If you have dealings with customers and contacts in Europe, you’ll probably already be preparing for the new EU General Data Protection Directive which comes into effect on 25th May 2018. GetProfiles considers how this will impact best practice in 2018.
Wherever you are based, if you have any dealings with European citizens, GDPR is going to affect the way you hold and manage the data which pertains to them.
GDPR is all about giving people greater control over the information organisations hold about them. If you make that principle your starting point, you can’t go too far wrong.
However, research shows that many businesses still haven’t understood or prepared for the impact of GDPR.
An October 2017 study for the cloud SaaS security solutions provider Alert Logic found that only 5% of EU companies said they were ready for GDPR. While a survey of UK small and medium businesses found that only a minority said they understood what “personal data” means.
This is worrying, because the GDPR includes stiff penalties for those companies that fail to protect individuals’ data appropriately – fines can be up to as much as 4% of annual turnover.
What should companies do?
The first task, if you haven’t already, is to familiarise yourself with GDPR.
Second, undertake a data discovery audit to identify what information is being held where and why. And, importantly, any third parties with whom you might have shared that data.
Third, you need to consider the information governance processes you have in place – and conduct a gap analysis between what you’re doing now and what you will need to be doing under GDPR. This analysis will need to cover a range of areas, including: cyber security, privacy policies, information sharing and deletion, and threats and risks vs. risk appetite.
Fourth, with the deadline fast approaching, it is advisable to consider whether you need to get in external help to help you plug the gaps between your current state and where you need to be.
An opportunity for marketers and information governance professionals
In reality, these tasks are the essential foundation blocks for good information governance. Yet how many of us are undertaking them?
As a motivation for instigating and promoting good information governance processes, GDPR could indeed be a force for good – not only for the individuals on whom we are holding data, but also for our practice as marketers and information governance professionals.
Rather than being a threat, if approached in this spirit, GDPR can be good news for marketers. It will encourage us all to think about why we hold the data we do – and to implement defensible deletion projects where appropriate. In the long term, we expect it will help to restore trust.
The opportunities for marketers and information governance professionals to have the time, money, resources and the boardroom level attention on good data management practice is a huge opportunity that’s worth grasping while GDPR is top of the agenda.
Good information governance is vital for the success of all the projects that use that data, but large-scale data management projects are often hard to get off the ground. All too often it is viewed as expensive, unsexy grunt work that lacks the pizazz of – for example – an AI project.
Yet databases full of bad data and inaccurate records are a double challenge for marketers – messing with both your conversion rates and the outcomes and overall success of your activities.
How GetProfiles can help
While GDPR places this spotlight on data, take the initiative to optimise the data you hold. In this, GetProfiles’s newly launched Verify Email can help. This automated tool can help you to check the validity of an email address before you add it to your contact database or mailing list – helping you to ensure the accuracy of your data.
You can upload entire contact lists in bulk. Our process includes verifying the format, checking for valid MX records and connecting to the mail server over SMTP to ensure that the mailbox really exists. Finally, we determine the status of each emails with result codes and identify and isolate gibberish and disposable emails.
By checking lists in this way, you can optimise your data and maximise the open and action rates of your email campaigns.
For those contacts you wish to secure verifiable opt-in from, but for whom you don’t have an accurately recorded email address, GetProfiles Find Email can help. This means that you can search for email addresses for your contacts – making it easy to update contact lists and eliminate the problem of high bounce rates. This is going to be a quick and useful service for anyone wanting to send out renewed email opt-in campaigns while updating data.
By seeing GDPR as an opportunity to improve processes and data, rather than as a potential threat, you open the door to your GDPR initiatives becoming an important source of competitive advantage for your organisation.
Find out more about GetProfiles Verify Email tool here.