This morning I have been procrastinating…tweaking website content, responding to emails, even jotting down ideas for this blog, all to delay the inevitable for as long as possible. Today is the day – I am taking GDPR by the horns.
Every business is quaking somewhat due to the magnitude of GDPR and its implications; let’s face it, 20 million euros is not insignificant in terms of a fine! I have reams upon reams of content to read on the subject and numerous actions to carry out to ensure we are not only compliant, but leading the way on the matter; but as I was about to plug myself in to a two-hour webinar on GDPR, I got thinking about Mark Zuckerberg’s recent apology over Facebook’s involvement with the Cambridge Analytica scandal. I rewatched him grovelling on CNN and came to a realisation that actually, we shouldn’t all be scared of GDPR and how it will affect business going forward…it is a much-needed regulation and an opportunity to build trust with our customers.
Last year, The Economist stated that the world’s most valuable asset was no longer oil, but data. The world has changed and we all must be accountable – businesses and consumers – for the information we hold and share. By the end of January 2018, there were 2.2 billion active monthly users on Facebook, making it the most popular social network. Back in 2012, the research team at Facebook revealed that there are 2.5 billion content items shared, 2.7 billion Likes, 300 million photos uploaded and 500+ terabyte data ingested every single day on the platform. That is a staggering amount of data…and that was six years ago. It is hardly surprising that they haven’t dropped the ball sooner. Zuckerberg seems genuinely set on a change of procedures for the social network and with GDPR fast approaching, it can’t come at a better time for users. Facebook are furiously investigating the thousands of apps which access personal data on the site, as well as implementing procedures for data regulations, restrictions and app accessibility. They will also have stringent changes in place to cater for the EU users who will be protected by GDPR come May 25th.
So, personal data and the way it is ‘safeguarded’ is very much under the microscope, but what changes do companies affected by GDPR need to make? Well, the rules aren’t 100% clear, the guidelines even less so, but the principle is simple. The needs of the customer are centric to everything a business does and how they operate their sales and marketing. Actually, this is something we already believe in as it is relatively pivotal to the inbound process we know and love. The client, consumer, customer, audience, whomever you deal with should be central to everything you do and all your marketing should revolve around them and their requirements. And if they don’t want to hear from you, then that is their choice. “But what about all of the data I might have to delete?!” Well, this ‘data cleanse’ can be seen as an opportunity, as it enables you to be far more targeted in your messaging, whilst talking to an audience you know is already engaged and who trusts you as a content provider – that in itself is worth its weight in gold. Quality not quantity.
There are obviously 101 items on the GDPR checklist, which CEO’s across the county will be busy digesting and applying to their business (if not they should speak to Zuckerberg!), but I will not go into them here. So, we at Sherpa are going to do everything we can to make sure we are not only fully compliant with GDPR, but also learn from the mistakes of others and ensure we are putting our clients first. For all businesses, this is a great opportunity to recalibrate, evaluate methods, become more efficient and optimise procedures.
Before we know it GDPR will be here and we will be ready. And on that note, I had better stop procrastinating…I’ve got a webinar to attend!
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