As far as data compliance goes, businesses can’t hide away forever.
With the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law commencing on 25 May 2018, it might feel like the beginning of a new-age apocalypse, but it does not have to feel that way. Put simply, the new requirements mean that businesses will no longer be able to contact customers without their consent. The purpose is to ensure that customers get a better understanding of how their data is used, and based on that, they’re now able to make a decision on whether or not they agree to have businesses contact them.
This could sound like a challenge: no more cold-calling or email marketing? Well, try and look at it as an opportunity to rethink your marketing strategy. This global change might be the positive change you need for your business’ operations. Not only will it allow you to increase the value of your marketing proposition, but it can give your business a competitive edge in omnichannel customer experience.
While this news has been a trending feature on many international marketing websites and blogs, the real question is: “What does this mean for South African companies?” Besides the fact that European companies will be more willing to do business with local companies that are compliant, how does GDPR slot into our own data protection act, PoPI (Protection of Personal Information)? It starts by educating your staff about the process.
According to ITWeb, “For European businesses, not complying with GDPR can result in heavy fines. Data is vital to business in the digital age, and customers and clients rely on organisations to keep sensitive information safe,” says Indi Siriniwasa, Vice-President of Trend Micro, Sub-Saharan Africa.
He continues, “When GDPR becomes mandatory, companies and organisations have 72 hours in which to report any breaches or face hefty fines. This makes knowing exactly what is going on in corporate networks vital. Detection engines with advanced capabilities can stop a breach before it even begins”.
Regardless of when these regulations will start affecting South African businesses, it’s imperative for business owners and their digital marketing agency to have a clear understanding of what GDPR is. Now is the time to start putting serious security measures in place that will protect personal information.
What does this mean for the future of B2B?
This law will challenge B2B marketing efforts. Knowing this, businesses should see it as a way to stop emailing and start doing something better. Businesses which rely solely on email marketing are going to see a vast decrease in database content. For many outsiders, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but businesses are going to need to trade-in their mass marketing strategies for a more direct, effective approach. Better data will give you better results. In essence, having a massive database of contacts that never respond or engage with you is worthless as it is. So, with the new GDPR regulations, you’re simply going to need to discard those ‘just in case’ contacts for customers or clients who understand how and where their data is going to be used in your business’ operations. If they agree to your conditions and want to receive your marketing material, you’ll have a more engaged audience to communicate with.
Over the course of 2018, and in years to come, it’s going to become increasingly important for companies or any digital agency to switch to permission-based marketing strategies that are GDPR compliant and simply support their customers’ feelings towards data security. It might feel overwhelming but there are countless ways to create an opt-in database that will, eventually, grow through organic traffic. If you create insightful, value-adding content with a digital marketing agency who knows what they’re doing, like Rogerwilco, a digital marketing agency in Cape Town, you’ll be able to achieve this in good time.