Last week, I received over 20 emails from companies asking if they could continue to send me email updates. And I’m willing to bet you had a similar experience.
There’s a reason why you’ve been getting so many emails about companies’ privacy policies or asking you to confirm your email subscription. It’s because the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect on May 25, 2018.
The GDPR is a new set of rules designed to give users more control over their personal information. This regulation aims to improve transparency, so that consumers know how businesses are collecting, using and processing their data. (For a full list of GDPR compliance requirements, view the official General Data Protection Regulation PDF.)
The new regulation will have a significant impact on your B2B digital marketing and how you collect personal data. It will enhance the protection of consumers’ data, making it more difficult for marketers to access their personal information. And the penalties for failing to comply with the GDPR are severe. Depending on which articles of the law you violate, you could face up to €20 million ($23.4 million approximately) in fines or 4% of your global annual revenue.
How does the GDPR affect my B2B digital marketing?
I know what you’re thinking. “My business isn’t located in the European Union (EU), so I don’t have to worry about complying with the GDPR.” Not true.
Yes, the GDPR applies to organizations operating within the EU. But it also applies to any companies that collect or process the personal data of anyone in an EU country. Are you running a marketing campaign that targets individuals in the EU? Are you tracking the behavior of website visitors in the EU? Then you must ensure compliance with the GDPR.
Many businesses and marketers are not prepared to meet the GDPR requirements. A recent survey from Capgemini revealed that 85% of organizations in Europe and the United States are not ready for compliance. Even if you missed the deadline, it is still important to ensure compliance. Here are four steps to help you along the way.
1. Perform a data audit
Data is the key to understanding your audience, their pain points, interests and motivations. However, under the GDPR terms, organizations can only collect data that is relevant and serving an intended purpose. A data audit is one of the most effective ways to identify areas of noncompliance. After conducting a thorough analysis of marketing and behavioral data, you should be able to answer these questions:
- Where is the data being stored?
- How long will the data be stored?
- Where was the data collected?
- Where does the data go when it leaves your organization?
- What information is included?
- Who has access to the data?
Keep a detailed record of all this information and your data collection methods. A thorough investigation of your data is essential to cleaning up your infrastructure and removing redundant or obsolete data. It helps you decide what information matters most to your B2B digital marketing.
2. Eliminate consent by default
The new regulation is changing the way B2B marketers ask for consent. Companies are no longer allowed to use pre-ticked boxes or any other type of consent by default in their marketing campaigns. The GDPR requires consent to be “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous.” Examples of GDPR-compliant consent include clicking an opt-in button or link online or responding to an email requesting consent. Requests for consent should always be clearly visible to the user.
3. Educate your team
Staff training is crucial to complying with GDPR requirements and avoiding hefty fines. Make sure that all employees understand the implications of not complying. Teach all staff members the basics and the role they play in ensuring compliance. Provide more advanced training to the marketing and data analytics team members who handle data on a regular basis.
4. Secure your data
With data breaches and ransomware attacks on the rise, cybersecurity is becoming more important than ever. Reviewing permissions for data access will help you prevent data loss, leakage and unauthorized access to personal data. Here are other ways to protect your data:
- Data backups
- Preventative monitoring
- Web/spam filters
- Employee awareness training
In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.
Courtney Gursky is a Digital Content Specialist at Schubert b2b. She graduated from Lafayette College with a B.A. in English. When she's not working, you can find her re-reading Harry Potter or taking way too many photos of her 4 cats and 3 dogs.