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Will GDPR Stop Marketing?

Simon Coulthard March 07, 2022

2-minute read

When this EU data privacy law was announced, the business world was aflutter with real concerns that GDPR would stop marketing dead in its tracks.

This law has been designed to protect the personal data of EU residents; it is one of the strictest of its kind anywhere in the world, placing substantial limits on what companies can do with such information.

Indeed, the collection of personal data is so integral to digital marketing that it is almost impossible to imagine eCommerce without it today.

However, any concerns that it was the death knell for data-driven marketing and the personalization of the customer experience have proved deeply unfounded.

So no, GDPR has not, and will not, stop marketing.

However, it has undoubtedly forced companies to change how they go about communicating with prospects and customers - this is no bad thing, and this article will take a critical look at why.

Businesses Need Marketers More than Ever

For marketers, the great thing about GDPR is the way that it has increased the importance of their departments within the wider company profile.

Before this new data privacy age, personal data was not something that company executives put a huge amount of thought into. 

Even marketers saw data privacy concerns as at least an annoyance and an unnecessary, cumbersome infringement on their ability to increase the efficiency of communications and to customize the consumer experience.

Now, business leaders understand the huge risks posed to their companies by the poor management of personal data. 

For, beyond the potential for financial sanctions (up to €20 million or 4% of total global revenue from the previous financial year - whichever is greatest), there is the damage to a company’s reputation and the long term revenue potential to consider.

Given this, marketers have almost been fast-tracked to VIP status, with executives knowing that competent marketing that meets GDPR requirements will make or break their business.

Time to ask for a payrise!

GDPR is a Benefit to Companies

Admittedly, it has not been easy for companies to meet GDPR standards for data protection. 

Noone really appreciates extra work and, four years after it came into force, businesses are still finding it difficult to meet GDPR requirements.

This is hardly helped by the lack of clear guidelines from the European Commission, with many businesses remaining unsure as to whether or not they’re actually meeting data privacy standards.

Nevertheless, the work done here is already benefiting companies as a whole. 

Beyond bringing consistency across platforms, compliance has also been great for income, with results from Cisco’s 2020 Data Privacy Benchmark Study showing that:

Companies surveyed that saw privacy investment returns that were at least double their privacy spend
Companies surveyed that benefited from privacy investment - eg. efficiency, agility and innovation
Companies surveyed that look for privacy certification when selecting a product or vendor
2.7X ROI
For every €1 spent on data privacy, companies get €2.70 in improvements

Given this, it would appear that GDPR compliance is a great tool for helping your business to grow and make money.

This is because data privacy is a crucial issue for internet users. People do not generally understand what happens to their personal data online, and concerns about what companies do with this information are greater than they’ve ever been.

So, it’s no bad thing to align your company with this issue. By giving consumers more control over their personal data, you will undoubtedly increase trust and build your company’s reputation - these are all fantastic things.

GDPR has also increased the efficiency of marketing as a whole. For, while these rules mean that many of your prospects will decide to opt out of emails and other channels, it also leaves you with only your most loyal consumers - the people most likely to use your products or services.

The Bottom Line

GDPR requires more work, but the way compliance spurs things like operational efficiency, innovation, brand value means that it returns a real competitive advantage - on this issue, the juice really is worth the squeeze.

What’s more, the protection of sensitive - and potentially damaging - personal information is a great guiding principle and moral good.

GDPR was also just the beginning. Since it arrived on the scene back in 2018, it has catalyzed stricter data privacy laws all around the world. Data privacy laws are here to stay, and compliance with GDPR basically means compliance with all of these laws.

How to Begin

If you’re looking to start the process of meeting these data privacy requirements, we’ve created an information portal, in part because we noticed that it was hard to find everything you need to know all in one place. 

We can also provide a useful (and free) Compliance Checklist. And, as a GDPR-ready company, you can rest assured that any personal data you provide will be looked after carefully.


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