The demand for data protection services has skyrocketed, by rising as much as 7 times since 2017. In case you were wondering why, the reason is that GDPR compliance has become one of the biggest stresses for marketers. With compliance becoming a mandate, no business would like to get into trouble with the Information Commissioner's Office or the law enforcement agencies for not complying with the Data Protection Regulation and face huge penalties as a result.

If you too were wondering what a marketing team does in order to comply with the GDPR and avoid the legal hassles, you have come to the right page. In this article, we share with you some tips and expert guidance to help you ensure all your ongoing marketing activities are fully GDPR compliant. But first and foremost, let's understand what GDPR is, how it affects marketing and why.

What is GDPR?
General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR is a law enacted by the European Union and subsequently the UK in order to protect the personal data of its citizens from unlawful marketing activities. The primary aim of this regulation is to protect the data protection and data privacy rights of the citizens. As a result, all marketers, not just in Europe, but across the globe, are expected to abide by this regulation, as long as any of their marketing databases contains personal data of European citizens.

How does GDPR affect marketing and why?
GDPR makes organisations accountable for all the personal data they hold and process on a regular basis. Therefore, it is expected from organisations to carry out proper due diligence and ensure proper accountability measures are put in place in order to best assess the storage and processing of personal data that they have acquired.

The Regulation also places several limitations on how organisations utilise the personal data of users. It requires marketers to have a proper and valid lawful basis before they can Store or process any personal data for marketing purposes. This is why it has become the responsibility of marketers to not only inform their data subjects about how they plan to use their personal data but also to protect their personal data from data breaches and bad actors. In addition to this, there’s an additional requirement to be compliant with the PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations), for marketing activities that are digital or electronic in nature, such as email marketing, social media marketing, and text marketing. Marketers who are unable to comply with these rules are potentially risking their operations and provoking legal actions to be taken against them.

How to ensure your marketing activities are GDPR compliant

In order to ensure GDP are compliance for all your marketing activities it's important to ask your marketing team the following questions:

  • Is consent shared by our data subjects being properly recorded and safely stored for the future?
  • Is it simple and straightforward for our data subject to withdraw their consent by opting out of our marketing list whenever they want to?
  • Are our marketing activities correctly classified as either B2C or B2B?
  • Have we used valid consent or legitimate interest as a lawful basis for the storage and processing of personal data?
  • Are all the offers and marketing communication that we share with our audience totally relevant for them?
  • When was the last time we conducted a thorough legitimate interest assessment (LIA)?

Apart from this it's also advisable to follow the below points for marketers who are extra cautious about maintaining their compliance in the long term

  • Avoid holding onto the personal data for any longer period than what's necessary and allow their data subjects to share their non-consent whenever they wish to
  • Make it a habit to review the marketing databases and eliminate any contacts who haven’t been responsive to your marketing campaign
  • Share clear instructions with the recipients on how they can unsubscribe from your marketing list and share their non consent if they find your messages aur offers irrelevant

How to collect valid consent from your data subjects
According to the UK GDPR, the Data Protection Act, and the PECR, businesses in the UK need to collect valid consent from their data subject well before sending them any marketing communication. In order to ensure that the consent you are collecting is valid you will need to

  • Let the user take an affirmative action on their part that proves there shining up for receiving Marketing Communication by their own will and not under any pressure
  • Ensure that the data subjects know exactly what terms and conditions they are agreeing to or sharing the consent for
  • Avoid combining the request for consent with other types of consent
  • Inform the user that they always have an option to withdraw their consent in case they wish to do that in the future

By working closely with your marketing team, legal team, and data privacy team you can discover and fix any gaps that may become a legal issue for your operations in the future.