In this three-part blog series, we’ve covered what GDPR is, and what steps you need to take to become compliant with our handy GDPR checklist. But, other than ensuring you’re on the right side of the law, are there any benefits to GDPR compliance? Read on to find out.
Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will, without doubt, require time, planning, and, depending on the size and complexity of your organisation, some potential investment in legal advice to get your house in order.
However, the silver lining of all this effort and investment is the potential to improve customer relationships and increase trust in your brand, products and organisation. Not to mention, increased trust and confidence from your employees and your business network.
Here are six benefits of getting GDPR compliant (besides staying on the right side of the law) and embracing the potential opportunities that GDPR has to offer.
Quality over quantity
A major requirement of GDPR is to ‘cleanse’ all your databases to ensure that the personal data you have obtained, used and stored has and will continue to be processed legally and responsibly. Whilst the need to do this is justified, and also a requirement of current data protection law, this is one of the main grumbles of GDPR.
Cleansing a database takes time. In terms of your customer network, it also has the potential to reduce your reach with the increased possibility that a customer’s personal data may need to be removed in the process.
However, a clean database of active subscribers will leave you with better quality personal data from customers and contacts. This will enable you to increase personalisation and create more relevant marketing content. This, in turn, will help to build more loyalty with the potential to increase response rates and conversion rates.
A case for better data management tools
With the need to refine personal data management processes to be fully compliant, GDPR presents a strong business case for marketing managers to justify increased investment in more extensive data audits and data management tools.
In addition to ensuring that personal data processing is compliant, investing in data management tools will also provide improved data analysis for more effective marketing and communication activities.
This ‘refreshed’ data can provide new insights about customer preferences from the information they want to receive to the frequency and method of contact. With improved communications and more engaged subscribers, response rates are likely to increase and potential new business opportunities may arise.</li?
A chance to reconnect
The requirement to contact data subjects for ‘re-consent’ and to update them on your GDPR processes presents an ideal opportunity to re-establish an existing connection and increase engagement. This action may also ignite potentially dormant customers, who may decide to become more active with your organisation’s services and products going forward.
The option to select preferences when doing a re-consent request (i.e. confirming your data protection policy with confirmed subscribers and requesting consent under GDPR for continued communications) will provide fresh insight into your customers and help to inform and improve your future communication strategies and messaging.
Reducing business risk
Whilst most of the changes that you will make for GDPR will be internally focussed, there is also a requirement to extend compliance beyond your organisation. As a controller (i.e. the company that generates the personal data), you have a responsibility to communicate your data protection policies and expectations for GDPR compliance with your data processors (i.e. external suppliers who process personal data on your behalf).
Under GDPR, both the data controller and the data processor will have a responsibility for compliance. With that said, GDPR presents a prime opportunity for controllers to develop more robust data protection policies with external suppliers.
From an HR perspective, this is also valuable to consider for business activities that require external data processors to process the personal data of your employees. This might include a pension provider or a company health care provider.
In addition to encouraging greater trust between data subjects and organisations, considering GDPR compliance across all areas of your business will help to minimise the risk of data breaches with the potential for non-compliant data processors to negatively impact your brand and company reputation.
The recent data breach scandal with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica is evolving to be a textbook case of how a data breach between a data controller and data processor can negatively impact trust, brand integrity and company reputation. Not to mention the potential fines that are yet to be decided by the UK’s information Commissioner Office (ICO). Whilst this is not likely to fall under GDPR given the timing of the data breach, the connection with GDPR and the damage to Facebook’s brand has been unavoidable within the media.
Planning for GDPR is therefore increasing awareness of how business is being done in practice. This is helping organisations to identify gaps in personal data processes and put plans in place to mitigate any risks.
An easier way to do business
Under GDPR, business activities are likely to be more robust and easier to execute between European Union (EU) countries, with GDPR aiming to align data protection laws across the EU. This will enable data to move more freely and safely between countries, which in turn will improve trust between organisations and individuals.
GDPR is also helping to encourage privacy by design to ensure GDPR is applied at every step. From more transparent privacy notices to more robust IT software that will process personal data securely from the point of consent, privacy by design has the potential to reduce data breaches and save time reviewing personal data processes as an afterthought. This will ensure continued compliance and demonstrate to your employees, customers and business contacts that you are taking all the necessary steps to be responsible with personal data at every stage.
The potential to build loyalty and trust
Last but not least, better quality data that is lawful, fair, transparent and obtained for a valid purpose with full consent will help to restore trust and encourage engagement between individuals and organisations.
With GDPR bringing more transparency to the personal data exchange process, individuals will be more confident to sign up to marketing communications and engage with the brands they love and the organisations they want to hear from.
Are you ready for GDPR?
Provided that you use personal data responsibly and you continue to tailor your communications effectively, GDPR has the potential to deliver more meaningful relationships between individuals and organisations.