GDPR – Questions For Businesses

GDPR - questions for businesses hero image

Since our introductory GDPR blog post last year we’ve been busy attending conferences, talking to clients and educating our own team on the likely impact of the new regulations. Knowing how important GDPR is, we’ve also set up an internal task force so that as well as being prepared here, we can advise our clients on design and marketing changes they might need to make too.

Having done lots of research on the topic it’s obvious to see that there’s still very little clarity around the practicalities of abiding by GDPR.

GDPR - questions for businesses blog

There are lots of questions for businesses and organisations. Questions that they need to be asking themselves. We’ve selected four of them:

Why do we contact customers?

With the introduction of GDPR coming in, businesses may want to consider taking a step back and relooking at their current communications to customers. What number of messages are marketing-based? Which are service-led? Are these messages currently bundled?

Let’s use the example of a customer with broadband. Currently, the business providing their broadband can also contact that customer about broadband and their other offerings too. However, under new GDPR regulation, each organisation must “give granular options to consent separately to different types of processing wherever appropriate.” So, with our broadband example, that company shouldn’t be contacting you about anything else, like TV or phone packages for example, without being given explicit consent.

How did we obtain our customer data?

GDPR states that a business does not have to ‘repaper’ (reconsent) people if their data complies with GDPR regulations. However, if they obtained that data incorrectly (implied consent, for example) then they’re failing to comply with new regulation. For a large majority of organisations, it may be safer (and easier) to contact those people again to obtain a ‘clear, granular, active’ opt-in.

Who are we communicating with?

A lot of conversation around GDPR is about having ‘a single view’ of your customer data. At the moment, many businesses may have customer data stored in multiple locations and multiple systems. This could cause major headaches for businesses in the short-term, so we recommend sorting your customer data now. Being organized ahead of time will mean you reap the benefits long-term.

This is especially important for companies with multiple offerings and/or franchises. For example, you could be signed up to multiple branches of an optician brand. If you decide to opt-out of their marketing, as a customer, you probably want to be unsubscribed from the entire brand, not just that one store. This is an important factor which many companies will need to tackle before GDPR comes into play this year.

What data do we hold currently and how much of it will be affected?

Campaign magazine claims that circa 75% of UK marketing data will be obsolete by the time the new regulations are enforced in May. If it’s true that only 25% of this data will be viable, then does this affect what marketing businesses choose to do?

Working with smaller data lists should mean better quality and better-targeted communications, which can only be a positive for customers wanting to receive information from businesses they like. But will it affect other factors, such as regularity of communications, or a shift in where marketing budget is spent? For example, a shift towards paid social, digital display or even more budget given over to above the line material?

Our UX Designer, Will, is part of our internal taskforce. He’s been tasked to research GDPR and its implications on design and user experience. He’s mocked-up some examples of registration and data permissions which follow the rules of GDPR:

GDPR Website Registration ExampleGDPR Website Comms Mock Up

Clearly, GDPR is going to make a big impact on marketing in 2018. But, there is still a long way to go. We’re working hard to ready ourselves and our clients by constantly asking the four questions raised above. These are just some of the most important questions for businesses right now.

For our own marketing, we’ve been spending time cleansing our own data. Soon, we’ll be starting from scratch with an all-encompassing opt-in campaign to build a fresh and compliant database.

Stephanie Powell

January 10, 2018

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