GDPR & Digital Marketing:
What To Expect?

If you’re a marketer or a business owner, we presume you’re aware of the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) approaching on 25th May 2018. This new digital privacy standard will have a huge impact on the way that online privacy data are treated on any digital product or website within the EU zone.

Since the current EU data privacy regulations that were first adopted in 1980, are considered outdated and don’t include the attention of smart phones, social media networks, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, etc., the new regulation is introduced with quite a few challenges that will affect any kind of online marketing strategic plan.

In other words, companies will now be required to improve their privacy policies and empower their approach of gathering (and using) personal data, otherwise will be subject to big fines.

The Impact on Online Marketing

Even though for small businesses this might sound exaggerating, there are only 3 key points that marketers need to concern about:

  • Data Permission
  • Data Focus
  • Data Access
Data Permission

Data permission is about how you handle people who choose to receive promotional information via email. Typically, in practice, most of the lead registration forms include a pre-checked box that automatically opts-in the registrant to receive email notifications.

Now, with GDPR, users will have the deliberate choice of confirming they want to be contacted by physically ticking the opt-in box during registration or subscription of your service.

Data Focus

How many times you signed up for a product or service, and realized that while filling out the registration form you were asked a little more data than actually needed? In fact, most businesses tend to collect more personal information than really required.

Keeping that in mind, GDPR requires that your processing is legally reasonable before collecting personal data. That means any business or marketing agency that captures leads, must focus only on the information needed and avoid collecting any unnecessary data.

Data Access

The right to be forgotten has become one of the most talked about rulings in EU Justice Court history. It gives people the right to have outdated or inaccurate personal data to be removed and has, in some instances, already been implemented by companies like Google, who were forced to remove pages from its search engine results in order to comply.

With the introduction of GDPR regulation, people will have the ability to manage how their data is gathered and used. They will be able to access their data and make any modification preferred, even choose the right to be forgotten.

Business owners or marketers must ensure that their clients can easily access their personal data and get rid of consent for its use.
Practically, the most simple method to get around this would be the addition of an unsubscribe link within your email marketing message that offers access to their user profile where they can manage their email preferences.

Who’s Really Affected?

Marketing Automation Specialists

Any kind of modern e-commerce business with complex workflows and countless marketing tasks is using marketing automation software tools to perform more efficiently. Most of these systems are associated with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems since they are used to send out emails by using sensitive personal information stored in the CRM database.

Any marketing specialist team should audit their mailing lists and ensure that the emails are not sent to a client that has already opted-out.

By this means, all client names in the CRM database and all emails in marketing automation system should have granted permission to be contacted. And, if someone decides to opt out on the go, both systems should be synchronized to guarantee that no more emails are sent to them. Failing to comply on this procedure might get you in trouble with GDPR in the future.

Email Marketing Managers

When it comes to B2B sales, email addresses are an essential tool for lead generation programs since they are considered the first step of a sale process when a user client opts-in by his own will.

In fact, many email marketing managers try to boost their lead generation stats by acquiring (buying) email lists from 3rd party providers. However, under the new GDPR standard, this approach will be strictly prohibited and it needs to be ensured that users opt-in by their own free choice, instead of automatically importing them in your mailing list.


GDPR might sound frightening and the penalties issued by the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) might encourage businesses to reconsider their entire marketing strategy.

Yet, this new legislation should not be treated as a problem but as a great opportunity for marketing agencies to perform at their best – deploying targeted marketing campaigns with transparency towards an audience that is fully engaged with your brand and product.

If you’re looking forward to make your business GDPR ready and take the next step towards being compliant, get in touch with our marketing experts.

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