A Year in the Life of GDPR

During the run-up to 25 May 2018, a barren landscape was predicted for marketeers post-GDPR.

The media played their part in spreading the doom and gloom. Talk of huge fines, excessive costs (to get “GDPR ready”) and even the death of direct marketing was abundant. And the regulatory bodies did little to dispel the common myths and misconceptions. Positivity was a scarce commodity at that time. And the Information Commissioner’s Office gave little comfort.

Yet, here we are, one year on. We still supply data and send email broadcasts. We still mail out promotional postcards and make telemarketing calls. And all perfectly legally …

So Why All the Doom and Gloom?

Well, let me reference one of my favourite ever films – Cool Runnings. It’s a story about the first ever Jamaican Bobsled team to enter the Winter Olympics. Faced with a huge amount of negativity towards their team, Junior asks his friend Yul. “Seeming to you nobody likes us?” Yul replies “We’re different. People are always afraid of what’s different”.

That pretty much sums it up – fear of change! It’s only natural for many to see only the negatives. Yet, anyone who considered the benefits, soon saw the opportunity that would emerge.

It’s All About the Individual’s Rights

The Data Protection Act 1998 (“DPA”) did what it had to do … when it became law. But the world has changed and we’re amid the Technological Age. The DPA was no longer fit for purpose, so a change was long overdue.

Recent legal actions against massive companies only served to highlighted shortcomings in legislation. People’s data was being used and shared in an almost care-free style. Something had to change … hence GDPR.

Accountability

Companies are now more accountable for their errors. There are strict rules on how they can gather, store, use and share people’s information. They must keep the information they hold on individuals accurate and up-to-date. They must allow individuals easy access to the information they hold on them. Even destroy that information, if requested by that individual. And they must also be able to evidence their actions towards meeting the rules.

That all extends beyond their prospect lists too. It includes their clients, customers AND employees. The thing is, surely all of that should have been the case beforehand, right? Individuals should be entitled to determine who can use their information and how. When you look at it that way, you have to agree that GDPR is a good thing.

Quality, not Quantity

It is clear that GDPR has caused a drop in the volume of data available for marketing. But, as many have pointed out, the data that remains is of a higher quality. Not only is it more accurate, it’s also more appropriate. It’s also likely to be more freely given and less likely to cause abrasive replies when used for marketing.
 
In the world of direct marketing, quality is key. Whether you’re telemarketing, sending a mailshot or broadcasting an e-shot. Dead phone lines, returned mail and bounced emails all represent waste. Whether that’s time, effort or money. And nobody (in their right mind) wants to offend the prospect. That’s counter-productive.

Education, Education, Education

Our job here at Data Bubble has become almost as much about education as it has about being a service provider. Besides providing marketing lists, we help those that are unsure what they can and can’t do under GDPR. We offer face-to-face advice, post blogs, make videos – all sorts of things to get the message out there.

We still hear murmurs of no longer being able to “make cold calls”, or “email company directors”. These are becoming less and less often though. The thing is, with time comes knowledge and with knowledge comes confidence. The marketplace is growing in confidence, and I’m sure it will continue to do so as time goes on.

Quick, Helpful Links

To download a checklist re bought in Business to Consumer lists, click HERE

To download a checklist re bought in Business to Business lists, click HERE

Read the ICO’s Guide to Direct Marketing – click HERE

Read the ICO’s guide to Telemarketing and PECR – click HERE

If you have any other questions about GDPR, get in touch – otherwise, go straight to the horse’s mouth and visit https://ico.org.uk

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