If you’re not ready for GDPR yet, you’ve got just over three months left to prepare. The EU law arrives on May 25th and looks certain to transform the marketing landscape by introducing new rules on how businesses use personal data.
Our MD Michael Clark recently offered his take on how b2b marketers should approach GDPR for The Business, a new quarterly magazine published by Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. Read what he had to say below and check out the full first issue of the magazine here.
Don’t view GDPR as an obstacle – treat it as a great marketing opportunity
Unless you’ve been living on a remote island for the last six months, you’ll have heard about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). But are you ready to be compliant when the new rules arrive in May? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Approximately 40% of SMEs are yet to start planning for GDPR.
There’s still a bury-your-head-in-the-sand attitude among some business leaders. However, if you treat GDPR as an opportunity rather than a threat, you’ll be able to establish better, more valuable communication channels with customers and prospects.
First of all, let’s be clear about the key requirements. That database you use for marketing communications? If you aren’t compliant come May, you might as well throw it away. GDPR means you can only send marketing messages to individuals who have given you permission. Ignore this requirement and you could face a fine of up to 4% of your business’ turnover.
You need to start asking customers now whether they’re happy to opt in to continue receiving communications from you. You’ll also have to be specific about the information you plan to send – will it be offers/promotions, newsletters, event invites or all the above?
Customers will always be interested in information that helps them to do their job better, make more of their budget or understand emerging technologies. Therefore, your ‘opt-in’ request is really a chance to find out more about customers’ preferences and how you can help. You can then use this information to create highly relevant communications that are more likely to bear fruit.
If you’re worried about losing subscribers when they’re asked to opt in, why not sweeten the deal with an extra incentive? You could, for example, enter everyone who signs up into a prize draw to win the latest tech gadget.
Finally, don’t forget to appoint someone internally as your GDPR Data Compliance Officer. Give them the support they need to oversee compliance and treat GDPR as an opportunity to engage with people in a more relevant, less intrusive manner. A good thing, surely, in this age of over-communication?