If you are in digital marketing or reside in the EU, you’ve most likely heard a lot of chatter around the GDPR recently. But what exactly is the GDPR, what do consumers think about it, and how will this affect marketing?
What is the GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of guidelines that regulate how personal information is collected and processed in the European Union (EU). Its aim is to protect the privacy of individuals in the EU by giving them control over their personal data. Companies found to be in violation of these regulations can face a fine of €22 million or 4% of global revenues (whichever is greater).
The GDPR became enforceable on May 25th this year and asserts that personal data can only be used if individuals give companies explicit consent to do so. However, it is important to note that this doesn’t only affect those living in the EU. For example, if you are travelling in the EU and use Uber, you have the ability to see and control how your data is being used while you are abroad.
How will the GDPR affect marketers and consumers alike? The GDPR implementation is still in the early stages, so it’s difficult to gauge how it will affect the marketing industry, but here’s what we have gathered so far.
What do consumers think about the GDPR?
The €22 million question brands have after the GDPR took effect is to what extent do consumers plan on exercising these rights? Despite the fact that many consumers are unaware of the extent to which their data is protected under the GDPR, many are eager to exercise the data subject rights that come with the regulation. According to Pega, 82% of consumers intend to take advantage of their rights to know what personal data organizations have collected, to see this data, and to restrict processing and/or to erase this data.
Interestingly, only 21% of consumers surveyed know what the GDPR is and what they can do under these regulations. Despite not knowing what the GDPR entails, 90% of consumers stated they want direct control over the way brands use their personal data, and 89% want to see the personal data organizations have collected about them.
What to expect: The GDPR has only recently been implemented, and the awareness of these regulations is poised to rise. Once consumers are informed about the rights they have through the GDPR, it is highly likely they will exercise the data subject rights the GDPR is bound to.
How will the GDPR affect marketing?
Now that the GDPR is in effect, how will it affect the marketing industry? These regulations apply to any organization that collects and/or processes consumer data in the EU. The GDPR will require organizations to provide consumers transparent guidelines on how their personal data is being stored and used, access to this data, and will need the consumers’ explicit consent before companies can store and process the data. While the massive fine and potential limits to future use of consumer data may be daunting, brands should view this as an opportunity to create transparency and foster long-term customer loyalty.
Our Content Strategy team believes that with the enforcement of the GDPR, more marketers will build their email lists. There is nothing more valuable than having that direct value exchange of data between marketers and consumers when they subscribe to a mailing list, because this means marketers can have more personalized communication with their customers and prospects on a 1:1 basis, instead of at a mass level.
The GDPR is aimed to regulate and promote fair use and processing of consumers’ data in the EU. As marketers, we shouldn’t see this as a hindrance, but as an opportunity to improve our relationships with clients and consumers alike. The GDPR makes us remember that the people who visit our websites, give us their email addresses, and buy our products are people, and not just a statistic.
Moreover, the GDPR allows us to prove to clients that they are not only paying us for data analyses, but also our research skills and creative problem-solving skills to be able to get at the same data even with the data restrictions. It is an opportunity, especially after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, to show consumers more transparency in our market research practices.
DAC is committed to our responsible sourcing and processing of consumer data in our research practices.
Special thanks to the Content Strategy team at DAC for their contributions to this blog.
Lucille Liang is DAC’s Strategic Insights Analyst and is based out of Toronto. If you have any concerns or questions about the GDPR and how this may affect your business, feel free to contact DAC.