GDPR for Marketing: The Benefits

Luke Gorski on

Now that you understand how to prepare your organization for GDPR, realize there are tangible benefits to improving your personal data practices.

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, was passed in response to an outcry over the abuse of people’s personal data. The legislation marks a significant step towards ending unethical marketing practices, like selling and buying unauthorized sales lists.

GDPR indicates a shift in how much your buyer values her digital identity. Although ethical data collection should have always been in your business’ best interest, it is now law. At least in the EU, the internet is a more civilized space.

In this lesson, you will learn about five tangible benefits your business can see by becoming GDPR-compliant. These benefits include:

  • Less legal liability
  • Higher marketing conversion rates
  • Better brand perception
  • Improved email marketing
  • Lower marketing costs

Benefit #1: Less Legal Liability

By now, you have heard of the high fines of not being GDPR-compliant. Companies found to collect, store, and use personal data unethically may have to pay millions of dollars in fines.

Because GDPR is a law and applies to any business that serves EU residents, the first benefit of being GDPR-compliant is protection from paying these multi-million dollar fines.

As you and your team examine each marketing tool in your marketing and sales funnel, you will come across personal data you didn’t know you stored.

For example, you might be storing profile images of people who used their Facebook account to register on your ecommerce store. Or you might have a mailing address information but don’t ship products. With GDPR, you are now legally responsible for protecting this data. But since this data isn’t being used to enhance your marketing efforts, it doesn’t actually have a positive ROI. And yet, its storage carries a legal liability risk.

To be GDPR compliant and minimize this legal liability, we recommend you remove any personal data you already have and don’t use, and limit the personal data you request from buyers and subscribers.

Benefit #2: Higher Conversion Rates

GDPR states you should only collect the personal data you intend to use. This means your business will probably ask for fewer personal details. The benefit is that when subscribers don’t have to hand over too much personal information, they are more likely to complete your marketing form and convert into a lead.

Historically, giving away free content in exchange for personal data has long been viewed as a fair exchange. But as companies began asking for more personal data, like mobile phone numbers, zip codes, gender, ethnicity, they began to amass and sell large stockpiles of personal data to other companies. When consumers found out personal data was being mined and sold, they became wary; hence the GDPR legislation.

The benefit of asking only for the personal data you require for your marketing efforts is prospects will be more comfortable doing business with your company and handing over their personal information.

Benefit #3: Better Brand Perception

As personal data privacy becomes more important, companies that champion ethical personal data use will be rewarded with positive brand perception.

By putting in place data privacy protocols, and only collecting data you absolutely must have for your marketing tools to function, consumers will trust your brand.

Consider the repercussions Instagram experienced when its users found out their photos could be used without their permission. The lack of transparency and betrayal of personal data security caused users to quit the platform. Since 2012, the year the incident occurred, personal data has become even more precious.

More recently, consider the positive public support Apple received in its recent legal battle with the US government. Although controversial, consumers everywhere supported Apple for championing the privacy of its users’ personal data. There is no denying consumers trust Apple more than any other company with its personal data.

All of this indicates your buyer cares even more about being fairly treated by the companies with which he chooses to do business. By being transparent about your use of personal data use, you give your buyer less reason to worry and more reason to trust your brand.

Benefit #4: Improved Email Marketing

GDPR stipulates that any subscribers on your email or remarketing lists are confirmed using double opt-in. This means they give you expressed permission to receive your marketing emails.

If you did not have a double opt-in system in place and already have an existing email list, you will need to send each subscriber a double opt-in request. Those subscribers who don’t confirm your double opt-in request, either because they don’t see the email or are no longer interested in receiving your marketing materials, must be removed from your email list.

You may find, like many small businesses, that your email list shrinks dramatically. The good news is a smaller email list of engaged subscribers has a higher ROI than a large email list of disinterested or apathetic subscribers.

After purging your email list, you will benefit from a list of subscribers who are interested in reading your content. You will save on storage costs, and gain a better understanding of who your interested subscribers are. Your company can then improve its email marketing by creating tailored email content for this engaged audience.

You may find that your email list disappears almost entirely. As disheartening as this may be, it is an indication that your email-marketing channel was performing poorly. When done right, email marketing can be one of the most effective ways to market to your buyer. If you find yourself with a small email list, realize you are learning a hard lesson. Invest the time and resources needed to create an effective email marketing system.

Benefit #5: Lower Marketing Costs

To become GDPR compliant, you will likely have to simplify your marketing processes. You may find yourself removing tools that collect unnecessary personal data. In doing so, you will also be lowering your marketing costs.

For example, you are likely paying your email service provider (ESP) to store personal data. By purging your email lists, you reduce those storage costs. The same applies to storage costs for contact forms, and management costs of landing pages.

Savings realized after GDPR can be reallocated to create more relevant content. Remember that GDPR marks a shift in how buyers want to be marketed to. Spamming buyers with offers and discounts is an ineffective marketing strategy. Instead, create relevant content your interested subscribers would find valuable.

The Bright Side of GDPR

Although most of the conversation about GDPR has been focused on the high fines and restrictions on digital marketing practices, GDPR actually offers businesses an opportunity to optimize their marketing systems, lower their marketing costs, and improve their relationship with buyers and subscribers.

Many organizations who have refused to learn and employ modern marketing practices will struggle to get with the times. However, they must. It is now the law.


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