GDPR – The Good, The Bad and The Future

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GDPR came into effect on the 25th of May last year, in the build-up beforehand there was a lot of scaremongering around the effects it would have on marketing efforts and the potential it had for wiping out your subscriber lists. Not to mention the threat of a €20 million fine (or 4% of your annual worldwide turnover) if you breach GDPR. But was it really as bad as everyone made out? 

The Good 
The new processes that companies implemented to become GDPR compliant not only helped upgrade cyber security to limit any potential data breaches, it has allowed companies to operate across Europe without having to deal with the individual country’s data protection rules. 

When an organisation is compliant it also significantly helps build brand trust and loyalty. A consumer is more likely to share their information and opt-in if they have confidence in a company and the way in which it handles data. Those companies that have suffered a data breach in recent years incurred a disastrous impact on their reputation.   

From an email perspective, GDPR did have an impact on subscriber lists. But rather than wipe them out it helped to refine them, leaving behind an audience that is more engaged with the content and loyal to the company. This list refinement will produce a more positive response rate in your email stats and give you a clearer insight into what your customers actually are most interested in so you can nurture them through the marketing funnel more effectively. 

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) sit alongside GDPR and provide more specific guidelines for privacy rights and electronic communications. These, at the moment, have not yet been updated and still allow you to market via legitimate interest to existing customers. 

The Bad
The biggest negative implication of GDPR coming into effect was the cost of becoming compliant. Many companies spent a significant amount of money to align with the new regulations and employed a Data Protection Officer to ensure that internal processes were updated and any new requirements were implemented. This cost may have been a substantial investment for some companies, but considering that GDPR fines can be up to €20million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover it was worth it. 

In having to add more opt ins and consent prompts, there is a risk that the consumer could be put off from actually sharing their data. Everything is now designed with a user-friendly interface for convenience and efficiency, yet these processes create a barrier to the consumer. 

The Future
Now a year on, the GDPR commissions are starting to wade through the large volumes of compliance breach reports and are starting to find their feet, so in 2020 it is likely that more fines will be levied as these are investigated. 

It was previously intended that PECR would be updated once GDPR came into effect, although this was initially expected in early 2019 it hasn’t yet occurred. It is likely that these regulations will be updated within the next year, which could have a serious impact on legitimate interest marketing capabilities.

Several other countries are taking a cue from GDPR and it is expected that countries such as Japan, Brazil, South Korea and parts of the USA will start to introduce stricter data protection laws.

On Tuesday 16th July we’ll be hosting an email marketing event in conjunction with Pure 360 that will explain the ins and outs of it all and in particularly GDPR. Find out more and book today.