GDPR: One Year Later, How Has It Changed How We Market?

Last week, ON24 ran its latest Insight50 session on how GDPR has made us better marketers – where we provide fellow Webinerds with 50 minutes of expert insight and answer the questions that are important to you.

Below is just a brief wrap up of insight from Hellen Beveridge at Data Oversight, Sean Donnelly at Econsultancy, James McLeod at Leadscale – and of course, you the viewers! If you didn’t manage to see it, watch it on-demand here.

Last year, at this time, GDPR was on everybody’s lips with companies wondering if their practices were compliant with these stricter regulations and marketers wondering what stricter data would mean to how they did their jobs.

It has now been a full year since GDPR came into force. What impact has it had on the way we do marketing? Below are a few insights from the webinar.

Have data regulations made us better marketers?

While more than half (58%) of webinar attendees said that GDPR has somewhat improved their organisation’s marketing performance and practices, another one-quarter (25%) say that there hasn’t been a change at all. Luckily, only 17% report that their marketing performance has suffered a decline since GDPR went into effect.

Although the jury is still out for James McLeod as to whether GDPR has made us better marketers, he does think it has made marketers more cautious. On the other hand, Hellen Beveridge, who consults on data protection practices, has a positive view of what stricter data has done for marketers.

“I actually think that data protection has made marketers clever and more thoughtful because they have to look at everything they do through the lens of lawfulness, fairness and transparency. So, I’m firmly on the side of yes, this has been a really good thing.”

Sean Donnelly has also seen indications that GDPR has had a positive effect on businesses in general:

“Of the companies that we surveyed (about 12,000), all those marketers that identify their companies as being mature with regards to customer centricity indicated that GDPR has been more of an opportunity for them than anything else.”

What Best Practices Can Marketers Put Into Place?

The majority (60%) of webinar attendees reported that one of the benefits to stricter data regulations has been a shift from quantity to quality. However, 43% also said that their lack of knowledge of how to market in a GDPR world has proven to be a challenge for them.

So, what practices can marketers put into place to ease this challenge? James shared several best practice tips:

“I think [when it comes to acquiring new data] number one is transparency. You need to know where your data is coming from and what it is. Number two is to maintain brand safety… Then be on the lookout for any of those fraudulent activities that unfortunately do mire the B2B landscape… Everyone is talking about compliance, but I think it’s also very important that we talk about accuracy when we’re talking about best practice.”

Hellen is in agreement with the importance of data accuracy and elaborates on the fact that part of what causes data inaccuracy is that marketers are asking for too much information at one time and the data is unstructured. To alleviate this problem, she strongly advises investing in a single customer view.

“If you have a single customer view, where all your marketing is going after one fact, as a living piece of data, and constantly adding more and more information to this single customer view, it’s accurate, and it’s alive, and it’s useful. Then, by default, it will become compliant.”

What Are Some Top Tips For Marketing With Stricter Data?

As a closing to the webinar, the panel was asked to give one top tip as a takeaway.

First off, Hellen advises that having a good relationship with your data protection officer (DPO) has its advantages:

“Do involve them at an early stage. A knowledgeable data protection officer will save you from the really boring bits. You don’t have to know about all the article compliance; we can do that. We can summarize it and make it look pretty. Remember that at the end of the day, what you want is fit data and not fat data and the DPO can make your data fit.”

While Sean agrees with Hellen’s advice, he also adds that knowing the language of data protection can be beneficial:

“Equip yourself with some of the vocabulary around the operational aspects of data. Because, if you can do that, then you can understand some of the different use cases and you will be better able to collaborate with your DPO.”

And lastly, James reiterated the importance of data accuracy:

“Make sure that all the data you’ve got coming into your business and your funnel through all of your different channels is accurate and usable.”

Hear more on our Insight50 session

The quotes above are just a small sample of what was discussed and answered on May’s Insight50 session. Make sure to register to watch on-demand and find out how stricter data can work in your favour.

Six Takeaways From the ON24’s Regulation Webinar That Will Ease Your Mind

GDPR went into effect on May 25. With significant penalties for non-compliance, and the fact that any organisation that communicates with people in the EU will have to comply, there was a lot of discussion in the run-up to the enforcement deadline. There continues to be a lot of discussions well after. Many companies are still struggling to comply with the regulations and have questions about various aspects of compliance. What are the regulations? What do we do if our company is not ready for GDPR? Does GDPR affect other departments aside from marketing? How do we build campaigns that help gain compliance?

