It’s all over the news. In the papers, on the radio and social media. GDPR is coming and businesses are being scared into making changes to their business or suffer the regulatory fines. If we can learn anything from the latest press on data privacy issues with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, it’s that the fines will be the least of your worries. Bad data governance is bad for business. It will hit your bottom line one way or another.
Instead of waiting to see how GDPR plays out, it is far better to embrace it and make it an integral part of Digital Transformation. Building trust with your users and customers is fundamental because value is offset against trust. That may not have been the case before, when privacy notices could be buried in the small print and consent was neither informed nor required; it was assumed. Going forward, businesses will have to keep their users informed about how personal data is used to create the value and, if that level of infringement on their privacy doesn’t feel fair in the context of the value created, then they simply won’t provide their consent. Game over.
I have been on this topic now for a few years and seen so many perspectives, from the marketing people who say they will rely on legitimate interests to the privacy officers who say almost everything should rely on consent.
The fact is that relying on Legitimate Interest does two things:
1. It places a heavy responsibility on the business to prove that it is a legitimate interest
2. It is loaded with potential to invite a backlash from data subjects who don’t agree
When relying on Legitimate Interest, it is strongly recommended that you make Opt Out easy and frictionless. Don’t send this person through some process of evaluation unless it is of high value interest to the business, such as fraud protection.
Focusing on value for the customer is the key. If you can demonstrate that, then you have a good use case and are likely to be successful relying on consent. This will give the business a solid privacy position for regulator discussions, as well as a quality audience who actively bought into the processing of their data. Served right, these customers can become advocates on the back of the value delivered and your base grows organically.
One thing is for sure, marketing is going to change. Campaign managers will have to start with the audience first, getting them to Opt In, before they can then hope to convert them with the campaign itself. A willing audience is good for business. They know why they are receiving inbound marketing or why that pair of shoes they were looking at yesterday is suddenly advertised to them on another website. The creepy factor is gone.