GDPR in Scotland: How will it impact marketing?

There has been a huge amount of hype in the run up to the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force as of next week (25th May!) and rightly so. Failure to comply could mean fines of up to €20 million or 4% of your annual turnover, so the stakes are high.

While on the surface, the introduction of GDPR might seem extreme, especially for small and start-up businesses, and overly complicated (it is!), it’s actually a great thing for the marketing industry.

GDPR in Scotland and beyond is all geared towards one thing: protecting our privacy and giving us more control over our data and that means it will force businesses to ensure their marketing activity is more targeted and more tailored than ever before. And that means better results. I mean, who really gets a return on sending out spammy emails to a mass database? And what good does it do your business storing people’s contact details who are never going to buy from you?!

Here are the main areas you’ll need to focus on from a marketing perspective:

Clean your database

Under the new ruling, you’ll need to prove you have received consent from anyone in your database. It’s not good enough to simply give them an option to opt out, it means that every contact in your database must have specified that they are happy to be contacted by you. Proof of consent is fundamental to the new GDPR ruling!

The best way to do this is to go through your database and run a resubscription campaign (you haven’t got long left to do this so get cracking!) asking your existing contacts to re opt in to hear from you. Your database will shrink, but you’ll have a much more engaged and targeted list of contacts as a result.

The other thing to note is you’ll need just one centralised database – no random excel spreadsheets containing contact details saved on the server, or worse on your employees’ desktops. Just make sure all your contacts are in one CRM system.

Follow email and content marketing best practice

Once you’ve got your database in order, you’ll need to review all your email and content marketing campaigns and ensure that moving forward, they comply with the new regulations.

This means:

  • If you are asking for contact details in exchange for a piece of content, you must clearly specify on the landing page which content the user will receive in exchange for their details and then be sure you only send them that content.
  • No more adding contacts straight to your newsletter and sales list – if you want to send them your newsletter and sales collateral, they will need to opt in separately to receive this. The best way to do this is to add additional opt in boxes to your landing page content.

Be very tailored in your media pitching

Enter the grey area. In addition to consent, if you can prove that you have a legitmitate business reason for contacting someone, this seems to be ok under the new GDPR ruling. But this means you need to be incredibly targeted with any media pitching you do. No more pitching out your latest product release to a mass list of journalists (this NEVER works so please don’t do it GDPR or no GDPR!).

If you pitch a story to a journalist that is of no relevanece to them whatsoever, they may well request that you remove them from your database, which means you can never contact them again under the right to be forgotten, even if your next story is relevant to them. So be super targeted in who you approach with your story – limit your media list to only those journalists who you know will be interested in what you have to say. If you are not sure, do not contact them.

The potential fines for a company in breach of the new GDPR requirements are incredibly high, which has led to an element of panic among businesses in preparation for the introduction of the new ruling next week. But the trick is not to overcomplicate it. Clean up your database, follow email and content marketing best practice (remember you must be clear on what someone will receive in exchange for their details) and ensure your media pitching is highly targeted and you’ll actually start to see a better return on your marketing activity. So while GDPR in Scotland is a headache in the short-term, it’s a blessing in the long-run.

If you are looking to boost your marketing efforts this year, get in touch. We’d love to chat through your requirements over a coffee. We are on or +44(0)131 526 3190

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