ON24’s Insight50 Ask About: Regulation webinar addresses these questions and more. Webinar panelists Abigail Dubiniecki, senior lawyer and specialist at My Inhouse Lawyer, Richard Preece, Director at DA Resilience and Zach Thornton, External Affairs Manager at the DMA shared their knowledge and expertise to answer questions and discuss the various aspects of GDPR and what it means to companies.

Here are just six key takeaways from the webinar, moderated by Andrew Warren-Payne from Market2Marketers.

Most attendees aren’t compliant but they are getting there

If your company is not 100% compliant with GDPR, you are not alone. Of the webinar attendees, 48% reported that ‘We are not fully compliant but are taking steps towards it’ when asked ‘Where is your company in terms of readiness for GDPR?’

On this note, one important question came from the audience: if your contacts have not opted in by the 25th May deadline, does it mean you can no longer contact them? According to Zach Thornton, if your company is already abiding by opt-in consent rules and you have a continual engagement or relationship with your customer, this implies continual consent making renewal of consent unnecessary. He believes that companies going through this re-consenting process are wasting resources and might needlessly be keeping in touch with contacts that are consenting to receive marketing.

Procrastinators don’t panic

If you are feeling a bit behind on GDPR compliance, don’t panic. Abigail Dubiniecki, from My Inhouse Lawyer, advises not to panic and to think before you act. She has a Five-Step Procrastinator’s Checklist that can help you towards compliance.

  1. Know the law

Get on the ICO website and familiarise yourself with the following guidelines and tools:

ICO Direct Marketing Guide

ICO Guide to the GDPR

ICO PECR Guide

ICO Lawful Basis Interactive Tool

  1. Know your data

Know what kind of data you have. This is important because, as Dubiniecki says, “You can’t do things properly if you don’t know what you have.”

  1. Know your legal justification and your purpose

Segment your database and identify what the legal justification is for having those contacts. You’ll want to know the following information about your contacts:

  • Provenance
  • Preference they have
  • Purpose you are allowed to market to them
  1. Trim the fat

This is where you want to use your metrics. Find out how much engagement you have had with your contacts. From that point, you can purge those contacts that do not engage.

  1. Go forth and market, but do it appropriately and maintain good practices

Establish workflows and make sure you have a record of processing activities. Most importantly, make sure you train those people involved in these workflows and processing activities.

Make privacy a positive

Many of the webinar participants polled (39%) are not sure whether GDPR would be good for business. However, the majority (54%) felt that GDPR would have a positive effect on business.

This positive outlook on GDPR’s on the state of business is refreshing and in line with the advice given by Zach Thornton. He suggests that companies make privacy a positive. Transparent, common-sense guidance allows companies to address customers’ concerns about their personal data and let customers know that they are in control of how your company uses their data. Privacy can now be a company’s unique selling point.

A good example of an organisation making privacy positive is the BBC, which uses a layered privacy approach. This method provides the most important information to the contact first at the top layer (for example, on a sign-up form); thereafter, each layer of additional information gets more detailed but still gives a clear explanation as to how that information will be used. This approach makes it easier to explain privacy information for the average person.

Email is thought to be the marketing channel most at risk but what about sales activities?

Not surprisingly, email is believed to be the marketing channel that has the greatest amount of risk in reference to GDPR. Webinars were seen as the lowest risk.

But while much talk has been on marketing practices and channels that will fall under the scrutiny of GDPR, what about sales activities?

As Zach Thornton explained, because GDPR applies to the processing of personal data that can be linked back to an individual, it does apply to sales activities such as cold calling, contacting prospects via social media such as LinkedIn as well as the use of email prospecting tools. It is important to note that GDPR also applies to human resources, IT and any other department that processes personal data.

If marketing is designed properly, compliance will happen

So how can marketers design their campaigns to gain compliance? According to Abigail Dubiniecki, the answer is to design marketing campaigns that establish a reason for engagement and encourages the development of relationships. If marketing efforts, such as webinars, are created around the idea that people don’t want to miss out and the excitement of being part of something interesting, people will sign up so they can be notified of upcoming events. If you deliver value, compliance will follow

Compliance is an ongoing endeavor

The last takeaway from the webinar is one to keep in mind—compliance does not end; it is an endeavor. As Richard Preece explained, compliance is an ongoing process. It requires you to challenge the way you do things, to understand the risk and have a clear system in place. This system will allow for continuous improvements and adapts over time to the needs of your business.

Want to know more?

If you want to know more, the ON24 Insight50 Ask About: Regulation is available now on-demand.