The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has sparked a lot of anxiety among marketers. But this new regulation doesn't have to be the roadblock that many marketers perceive it to be. In fact, it presents an opportunity not only to protect buyers but also to improve your marketing.
In the new Forrester report "GDPR and the B2B Marketer", Principal Analyst Lori Wizdo states: "While many companies are still coming to terms with the necessity of the GDPR, firms in the vanguard are viewing the regulation as an opportunity to improve their data governance and adapt to the demands of their customers."
So now that GDPR has rolled out, here's what you should know to make sure you're doing everything right.
What is GDPR, and Why Do Marketers Need to Pay Attention?
GDPR is the European Union's new regulation on data protection. Any company that conducts business or collects data from customers and prospects in the EU - even those not headquartered there - must be prepared to comply by May 25, 2018.
If you want to understand the specifics of GDPR, you can learn more here: https://www.eugdpr.org/.
GDPR carries implications across departments, from data management to IT. But for marketing specifically, the new regulation requires a deep dive into data practices, not just to ensure compliance, but ultimately, to position them to drive better results.
With that in mind, here are 3 main takeaways and practices for B2B marketers.
3 Considerations for B2B Marketers Preparing for GDPR
Understand that data access is a privilege, not a right
As scrutiny around business data grows, so does the need to maintain trust with buyers. Marketers, therefore, should think of user information as earned, not owned. With GDPR empowering individuals to more easily revoke data privileges, marketers need to treat these personal insights as something people loan out - and through their own free will.
That means eliminating invasive marketing tactics that alienate buyers, such as repeatedly targeting them with irrelevant or unhelpful offers. It also requires companies be transparent about how they use data, particularly with automated marketing tactics.
Think bigger when it comes to acquiring valuable buyer and prospect data
Because inbound efforts only provide so much insight into the larger market, you may have limited access to data. Inbound leads from organic search, for example, only give you a glimpse of your total addressable market and the active demand (those that are in market now) that exists within that market.
Rather than relying solely on your own first-party data, to expand your access to active demand, you should work with third-party data providers who can widen your reach and help you gain more accurate insights with greater breadth and depth. With third-party sources, you glean more complete information about individuals and their buyer journeys. The right data provider can highlight contextually relevant behavior, associate it to specific timeliness and motivations and target the exact people who exhibited it.
Companies with solid, trustworthy data about the right buyers will not only fare better under new regulations but also improve their marketing results across the board.
Source data efficiently and ethically
Whether sourcing data externally through partners or through your own systems, you always should follow best practices.
Keep in mind that not all third-party providers are equal. GDPR makes it especially important to trust the data sources from your partners, since this isn't just about marketing performance but also your entire business.
Say you're leading demand generation and have purchased lists from a company without consent. You can no longer blame the vendor - now it's your problem.
But apart from the legal implications, this is an opportunity to improve ROI from your sourcing strategies. Ask yourself: What sources lead to high-quality opportunities? These are the ones to prioritize as you seek to make your marketing processes more efficient.
GDPR will compel you to improve standards and tactics to better serve buyers
If you're smart, GDPR won't kill you; it will just make you stronger. New regulations should compel marketers to improve their tactics to better serve their buyers. By instituting higher standards now, your business will be better armed to thrive in a more responsible data-driven market. About the Author: Garrett Mann is the Director of Content Marketing at TechTarget.