GDPR for marketers

A Conclusive GDPR Checklist: What Marketers Need to Know

In this era of marketing, data is always at the core of everything, and data is available in plenty. Data is being collected at an incredibly fast pace. The websites you use, the phone calls you make, and the photos you take and upload leave a digital footprint.

All of this data can be used for targeted marketing practices. But, there have to be some measures put in place to prevent misuse of this personal data. This resulted in the need for GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which came into effect in 2018.

Since GDPR came into effect, it has changed the way businesses operating in the European Union (EU) handle personal data. Marketers need to work harder to access personal data and use it. The goal for data-driven marketers is to not just meet GDPR regulations, but also to exceed customers’ expectations and gain their valuable trust. Brands are now forced to take a well thought of and strategic approach while gathering and using personal data. Personalization, here, is key because customers are more than willing to share their personal data for relevant content that is tailored for them.

It puts the individual back in control of their personal data. This is huge! Because, companies that don’t comply with the GPR can face fines of up to €20 million or 4% of their global turnover, whichever is higher.

So, as a marketer, what can you do to stay away from breaching these regulations and make the most of them?

What is GDPR?

It is a law passed by the European Commission to protect the data of EU citizens from misuse, disclosure, and sale by data processors and controllers. GDPR standardizes a wide range of privacy legislation to protect users in all member states.

This means brands are now forced to build privacy settings into their online products and websites. They have to regularly conduct assessments and fortify the way they seek permission to use personal data.

Why businesses should care about GDPR

GDPR is a regulation and not a directive. It is legally binding and cannot be ignored or opted out of. Failing to comply with GDPR can result in fines of up to €20 million or 4% of your global turnover.

It is a worldwide regulation because it applies to any company that stores or processes information of EU residents. Effectively, any company that operates in the European Union must be wary and build privacy and protection settings into all their websites and other digital practices.

The biggest GDPR fines so far

The biggest GDPR fines so far


Since its launch, GDPR has resulted in hundreds of millions of euros worth of fines. Many of the offenses include companies not complying with the “right to be forgotten” law.

Google was fined €50m because they were found guilty of not seeking consent of its users to use their data for targeted advertising campaigns.

Tim – Telecom Italia was fined €27.8m because their prospects complained of unsolicited promotional calls. The violations were several and serious and customers claimed they were getting these calls without having given their consent.

Marriott International Hotels was fined £18.4m because a hack exposed personal data of 300 million customers including credit card information, passport numbers, and more.              

Morrisons Supermarket was fined £150,000 because they sent email communications to customers who previously opted out of receiving marketing emails.

GDPR compliance is critical. The examples above prove it and can act as warnings for brands and businesses to get it right.

How does GPPR affect marketers?

There are 3 major things that marketers need to worry about – data permission, data focus, and data access.

Data permission enforces managing content and email opt-ins. According to GDPR, subscribers must express consent followed by a clear and affirmative action.

Data focus justifies the process of how businesses collect personal data, and only collect personal data for specific, relevant, and legitimate purposes.

Data access ensures users must have easy and immediate access to their personal data, which includes the ability to correct or remove it.

Digital marketing strategies worldwide were affected after the implementation of GDPR, especially email marketing campaigns. They were forced to adapt to comply with GDPR.

What does GDPR mean for email marketing?

Email marketing campaigns is a marketing tool that was most affected by GDPR. Email marketing is still effective under GDPR. Here’s how staying compliant can actually help you target the right audience more effectively.

  • Before sending an email, you need to ensure that your contacts have provided explicit consent. This enforces a stricter subscription process. Your emails should also include a double opt-in and easy opt-out facility.
  • A double opt-in ensures that the recipient is interested in receiving your email and is in the market to make a purchase.
  • Reports suggest that email open rates and click-through rates have increased since the implementation of GDPR.

What can marketers do to comply with GDPR?

GDPR for marketers
What can marketers do?

Leverage Legitimate Interest

If you are a company selling software for HR professionals and you send an email about your software to HR managers to their business email addresses, it can be deemed as Legitimate Interest. It can be deduced that the recipient is interested in the software based on their current job role.

Review how you collect personal data

In each and every method that you use to collect personal information, be it contact forms, login pages, or apps, consent must be explicit. In every medium, you should only ask for relevant information and provide simple options to opt-out.

Audit your marketing databases

A recent study by W8 data suggested that up to 75% of marketing databases have become outdated since GDPR was implemented and only 25% of existing customer data is GDPR compliant. You need to audit your databases regularly to make sure those who have opted-out are removed from the list and do not receive any marketing emails from you.

Educate sales and marketing teams about compliance

Provide your sales and marketing teams with all the information they might need to evaluate and act upon your customers’ data-related requests. Mandatory training on data privacy and protection practices must be a part of your onboarding process for all new employees.

Review and update privacy statements across all digital platforms

You must clearly show how your data is collected, stored, processed, and used. Review your privacy statements to ensure GDPR compliance and use simple terminologies that let customers know what they are signing up for. If any of your website visitors file a complaint against you, the financial repercussions could be severe.

Centralize personal data collection in CRM

Make it easier for users to access their data, review how it is being used, and make necessary changes wherever needed. CRM storage systems are safer because they come with built-in end-to-end encryption coupled with password protection.

GDPR currently has far-reaching implications for marketers and it has forced many of them to review how they operate. If you as a marketer, are willing to embrace the principles of GDPR, not only will you play a major part in protecting the rights and personal data of your customers, you’ll also have a more willing and engaged audience. Now isn’t that much more valuable than any email list?

To know more about how we collect and process personal data to comply with GDPR, click here.

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