What is GDPR?
The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU regulation that will be coming into effect as of 25th May 2018. As it is an EU regulation, and not a directive, it will be immediately enforceable by law as of this date, with hefty fines to be put in place for those companies who do not comply. Many companies, if not the vast majority, collect and store client and customer information in databases for marketing purposes. However, from May onwards, all companies that take personal data from EU citizens, including email addresses, will be required to adhere to GDPR. As marketing specialists, we at the Fabulous Group wanted to talk specifically about how GDPR rules will affect how companies carry out their email marketing.
How Will My Email Marketing Be Affected?
GDPR is set to affect many aspects of email marketing: namely how we seek, collect and record a subscriber’s consent to be contacted.
As of May, it will only be permitted to send emails to those subscribers who have actively opted in to receive correspondence from a particular company. It will now be required to collect affirmative consent that is “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous”.
In addition to this, the aforementioned opt-in process must provide subscribers with all the necessary information regarding the purpose of collecting their data, along with how this data will be used. For example, if a company intends to profile their subscribers’ data in order to determine what correspondence they receive, they must inform the customer of this intention and present them with sufficient opportunity to object.
Keeping Records of Consent
The burden of proof that sufficient consent has been given to receive correspondence will lie exclusively with the company in question. Consent forms must be collected and subsequently presented upon request.
How Will My Existing Database Be Affected?
Unfortunately, if a company’s existing database includes subscribers whose permissions were not collected in line with new GDPR standards, or subscribers for whom sufficient proof of consent cannot be provided, these subscribers will no longer be allowably contacted.
In light of this, it is likely that many companies will be required to run re-permissioning campaigns prior to the GDPR’s official introduction.
What Are the Penalties?
The penalties for violation of GDPR are, quite simply, very high. Any company in violation of the new privacy regulations may be subjected to fines of up to €20 million, or 4% of annual turnover. It is therefore in any company’s best interest to make sure that they are entirely compliant with the new regulations by 25thMay.
A Marketer’s Analysis
Whilst the changes to consent acquisition will, admittedly, slow down database growth in the short term, they should ultimately bring about a higher quality database in the long term, as companies will now be able to focus their email marketing efforts on subscribers who actually want to hear from them and thus have a higher chance of conversion. This, in theory, should make the company’s email marketing campaigns more efficient and ultimately increase the return on investment.
Seek Help from a Marketing Specialist
If your company is yet to ensure that its operations are GDPR compliant, and especially if the process of doing so seems daunting or you are worried about receiving fines, get in touch with the Fabulous Group. Our marketing specialists are able to provide you with a whole host of GDPR-related services, from an appraisal of your existing systems, to a personalised action plan, to conducting a full database overhaul on your behalf.
For a no-obligation chat about how we can help, please feel free to call the Fabulous Group on 0800 112 0880, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.