On Friday 25th May 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect and marketers around the world found themselves working within a new set of rules. The extensive legislation effectively redefines the way that we store and process data, and it applies to any company anywhere in the world which processes data on EU citizens.
In today’s interconnected marketplace, that means that pretty much every company is covered by GDPR. All you need to do is sell one thing to one EU citizen or even just allow one person to sign up to your website or your mailing list and suddenly you need to work within the legislation.
We’re not going to talk too much about what the new legislation entails and how you can make sure that you’re fully compliant because we’ve already talked about that in a previous post. Instead, let’s take a little time to look towards the future and to figure out what these legislation changes will actually mean moving forward.
More power to the public
Legislation like GDPR doesn’t come about overnight, and its recent implementation is actually a reflection of how long these debates about privacy have been going on for. The bigger question is what the future will look like, but we can take a reasonable guess by assuming that consumers will continue to expect – and deserve – more and more control over the data that they share with us.
For marketers, a lot has been said of late about double opt-ins and permission-based marketing, but the truth is that it’s always been important. It’s arguably more important now than it has been before, but the best way to future-proof yourself has always been and will continue to be to put more power in the hands of your customers.
This requires a fundamental change to the way that you do sales and marketing. Instead of trying to capture leads and to convert them, you need to think about adding value to your customers throughout all areas of the sales and marketing process. Getting them to pay you should be an afterthought. If all you’re trying to do is to get money out of them, they’re not going to pay any attention. And if they’re not paying you any attention, you’re not going to receive permission to continue contacting them.
GDPR shouldn’t be seen as some inconvenient piece of legislation that you need to make sure that you’re complying with. It’s not designed to catch people out and to force them to pay a fine, either. Rather, it’s been put in place to protect people, and we have a moral responsibility to our customers to obey that. And the best way to keep those customers happy is to make sure that you’re adding some value every time you talk to them. Adding value to their lives should come first. If you get it right, all else will follow.
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