By Becca Krug, Senior Account Director at davies tanner

The GDPR deadline is fast approaching. After Friday (25th May 2018), if you’re not prepared for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) your business will implode under the weight of responsibilities regarding the handling of people’s data – or so the scaremongers will have you believe.

However, we don’t see it like that. In much the same way that health and safety legislation is considered a complete bore but, in reality, has improved working conditions and product quality – not to mention saving countless lives. Or how professional accreditation schemes such as GAS SAFE for plumbers in the UK have helped eradicate cowboy tradesmen, GDPR is here to help. It protects all our data and forces businesses to improve the quality of communication and regulate its distribution.

No longer will countless businesses be able to use a scattergun approach to marketing, sending out valueless, untargeted junk mail to people who neither asked for it, or want it. Instead, PR and marketing messages will be delivered through carefully crafted content that is more relevant, creative and valuable, reaching a genuinely engaged target audience. Ultimately, it can reinstate trust between corporations and their customers – the subsequent effect on return on investment for brand marketers can only be positive.

Like anything worth doing, achieving the benefits that GDPR compliance can deliver will take discipline and hard work. The job is to make the offering of your content irresistible so that your audience gladly opt-in to receive more – which is no easy task.

To get you started, here’s a quick guide to creating GDPR-worthy content:

Be relevant – ensure that your messages are useful and interesting to every audience member.

Employ quality control – try this test, ask ‘would I like to receive this?’ If the answer is ‘No’, it’s probably better to go back to the planning stage, as under GDPR customers have the right to erasure, so as well as opting out of messages they don’t want, they can demand that all data you have on them is deleted. You could lose them forever.

Be creative – treat GDPR as a reason to engage the left side of your brain and get your creative juices flowing with original and exciting content that surprises, delights and entices.

Be open – GDPR entitles people to control over their personal data. Store nothing you wouldn’t want to tell them you have so that you can treat their requests to review it as an opportunity to engage with them and build a trusting relationship.

Be personal – when possible, use the information you have on your customers to your (and their) advantage with personalised content that addresses them by name and is tailored to their specific areas of interest. Give them a better experience.

Be prepared – to ensure that your organisation is GDPR compliant, business departments – that sometimes don’t communicate well – will have to work closely together in a seamless process. When your operations, data, marketing and sales people work together, they’ll better understand what each does for the business and this can help build respect and foster greater cooperation.

Stop – taking your right to hold someone’s data for granted.

Start – thinking about customers and their data in terms of value. What value can we offer them in return for their attention that will incentivise them to allow us to hold their data.

The right approach to GDPR is, in some ways, not to think about GDPR at all, it’s to rethink how you engage with your customers and seek to make improvements to the process. Now, we’re not saying you’ve no need to dot the ‘I’s and cross the ‘T’s – GDPR compliance is your responsibility, but if you see it as an opportunity to build valuable relations with customers that you are equally valued by, you may just find the whole process is far more rewarding and worthwhile. And surely that’s good for business.


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