The Marketing Database and GDPR

Does your company have a marketing database?

Is that database paramount to your marketing activities?                                                    

If the answer is yes to the above questions, you need to think about and start putting in place processes to deal with GDPR.

How have you been obtaining consent to using the personal data that you have stored on your database? Within the area of direct marketing gathering and using stored data has often been a grey area.

There are some who will say that with the Data Protection 1988 in place, a safeguard surrounding the use of data is sufficient, however today we are in the ‘data age’, a time when data is BIG business. Data is valuable, with data, marketers and organisations can track our views, our buying habits, what we like to eat and where we like to go on holiday, to name but a few. Armed with this information companies can target their advertising to each of us; it is for this reason that our personal data has become a commodity, which could be on sale to the highest bidder.

When organisations are data gathering they have looked to gather as much data as possible, it is then processed, profiled and analysed, with the intention of extracting as much value as possible from it. How is this data collected? – remember when you went to the conference and your badge was scanned, remember the questionnaire asking you your opinion or how about that ‘free’ advice booklet you downloaded online. All of this information is captured and used, the question is as an individual do you mind your data being stored and used?

There has always been legislation in place with regards to data gathering, and there have been fines for those companies and organisations who fall foul of them, however things are about to change. With the incoming GDPR, marketers will need to comply with new more stringent legislation; companies will need to be able to show that they comply on every level.

What does it mean for the marketer?

The information collected can only be used for the purpose that it collected for, i.e. if it is being collected for a particular campaign, it can only be used for that purpose, it cannot be stored and used for the next campaign, unless consent has clearly given from the data subject.

In days past many marketers would have used this data to build the marketing database, so are the days of database building gone? Many companies and organisations rely on their database for ongoing campaign marketing.

What does this mean for the marketing database? Can it still be used?

In order to continue using your company database after May 2018, it will have to cleansed and audited, it will have to comply with the new legislation, each of those people on the database will need to give their consent and agree to be contacted by your organisation, but more importantly as a company you will have to be able to show that you have gained consent legally. Validating the database could be a tiresome process, but by May 2018 it will be law and failure to comply will result in large fines. 

In conclusion, change is coming and in order to be compliant by the due date – May 2018, marketers must act now to ensure that their databases are compliant and up to speed with GDPR.