Four Things you Really Need to Know about GDPR if in Marketing..

1. What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It will apply, from the 25th May 2018 to anyone handling data of an EU person or any EU based company (so literally any data we deal with in Irish marketing land).

2. Why should I care?

You could be fined up to 4% of your company’s total turnover if you don’t comply. That’s not an empty threat either, it’s very real with a very hard deadline of the 25th of May – zero wiggle room.

Marketing, media and advertising are going to be the industries most directly affected by the legislation. Remember the cookies compliance thing? It’s going to look like a piece of well, cake, next to the unavoidable chaos this is going to unleash. Yet few in marketing industry seem to be even talking about it – let alone planning.

3. Oh… no, ok. How is marketing going to be affected?

a) Data Storage – it will be illegal for you to use a 3rd party to even store people’s data without a formal contract between your company and the 3rd party. Ok, not too scary – maybe you’ve got a capable legal eagle data expert to take care of all of that sort of stuff but are you sure they are taking care of it?

Putting it off until ‘later’ means being already in violation. Your company has to be able to show a ‘good faith effort’ to comply with GDPR. That’s not a fluffy concept – in legal terms that means you’ll need to be able to prove your efforts!

b) Data Usage – if your company uses that data beyond mere storage you will have to seek explicit consent from the user “clearly and separately from any other info.”

Users will also have the right to say their data cannot be used that way, at any time. From the point of view of email marketing this is scary but ultimately manageable… but what about all the companies and campaigns that aren’t in direct contact with the end user?! The mind boggles…

c) Campaign Tracking – There is every possibility that a publisher (like a news site) may be held liable for issues with tracking pixels and 3rd party javascript that is supplied by media agencies every single day. Under such circumstances, they have every right to refuse placing them on their site from the 25th of May. Actually, they will probably not want any campaign trackers ‘in campaign’ on their site well before that date to avoid that liability unless parties can prove compliance. Media agencies and media partners are should already be planning for how they will deal with this issue.

d) 3rd Party Suppliers – Those handy third parties that capture data on your company or client’s behalf with a white paper app/game, retarget, sponsored content ads? Same issue will need to be tackled as with campaign tracking.

4. The Big Picture

Overall GDPR is going to mean a lot of companies that deal in data being devalued and lots of mergers and acquisitions between media and adtech companies. Interesting but tumultuous times. Naturally, Facebook is one of the only ones that will come out squeaky clean as they don’t pass on data to 3rd parties.

Few other things that we could ‘crystal ball’ –

Brands with one-to-one relationships with consumers are going to come out on top. Especially those with established, genuine trust.Email marketing and access to newsletter audiences will become more in demand yet potentially less available and therefore more premium both as a talent acquisition and a sales product.Consumers are going to get a lot more informed and yet even more suspicious of marketing. Consequently, marketing needs to be a lot less – well – annoying and a much higher standard.Contextually targeting will elbow in on some audience targeting space. Which may be good news for platforms with niche audiences or larger platforms with dedicated areas for certain audiences.Companies are going to be taken to court by individuals or bodies representing a bunch of collective individuals, a lot.News platforms and media platforms may gain back a good bit of power if they are prepared for the change.

But these are all just guesses.

The best practical thing we can all do in the Irish marketing industry is get educated, get delegating responsibility and start working together to make this work for all our mutual benefit or detriment.

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