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How to Leverage GDPR to Maximize Marketing Efforts

This blog post is in no way intended to serve as legal advice. It provides transparency to some of the actions True has taken to be a better marketing communicator. Please consult a legal professional to ensure you are GDPR-compliant.

In our previous blog post, we discussed what steps we are taking to be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – which has some major impacts on the way marketers collect and use data. While the regulations of the GDPR may seem overwhelming, we have found ways to take action to both be compliant with the legislation and maximize marketing efforts.

Many marketers are concerned that the legislation will require a complete overhaul of contact lists that will take their lead generation efforts ten steps backward. However, once you complete the first step of cleaning up your contact lists, you then have the opportunity to rebuild your lists with more valuable, engaged leads.

Conduct an Audit of Existing Databases to Work Towards GDPR Compliance

To get started, a best practice is to review what personal information your company already has. The GDPR affects personal data a company stores or accesses, which can also include previously collected data. For marketers, this means that it may be time to conduct an audit of existing databases to ensure the information adheres to updated standards.

While you may not be the company processing or storing the information (“Data Processors” like Google or a marketing automation system or CRM), marketers often fall into the role of a “Data Controllers” (the people who decide the purpose for collecting the information and the means by which it’s processed.) Although Data Processors should be making efforts to be compliant with the GDPR (most companies will have communication on their website about their efforts towards compliance), Data Controllers also have some responsibilities in moving towards compliance. There may be situations where companies or marketers fall into both categories, so again, it’s best to consult a legal expert to determine your company’s specific needs.

To conduct your data audit, start by asking these questions about the information in your lists:

  • What personal information does your company have stored?
  • Why does your company have this information?
  • How did your organization obtain that information?
  • When did you collect this information?
  • What is this information being used for?

This is where marketers become slightly concerned. What happens if your audit reveals that your contact lists have to be completely overhauled? While it may be frustrating to see your contacts lists shrink, you can take efforts to rebuild your lists with more valuable leads and contacts.

Plan a Re-engagement Campaign

The GDPR will likely downsize your customer lists, but this offers a valuable opportunity to re-engage your audience and generate even more valuable leads. By simply engaging in open, proactive communication, you can ensure the audiences you reach genuinely want to engage with your brand.

To start, contact your existing customer list and notify them of the changes your organization is making to ensure their information remains private and is used appropriately. This is a great way to demonstrate your company’s commitment to protect customers and maintain a trusted relationship.

Next, ask customers whether they are still interested in receiving communication from your brand through an email re-permission campaign. Don’t be too discouraged if this results in a blow to your subscription list — the customers that remain on the list value your brand and may, in fact, be higher-quality leads than the people who choose to opt-out.

Finally, plan to improve your marketing efforts with fresh content for your customers. If your brand has fallen behind on creating valuable content like blogs, case studies and newsletters, use this time as an opportunity to re-energize your efforts. Begin this process with a few easy steps:

  1. Assess your audience:  What customers have opted-in to continue receiving communication? Where are they in the buyer’s journey? This information will aid in planning your content.
  2. Review previous content: What content performs well with your audience? Focus on topics that resonate with your customers so they see the value of staying in touch with your brand.
  3. Create a content calendar: How often do you plan to share new content with your audience? What platforms are best for engaging with your audience? You need to create a schedule to follow so your company is consistently engaging with customers.

Overall, planning for the GDPR can actually create an opportunity for your company to strengthen its marketing communications. Following these steps will aid in your company’s efforts towards compliance and maximize marketing efforts. To ensure your company is fully prepared for these changes, refer to the Independent Commissioner’s Office GDPR guide and also consult with legal professionals.