The GDPR is an opportunity. Time to embrace it. – OpenMarket

OpenMarket – May 2, 2018

The GDPR isn’t just red tape. It’s an opportunity for brands to show empathy towards their customers and put them at the heart of everything they do. Discover how you can make the new regulation work for you.

Consider for a moment just how much you rely on customer data. It gives you deep insights into your customers’ habits. It lets you improve your customer experience. And crucially, it helps you sell more.

Quite simply, it’s probably your biggest and most valuable asset.

So why would you treat it with any less rigor than, say, your organization’s hardware, or indeed brand protection?

With the arrival of the GDPR (general data protection regulation) – the European Union’s answer to whipping organizations into shape – brands now have a new set of data laws to abide by.

But our question is, why haven’t we all been applying these rules and logic anyway?

The GDPR highlights a bunch of things that brands really should have been doing all along. And this new regulation is a chance to put things straight.

We’ve simplified what you need to know about the GDPR, and put together examples of how you can use it as an opportunity to drive empathy, and put your customers first.

The GDPR explained

A quick search for the ‘GDPR’ will throw up literally millions of results. We’re going to bet your inbox is full of it too (ironic, right?). And if you were to take every article at face value, you’d be forgiven for thinking the GDPR will change your organization forever, and you’ll be slapped with an epic fine if things go wrong.

But if we’re all honest with ourselves, brands should already have been doing most of this stuff already. If you’re facing big changes for compliance – then you’re probably not doing the best by your customers, and now is the opportunity to change that.

Here are the requirements of the GDPR (in plain English):

  1. Tell people exactly why and how you’re going to use their data – ensure everyone in your organization is absolutely clear who signed up for what
  2. Make sure data is only collected for a specified purpose – forget about using those newsletter sign-ups for anything else
  3. Enable users to view, change, and delete their data themselves – but then, why wouldn’t you give them complete control
  4. Only store data you actually need – make sure to delete everything else
  5. Give web users the option to opt out of web tracking – how would you like if you were being monitored in your home?
  6. Keep data only for as long as necessary and get rid of inactive contacts – this is also a great way to boost your marketing stats
  7. Process data securely – that means storing and transporting it on up-to-date infrastructure (the opposite of spreadsheets on a USB drive)

The GDPR is an opportunity

The most empathetic and customer-orientated brands are using the GDPR as an opportunity to get closer to their customers – rather than simply viewing it as a box-ticking exercise.

In fact, we firmly believe that brands who actively embrace the GDPR will quickly beat their competitors who simply focus on the penalties for non-compliance.

Getting that head start is easier than you think – and one of the best communication tools in the compliance kit-box is right within your grasp.

It’s SMS – of course. And here are three easy ways to use it.

Clean up your act with a text

If you’re a large organization, you’ll likely have warehouses full of data. Even smaller brands will likely be storing data they no longer have any use for.

Under the GDPR, that’s an issue. Because if you can’t justify why you’re holding certain data, it needs to be purged.

And let’s be honest, what good is old data to you? If anything, it’s making your open rates look pretty dismal. That’s no good for anyone.

So take the easy first step and send automated texts to your contact database for information updates and confirmations. This ensures the data you have is correct, and any non-responders can be easily deleted.

Easy permission management

Giving your customers the opportunity to view and manage their own data is a key component of the new regulations, and after all, it makes them feel in control of their data and how it’s used. (Check out our preference center here if you’d like to update yours)

Keep in mind however, the last thing your customers want is the ability to change their preferences, only to find that the process is incredibly complicated and time-consuming.

And the pressure that puts on your call center? Well, that doesn’t bear thinking about.

That’s where SMS comes in. Text enables your customers to send simple keywords from their phone such as ‘access’, ‘update’, or ‘delete’ to a dedicated number. The request is then cross-checked with their number against your database, and hey presto: your systems automatically respond.

Keep SMS in your toolkit in case the worst happens

The GDPR is designed to prevent data breaches. But in reality, leaks happen – even when best practices have been followed.

Now the damage may already have been done, but brands can still show they take things seriously, by having processes already on stand-by to deal with the worst.

That means communicating quickly with your customers to resolve the issue, protecting their data, and generally reassuring them that you’re on it.

Text messaging is the obvious choice. Not only is it one of the fastest ways to reach your customers, you’ll also be confident in the knowledge that they’ve read your message.

What’s more, messages can be easily personalized, so your customers know the message is genuine.

The GDPR: it’s as easy as SMS

Complying with the GDPR doesn’t have to be taxing. In fact, as an empathetic, customer-focused marketer, you’re already ahead.

Think of it as a moment to optimize your database, and concentrate your efforts on a more focused list of customers.

If you’d like some tips on how to be more empathetic in your marketing, we’re more than happy to help, just give us a shout. We’d love to share what we know.

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