you’re probably worried about it, but not really sure what to do. Should you get re-consent? What data are you allowed to hold? Will you go to prison!?
Mostly the answer is quite simple – most of the restrictions coming into effect have kinda been there all along, or at least for a while – if you’ve been diligent about your data already, like what we are.
But the May 25th deadline has given everyone a goal to panic about, and a reason to get their house in order. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here we look at some of the main points when it comes to content marketing and tell you why we welcome this development…
So what exactly is GDPR?
GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation; a new digital privacy regulation that will come into effect on the 25th May 2018. It’s a long-awaited and much-needed update to the current data protection laws that have not been changed since the year 2000.
If you think of that in technological advancement terms that’s a huge amount of time. Internet usage has increased exponentially, devices have been improved upon and the amount of data we are able to collate now would have seemed impossible back then. But we haven’t looked at ways to upgrade and safeguard the staggering levels of information we hold about people.
In a nutshell this new regulation will mean that businesses need to have a clear and easily traceable record of every individual’s agreement to share their data with them and for what purpose they have given this agreement for.
Furthermore, every person has the right to retract their consent at any given time and have their personal information permanently deleted, and data can only be held for as long as it’s being used.
Finally – there are much stricter rules about being an arse with people’s data and this can only be a good thing. A crammed inbox is a stressful experience, so it’ll be great to see a reduction in spam, if nothing else.
Lack of trust is a big issue
Consumers are not convinced that companies are doing enough to protect their data and privacy rights. A recent TrustArc consumer privacy study showed that 92% of online consumers cite data security and privacy as a concern. Furthermore, according to the Chartered Institute of Marketing 52% do not trust brands to use their data responsibly.
Perhaps even more worryingly than this is the study revealed that 41% of marketers admit to not fully understanding neither the law nor best practice around the use of consumers’ personal data. It seems evident that now more than ever a new, and clearer data protection law is needed to protect both consumers and businesses alike.
What will the GDPR mean for content marketing?
This regulation is effectively a clamp down on mass data collection; this is actually a good thing for content marketers (if they are good at their job of course!) as it paves the way for more relevant and high-quality content that will actively engage with a smaller, more interested audience.
Think of it this way.
Would you rather have one loyal customer who regularly purchased and always shared their great experience of your brand? Or would you prefer ten people walk past your shop everyday and never look in?
Would you rather have one loyal customer who came into your shop once a week, regularly purchased an item or two and always shared their great experience of your brand with their friends? Or would you prefer ten people walk past your shop everyday but never look in?
In addition to this, small businesses will now be on a more even keel with larger corporations who have previously relied on large amounts of data to interact with potential customers. The emphasis will shift from a numbers game to one more focused on creativity, innovation and uses of new technologies.
It is actually a very exciting time for businesses if you understand the new regulation and are prepared to adapt your marketing strategies accordingly. (Something we can help you with of course, ahem).
Are you ready for the change?
According to HubSpot, a mere 36% of marketers are aware of GDPR and 15% have done nothing at all to prepare for this huge change. Thankfully there is still time to prepare your business for this new regulation if you have not done so already. But you must act now.
DO THESE THINGS
Please note – this is not a definitive list but a very broad outline of points to consider if you’re engaged with any content marketing – whether you use an agency like ours or not.
If you rely heavily on email marketing, you need to be prepared for a shift in how you collate and build your mailing lists. All subscribers must now choose to ‘opt in’ to your mailing lists and you must provide the exact reason why your business wants their data and what it will be used for.
If you have not done so already, we strongly advise that you communicate with your existing subscribers and ensure that they know what’s going on. Everyone’s inbox is bulging at the moment with invitations to re-subscribe but you may not need to do this, depending on how diligently you built your list in the first place! However you communicate with your subscribers, make it clear, and make it legally accurate.
Keep it Simple
When explaining to potential customers what their data will be used for, make sure you keep the content simple. Transparency is vital; you do not want consumers to think you are hiding something between all the industry jargon and complex legislation.
If up until now you have used an Excel spreadsheet to store your client’s data, now is the time to upgrade. A CRM system is a much better option as your customers can access their own records, make amendments and feel more in charge of their own data.
For more ways to prepare your business for the GDPR or for any help with the above, get in touch with us – firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the new act and to register and stay legal, check out the ICO site.