After GDPR

With only 3 months left until GDPR becomes a reality, we joined The Drum to find out how industry leaders are preparing for the new legislation.

GDPR at a glance

It’s an update of the previous Data Privacy Directive, and much of this is still at the core of the regulations. However, we’re looking at a very different landscape to the one of 1995, and so GDPR takes the age of the internet into its remit. The right to be forgotten, privacy by design, increased territorial scope; all of these new regulations are part of the maturity of the internet. Hence, many envision GDPR compliance as a natural reordering of the system, one which will see evolutionary rather than revolutionary change.

GDPR in and of itself is a behavioural change. It’s an attitude adjustment. Managing consumer privacy will be a huge part of many a marketer’s focus, as well as a full awareness of the journey and uses of consumer data. The most fundamental aspect is putting user privacy at the very core of all of your technological platforms. You will have to ensure that you have a technical team to help you with the technical solutions to what is a technical challenge.

Educating the Consumer

Don’t trust that the consumer always knows when their data is being collected, or how it will be used. Sometimes, they might be sharing this data by mistake. Education is going to be a big part of any business’s GDPR adoption, as well as placing incentives for the consumer on data sharing. However, be aware that educating the consumer will also raise consumer awareness of the past uses of their data.

Don’t underestimate the power of the activist consumer in this space: in the past, advertising has gone too far into the dark pits of sketchy data usage, with B2B being one of the darkest areas. There is potential for this to explode after May: the wrong consumer being retargeted in the wrong way could lead to a high profile court case.

Life After GDPR

What’s very clear is that, while everyone’s focus is on making their business GDPR compliant, no one is thinking about what will happen after May. Some have concerns that we don’t know what the level of consumer consent will be when consumers are more likely to have to opt-in to having their data recorded, as opposed to merely consenting by default. If they are given the time to think, it is plausible that they may be more likely to opt out. We also don’t know how the back ends of websites or email servers will keep up with these changes.

However, there could be a lot of good news. The first thing is that it will force marketers to do a better job. Instead of relying on first party data to optimise towards people who would likely have bought anyway, marketers will be forced to create better quality content to influence consumers.

On top of this, we should see a better relationship between the agency and their clients, and more respect for the consumer and their privacy.  We’re also already seeing a lot of collaboration between competitors, because if one of them does a lackluster job everyone in the industry will suffer. Respect will shape our relationships across businesses and with consumers in a much more positive way.

The key takeaways?

  • Make sure your technical team are educated helping you out
  • Educate your consumers
  • Shift your vision to what happens after GDPR has come through
  • Brace yourself for a new industry where respect, quality and privacy are paramount.