What is the EU Data Protection Regulation?
The EU Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR as it is commonly known) is a new legislation that will apply in all EU countries (including the UK) from May 2018. The regulation deals with a number of aspects regarding data protection. The main focal points are on the way that you store data, but also the way that you obtain and use it. From May 2018, you can no longer automatically ‘opt in’ people to your mailing list, or utilise online information that you have gathered from them without their express consent. This, understandably, raises some questions for online marketers.
Will GDPR apply after Brexit?
Regardless of Brexit, GDPR will impact the UK because we will still be in the EU when GDPR hits in May 2018. Therefore, we will have a few years under GDPR where we will need to follow the regulations. Once we leave the EU, a company still has to abide by GDPR in relation to marketing targeted at a customer who lives within the EU. This means that if your company serves customers in the EU, you must still follow the data protection regulations when it concerns those customers, regardless of whether we are in the EU ourselves.
GDPR and Email Marketing
The new EU Data Protection Regulation will have a vast impact on the way businesses conduct email marketing, from how they sign people up to what emails they send. Signing someone up to your email marketing lists now requires you to expressly tell them what emails they will receive, and how often. The person then has to actively confirm that they would like to receive these emails, and you should keep a copy of this active consent. You cannot send marketing emails to anyone that has not given this consent. You also cannot send emails to those that have consented if the email is not what you told them they would receive (or is more frequent than you originally told them it would be). The penalty for not following the new GDPR is fines of up to €20 Million or 4% of a brand’s total global annual turnover – whichever is higher! It is paramount that you work with your in-house marketing team in regards to these new regulations or work directly with a marketing agency who are able to implement your changes for you. If you’re concerned about GDPR, speaking with a Data Protection Officer and passing this information to your agency will ensure you keep in line with the new regulations.