Use GDPR as an Opportunity to be Strategic

It’s been almost a month since European Union’s GDPR regulation went into effect. Most likely you have received “We’ve updated our privacy policy” emails from countless brands you engage with, plus emails from companies that you didn’t even know had your information as they scramble to comply. Some are opting to make one set of rules for all users worldwide, which just makes good business sense.

Many believe that the writing is on the wall for enacting privacy laws in the U.S. (thanks to the Cambridge Analytical scandal and others). Over the past six months major data breaches have been reported from retailers to tech giants.

I’m sure that by now, your company has already performed a network security assessment, and put a person in place to perform a GDPR readiness check, especially if you have customers across the pond. If not, since the writing is on the wall, hopefully you at least have a privacy program in the works. And, hopefully this program is not being written in a silo. Marketing must be a part of the process.  So what’s next?

A few words of advice from me to you as you plot your data privacy and marketing strategy…ready? Here we go.

Dear Marketer:

You must create your own path through the plight of data security. It lends an opportunity we haven’t seen in quite some time for you to become strategic.

Don’t just manage data from an IT or a legal perspective like an attorney or a techy. Using that kind of strategy is like using a lifeguard to manage a looming tsunami disaster.

The ambiguity in the EU’s GDPR regulations is there on purpose. The over 200-page document is not an exact set of rules, but rather a loose set of guidelines paving the way for companies to figure out clever ways to do business within the boundaries of those rules.

It’s time to use this opportunity to set a new standard for data security for your company that also creates a trusted connection with your customers and prospects. It’s also time to do something with the data that you have been given. When customers willingly give you data, it becomes a meaningful marketing asset. Use that data wisely (read: don’t spam your clients).

Marketing as we know it is changing. Now is the time to be in charge of your own data. Use it to deliver relevant, personalized and engaging content that will ultimately provide even better data! Become a trusted resource and build a community around your products or services.


Steve Mahr

Maybe GDPR is just the impetus that marketing teams across the U.S. need to transform their business from a “spray-and-pray” organization to a strategic one that speaks directly to customers, giving them exactly what they want to consume.