If your marketing organization is 100 percent GDPR compliant (and if you are, you’re in the minority) you may feel that your data compliance issues are behind you. Think again. The GDPR deadline may already be a waning memory, but global data privacy regulations are just getting started.
In July of 2018, California passed its own digital privacy law that mimics many of the same regulations present in GDPR, including rules empowering consumers to demand that marketers delete their personal data. Even though the law won’t go into effect until 2020, the implications for marketers could be enormous. Quite aside from the potential liability, the law will force marketers to know when they’re marketing to Californians, and adjust accordingly.
Data privacy laws are gaining momentum, and to pretend otherwise is to ignore the inevitable. Marketers can’t know what laws are coming down the legislative pike, but there are ways to be prepared, and to minimize the wholesale disruption and process upheaval many companies faced in May of 2018, when GDPR went into effect.
One argument says that marketers should be adopting GDPR standards across the board, to all contacts in their database, not just EU citizens, based on the belief that GDPR-like standards are coming, whether we like it or not. That would force companies to execute email marketing, for example, on an opt-in basis universally, rendering many marketing databases useless. (As marketers discovered this year, getting any significant percentage of opt-out contacts to opt-in is no small task.)
Not quite ready to wipe your database clean and start over? Me either. But there are steps you can take in the interim that are less onerous, and will still prepare your company better for privacy laws to come:
Ask for less data.
Asking for less information on a form will always increase conversions. And these days, with a wealth of real-time data append and enrichment solutions available, there’s even less reason to have 8 fields on your registration form, when just a name and valid email address will probably give you what you need. If you don’t have a use for the data, don’t ask for it.
Let people know what to expect.
It’s marketing common sense to let a reader know exactly what he or she is signing up for. And here’s another area where respecting the consumer and increasing conversions go hand-in-hand. Ask someone to “learn more” and the reader may not understand why he receives your e-newsletter the next month when he didn’t ask for it. Call to actions should always be clear, specific, and concrete. If people opt-in to receive specific information, they’re less likely to complain when they receive it.
Set up a subscription center.
By providing prospects, customers and subscribers the ability to choose the type and/or frequency of communication they receive, a subscription center (AKA subscriber management page or subscriber preference page) can reduce unsubscribe rates by providing the individual an alternative to simply opting out completely. It can also increase engagement rates and overall email performance by allowing you to segment campaigns based on areas of interest.
GDPR was in many ways the beginning of a new era in marketing. We may not like it, but we have no choice but to adapt, to change the way we market. Above all, marketers must build and maintain trust. Here’s Liz Miller, SVP of Marketing for the CMO Council:
“What marketing leaders have seized upon is the reality that trust is the currency of today’s data-driven customer engagement – without trust, the customer will walk away from an experience, taking their loyalty and their wallets with them.”
For more detailed information on complying with GDPR requirements, download our free GDPR Checklist (no registration required).