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As marketers we’re used to dealing with changes and advancements, be they in the technology we promote and sell, the marketing practices and techniques that we use or the laws and regulations we must abide by. With regards to the latter, there are some significant changes on the horizon that we should all be aware of and adapt our marketing to comply with.

1. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is new European legislation that will come into force from 25th May 2018 and although the UK will be in the process of leaving the EU by then, it will still apply to anyone who collects or processes the personal data of any EU citizen. The UK Government is also expected to introduce ‘equivalent’ legislation to ensure we are able to continue to trade effectively with the EU post-Brexit. Therefore, it’s important we all know how to comply with GDPR and understand the effect it will have on our businesses, and in particular our marketing activities.

This new legislation is making headlines due to the tough financial penalties it threatens for data breaches – 4% of global turnover or €20 million. Whilst the security of our data is very important this legislation has wider reaching implications for marketers including:

Explicit consent

Currently, most organisations rely on an opt-out approach but the new legislation will force an ‘opt-in’ based approach where explicit consent must be given (and proven) for each purpose (not bundled together). So, if you collect an email address for billing purposes, you can’t just use that for marketing and wait until they unsubscribe – they must explicitly agree to receive marketing emails from the beginning and this consent must be recorded.

Right to be forgotten

Consumers must have the right to opt-out and have all data about them removed. Now this is a sticking point in the proposals, as whilst consumers should have the “right to be forgotten” there also needs to be a failsafe in place to ensure businesses retain access to data they genuinely need e.g. financial or transactional records.

Third party data

The new laws will give consumers more control over where their data is stored and how it’s used. This will make it very difficult to buy / use data lists from third parties for marketing purposes.

The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) is currently working to develop further guidance and support for businesses as they implement the required changes to comply with the new legislation. For further guidance see the ICO website.

2. ePrivacy regulation – changes to the ‘Cookie Law’

This regulation will work alongside the new GDPR and will be enforced by the same regulatory bodies. Currently, most websites comply with the ‘Cookie Law’ by simply having a notification banner on their website stating they use cookies and an option to agree. This can be frustrating for users who can quickly become bombarded by these messages on every website they visit. The new rules mean these banners will no longer be required and instead management of ‘cookie consent’ will be set via the user’s browser. Also, no consent will be required for non-intrusive cookies such as remembering shopping cart history or cookies that count the number of website visits.

The ePrivacy regulation also aims to eradicate SPAM with a total ban on unsolicited emails, SMS and automated calling machines. Marketing callers will need to display their phone number or use a special pre-fix which indicates they are making a marketing call.

The aim is for these proposed new rules to come into effect at the same time as the GDPR but as yet they are still in draft form and need to progress through the normal legislative process. 

Have your say!

Are you already aware of the implications the new regulations will have on your marketing? Are you prepared? Or do you think your business won’t be affected by the new regulations? Let us know your thoughts with a comment below.

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