You have probably heard the term circulating for a while, but like many of us just ignored it and put your head in the sand.

With GDPR in place, organisations will only be allowed to send emails to people who’ve opted in to receive them. This sounds pretty state-the-obvious- surely everyone-does-this-already. However many companies will find that their data, and the way in which they collect data is suddenly non compliant. This is because the regulation starts to address what consensual opt in really means.

Organisations will need to collect contact consent that is specific and unambiguous; no more implied opt-ins and pre-ticked consent boxes, or the surprisingly common ‘click here if you wish to wish to not be contacted by us and a hundred other affiliated parties.’ Opt-in will need to be freely given and also recorded.

Not only is the opt-in process coming under scrutiny but also record keeping and the ability to report is essential. To be compliant you need to be able to prove how and when opt-in consent was provided and this needs to be date stamped in the database for each contact record. If an individual gets in touch with you and asks where and how you got their data, you need to be able to prove to them when and how they opted in.

Another important aspect of GDPR is that there will be a need to provide adequate information on why the data is being collected, how it is being used and, in some cases, who might have access to it.

The crux comes with the fact that the new regulation will not only apply to all data moving forward but also all previous data that an organisation holds. Marketers have no choice but to think about GDPR implications if they wish to carry on sending emails to their databases… or face higher-than-ever penalties including fines of up to €20 Million or 4% of a brands total annual turnover (whichever is higher).

GDPR is good for you and good for business

The new regulation is set to make substantial changes that are beneficial.

On a personal level, GDPR will give you much more data protection. It is bringing into effect important rules such as easier access to information and the right to be forgotten. The current EU legislation on data protection was introduced in 1995. If anyone can remember this far back, it was a time where many of todays online services and therefore data challenges didn’t exist. It is arguably overdue and creates a robust set of rules to make sure data protection is effective in a digital age.

From a business perspective, the changes are undoubtedly going to improve the engagement levels and quality of your data. It is providing the opportunity to get a better understanding of your database, improve the accuracy of your segmentation and ultimately gain better insights.

You also can’t underestimate the importance of added credibility and trust through these new levels of transparency. Changes to opt in processes are likely to temporarily slow down list growth, however it will ensure you are sending only to engaged subscribers and therefore should see better responses and ultimately waste less budget on high volume marketing.

We can help you

May is fast approaching, bringing these industry wide changes with it. It is time to Embrace GDPR. We can help with ensuring you have the right sign up processes in place. We can help with getting your databases organised. We can help you with engaging email campaigns focused on getting re-permissions from your current database. Or perhaps we can help by calmly telling you that it will all be ok.

Either way, get in touch with us and drop Steve an email