Here we are (already…) in January 2018, ready to take on all the opportunities and challenges the new year will bring.  And, for marketers, few challenges stand as bold on the horizon at the pending GDPR legislation, which will come into force on the 25th May this year.

Like many companies, we’ve spent the few months preparing for the ‘big day’, trying to fully understand the intricacies of the legislation and what it means for both us and our clients, the data we hold and who we can and can’t market to after this date.

For those of you who are yet to investigate the impact of GDPR on your business, we would highly recommend you start the process immediately. Why? Because that database you currently hold with all your prospects, clients, leads and lapsed customers is about to become redundant at best and potentially illegal at worst in just five months’ time. In a nutshell, after the 25th of May, you will need to…

  • have secured the expressed permission from every contact on your database that they are happy to remain on your database (and keep a record of that permission)
  • have told them how long you intend to keep them on it for and then source their permission to keep it on there again before that date expires
  • be transparent about how and when and for what purposes you intend to contact them in the future
  • give them access to the information you hold on them when they request it
  • take formal responsibility for ensuring their data is totally secure when held by you
  • follow guidelines on what information you can hold on them
  • remove anyone on the database who has not opted in / confirmed to you they are happy for their information to be held

Our marketing database is our lifeline, as it is for so many businesses; it is that formal, regular contact with customers, keeping them informed, keeping you top of mind and ultimately, generating sales. But, to keep this lifeline going after May, we’re all going to have to work a lot harder in the next few months to give those on our databases a real reason to ‘opt in’ and continue to accept marketing emails from us in the future.

At OrangeDoor, we see GDPR as a milestone moment in marketing in a positive sense. It gives everyone an urgent deadline to think about what we are sending and saying to customers every day, week and month and how much of this is actually adding value to the relationship. That is no bad thing. If more personalised, valuable and effective marketing comes out of this exercise this can only be a positive development.

So, do take GDPR seriously – you have to! But, importantly, don’t fear it. See it as an opportunity to re-evaluate what, how and why you are saying what you are saying to your customers. You may be surprised at the results! 

Words by Karen Baldock, Deputy Managing Director