Marketing and GDPR: Key Considerations for Compliance and Maintaining Customer Trust
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of regulations designed to strengthen individuals’ rights over the collection, use, and storage of their personal data. Adopted in 2016 and enforced since May 2018, its purpose is to provide a single set of rules to protect the personal data of EU citizens. It applies to all businesses and organizations that process personal data of EU citizens, regardless of their location. The regulation aims to harmonize rules at the EU level and ensure that individuals have more control over their data. If you are a marketer, it is crucial to comply with the GDPR to avoid penalties and maintain customer trust. Here are some key considerations to help you ensure your marketing and communication efforts comply with the GDPR.
The Seven Key Principles of GDPR
All companies and organizations that handle the personal information of EU citizens must comply with the GDPR and its seven key principles. These principles include:
- Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency
Data processing must be lawful, fair, and transparent, with a clear legal basis for processing. Individuals must be informed about how their data will be used and provide explicit consent for processing.
- Purpose Limitations
Personal data must be collected for a specific, explicit, and legitimate purpose and should not be used for purposes incompatible with the original intent.
- Data Minimization
Companies must collect only the necessary personal data for the specified purpose and avoid gathering excessive information.
Personal data must be accurate, regularly updated, and mechanisms should be in place to correct or erase inaccurate data.
- Limitation of Storage
Personal data should be retained only for as long as necessary for the intended purpose and securely deleted thereafter.
- Integrity and Confidentiality
Personal data must be processed with appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorized or unlawful processing and protect against accidental loss, destruction, or damage.
- Accountability and Compliance
Companies must demonstrate GDPR compliance by implementing technical and organizational measures, such as data protection policies and procedures, and be prepared to demonstrate compliance upon request.
Key Considerations for GDPR Compliance in Marketing and Communication Activities
Here are key considerations for ensuring GDPR compliance in your marketing and communication activities:
- Clearly Collect Consent
Individuals must provide explicit consent for one or more specified and legitimate purposes. Ensure that your company clearly describes why personal data is collected and explicitly indicates the specific purpose(s) for which the data will be used. Individuals must have the ability to withdraw or amend their consent as easily and quickly as they provided it.
- Document Your Collection and Processing
Your company must be able to prove that personal data has been collected, processed, and stored in accordance with the GDPR. Specify the intended use of the information you are collecting and record the date, purpose, and method of personal data collection and processing.
- Maintain Up-to-Date Email Marketing Lists
Your company must demonstrate that it has obtained the subject’s explicit consent in a GDPR-compliant manner. Use double opt-in for new subscriptions to mailing lists and reacquire consent from subscribers on your email marketing lists if no registered consent exists. Ensure that your contacts can withdraw their consent or change their preferences.
Consents for cookies must be clearly expressed through a positive act and must be given before any action for which they are being asked can start. Users must be able to easily adjust their preferences or withdraw their consent at any time. Store and renew consents annually.
- Make Your Marketing and Communication as Accurate as Possible
Ensure that your marketing keeps accurate records, especially regarding consents, and that you can promptly delete, correct, or complete individuals’ personal data upon their request at any time. Be clear about the data that needs to be collected and minimize the data in your company’s possession. Specify the use of data for automatic analysis and personalization purposes when requesting consent.
Maintaining Customer Trust Through GDPR Compliant Marketing Activities
I hope that these key considerations for GDPR compliance in marketing and communication activities have been helpful. However, it is important to note that this content is for informational purposes only. For legal or professional advice on privacy and personal data issues, I recommend visiting the European Commission’s page on rules for personal data protection, both inside and outside the EU, and consulting with a certified specialist.