The apocalypse is here! At least that’s what the advertisers and marketers feel about the implementation of GDPR. Well, they are not entirely wrong either. In May of the current year, the GDPR will start to implement.
Strict actions will be taken against cold calling, direct marketing, and user data sharing without consent. Companies will need GDPR consent for direct marketing before touching any customer’s data.
Why So Serious?
GDPR will bring changes to the collection, handling, storage of user data, and how the businesses could reach them. This affects the marketing efforts of companies in profound ways. GDPR has brought various changes that can transform the internet, and make it a completely different thing which we used to know:
- Businesses will need consent from the users for direct marketing. Now, GDPR specifies that the consent should be an ‘opt-in’ consent as against the ‘opt-out’ kind that is the standard in the marketing world.
- Users can withdraw their consent to receive marketing emails or updates anytime they want, and businesses should accede to their demands on priority, the latest by one month.
- When users ask businesses to delete their data, they have to remove all of it, including the backup copies.
- Businesses should get consent from the users to share their data with third-party players and should inform them of the purpose for which their data is being shared.
While the new regulations sound quite straightforward, they present an overwhelming set of challenges to businesses.
- GDPR can halt annoying cold calls in quite an effective way. Unless the user has explicitly given consent to receive cold calls, businesses cannot initiate an online or telephonic interaction with their audience. This dramatically brings down the size of bought-in lists that businesses acquire to expand their reach — Bye-Bye credit-card-offer-calls.
- The cost of new customer acquisition is high in every industry. Businesses make that kind of investment in the hope of converting their audience, upselling to them, and creating a long-term sustainable revenue. With GDPR in place, the existing customers can completely opt-out of receiving any upsell offers, thus bringing down the ROI that the business had made on their acquisition.
Under these circumstances, the businesses might rethink their customer acquisition strategy and perhaps, tone down their advertising and marketing efforts until the returns they receive are proportional to the investment they make on such activities.
That would be the wrong strategy!
The Silver Lining
The GDPR is a set of complex rules and challenges, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. GDPR consent for direct marketing provides terrific opportunities for agile businesses to rethink their marketing strategies. Especially direct marketing techniques, and create a meaningful differentiation between their competitors.
In other words, join what you cannot fight.
The GDPR is a logical response by the EU to the massive profiling, irresponsible data collection, manipulation, and transfer, and severe infringement of the citizen’s data by businesses. Therefore, there is no going back from it. Users will perceive any attempt by a business to fight it or even show the slightest resistance against its compliance with malicious intent on the part of the business. Businesses would be smart to go completely compliant with the EU GDPR and proactively take steps to deliver superior service to the users, while at it.
GDPR gives businesses one month to take action on user request to delete their data. Businesses should try and do it in 48 hours or less.
GDPR puts limitations on what the businesses can do with the user data. Businesses should offer users a self-service portal. Where they can save and change their preferences with regards to the usage of their data, solicitations, promotions, and so on.
A large number of businesses will not be GDPR compliant within the May 25 deadline. You should use it to your advantage. Showcase your ability to adapt to the regulation and offer users plenty of ways to take control of their data. They will naturally gravitate towards you, away from your competition.
Perhaps, as advertising is going to take a hit, hitherto free services can be introduced with paywalls. Users might be happy to pay a small fee when they know that they are not being profiled. And also their data is not being put to unauthorized use.