When GDPR comes into effect in May, data accuracy will certainly be crucial, but the ways in which the new regulation aims to put consumers in control of their own data will also dramatically affect how organisations hold this information and what they can do with it.
Customers may not be subject to automatic decisions (such as those made by profiling technologies), and may request their data in an easily accessible format. They also have the right to opt out of any type of direct marketing – and organisations will continue to require their opt-in consent to electronic marketing.
Organisations need to demonstrate that, where they are relying on consent as the legal basis for processing, they have permission to use a customer’s data, and that the customer understands how the data is going to be used.
For companies that haven’t previously sought consent which meets the GDPR’s standards, the implementation of an extensive programme of repermissioning may be required.
Our recent report – The GDPR and its Implication on the Use of Customer Data – shows that nearly half of all firms (48%) either have no plans to conduct a repermissioning exercise or do not know whether they will seek fresh permission from their customers.
Those companies already handling customer information correctly for postal marketing purposes should be able to use “legitimate interest” to avoid this process.
However, the GDPR should also be seen as an opportunity to reinforce the strategic importance of building strong, sustainable relationships with customers. For example, by using properly permissioned and GDPR-compliant third-party data, marketers can improve the performance of their campaigns while ensuring their data is up to date and of the highest-possible quality.
According to the our research, 61% of marketers consider enhancing customer information with life-event data useful for nurturing customer relationships, as it presents both a reason to engage with customers and new sales opportunities.
While some companies are still struggling to meet the GDPR standard, this new regulation presents an opportunity for organisations to reshape their customer engagement and customer data management strategies as a means to improve overall business performance.
Jim Conning is managing director of Royal Mail Data Services
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