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Nathan Topping 21st March 2018

Three Myths of GDPR

With only two months to go, GDPR is on the mind of most marketers. But how do you distinguish the scaremongering from the sensible guidelines? We’ve given the top three myths that we've come across!

1. GDPR = Consent

Probably one of the biggest misconceptions that we’ve come across is that GDPR means that consent will be required to use someone’s personal data in all circumstances. This is simple not true. Like current data protection law, GDPR specifies a number of different legal grounds for processing someone’s personal data. Consent is one of those, but not the only one. Legitimate interest is another – and direct marketing is recognised as a legitimate interest.

Of course – this is not a Get Out of Jail free card allowing you to contact whoever you want, but there might be circumstances in which legitimate interest grounds can be used for marketing. We’ll be publishing further blogs on this in the coming weeks.

2. GDPR will hamper marketing

This is true if your marketing current involves bombarding people with unsolicited, mass marketing messages – but if this is the case you should be re-thinking your marketing anyway! To those that are putting more care into their marketing, GDPR is a positive. Managing contact preferences and keeping your marketing lists focussed on those with a genuine interest in hearing from you will help improve marketing conversions as well as ensure compliance.

And if you’re putting better preference management systems in place to keep future communications targeted – what better reason to get back in touch with your customers and prospects!

3. GDPR will drastically alter the landscape for B2B email marketing and telemarketing

Not so. Without going into too much detail, telemarketing and email marketing are currently more closely governed by another regulation with the catchy title Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulation (or PECR). This lays out more specific rules about direct marketing – for example, under PECR you must check all your telemarketing data against the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). It also lays out rules for email marketing – on a very basic level, B2C email marketing operates on a solely opt in basis, while B2B email marketing operates on an opt out basis (it’s a little more complicated, particularly with sole traders – more on which we’ll publish soon!).

None of this is changing under GDPR – although it’s definitely worth auditing how compliant you currently are and tightening up your practices! And there are some changes which will impact you - if you’re processing data on the basis of consent the rules for what counts as valid consent are tightening up. And if you’re processing data on the basis of legitimate interest you need to make sure that you are conducting a Legitimate Interest Assessment too.

It is also worth noting that the EU is bringing in a new ePrivacy regulation which will replace PECR and could therefore change some of the rules around email marketing and telemarketing. This was initially meant to come into force alongside GDPR but is behind schedule! Once the details of this are fully known we’ll be sharing updates on our blog.

So, in summary – this is not the millennium bug for marketers. It’s a sensible evolution of data protection law in response to our increasingly data driven world. What’s more, you can use GDPR to your advantage to re-engage your database and streamline your contact lists.

We’ll be publishing more GDPR articles over the coming weeks so sign up to our newsletter to be kept up to date. Alternatively, to arrange a free data audit get in touch with one of our team on 0113 487 7013 or get in touch here.

Written By Nathan Topping
Nathan has recently completed his CIM Diploma in Professional Marketing, and works on a wide range of customer projects across the public, private and third sectors. He has a particular interest in marketing data and how to harness this to get the most from your marketing.

Also written by Nathan