We’ve all seen the headlines announcing the imminent enforcement of GDPR – often along with warnings of legal action and potentially crippling fines. Many businesses find it irritating to be forced to update their records, create new procedures and read up on legal frameworks.

But there is another important aspect of this process, which is not discussed as much: The benefits of GDPR. In this post, we take a look at four of the most positive outcomes of a GDPR compliance process.

1. Beat ‘email fatigue’

Over the last decade, we have all gradually become more fed up with the bombardment of marketing emails that face us on a daily basis. We get promotions for products we have no interest in, and newsletters from companies we can’t even remember signing up with.

In many ways, the arrival and enforcement of GDPR is providing the market with a much-needed shake-up. Email marketing as we know it needs to be revolutionised – and shifting the way we think about lists and registrations is an excellent starting point.

2. Become more relevant

As companies start reviewing their email marketing lists and making them GDPR compliant, these lists will in many cases become significantly smaller. Some businesses have reported a 70-80% reduction in list size overnight, which can seem like a tough blow – especially if the business relies heavily on email marketing.

However, while it can feel frustrating to see email lists shrinking dramatically, it is in fact a step in the right direction in terms of marketing efficiency.

Some benefits include…

  • You won’t be annoying people who are not interested
  • Your message can be much more targeted and relevant to your audience
  • Your open rates and engagement rates will increase
  • You are less likely to get a reputation as a spammer

A smaller list but a higher quality one will allow you to see a better return on the time and effort you invest in managing your data, instead of trawling through a large amount of uninterested contacts.

3. Regain control of your data

At the moment, a large number of businesses find themselves doing a GDPR ‘compliance drive’ to get in good shape for the regulation enforcement. This is an excellent opportunity for them to review, analyse and clean their data. For many busy organisations, this is the kind of activity that otherwise often gets pushed to the bottom of the priority list.

GDPR requires you to have documented processes in place for how you register a person’s contact details, how you manage communications with them and how the individual can gain access or delete their details. This is an area where software can make a huge difference. With the help of some basic marketing automation systems, you can create ‘data trails’ where you track your subjects’ journey through various platforms – which gives you tons of intelligence about user behavioural patterns, but also makes it easy for you to share that information with a user should they request it.

These processes will not only benefit the individual but also your business as you will now have a documented workflow to help you work more consistently with data management and have better quality control.

4. Establish clear ownership

Many organisations don’t have a clear idea of who is responsible for the customer data they use. This can be particularly confusing when you’re working with third parties who communicate with customers on your behalf, or vice versa. Who owns the contact information, and who is responsible for keeping their details safe and up to date?

GDPR requires accountability in the form of named data controllers and data processors. You should also have a designated person as a contact point for the Data Protection Authority and for your data subjects, and a Data Protection Officer to monitor compliance when it comes to processing operations.

This is an excellent opportunity to establish clear responsibility and avoid any uncertainty around ownership – limiting risk and liability.

Turning GDPR threats into benefits

Rather than seeing GDPR as a disruption and a threat to your operations, you can approach your various GDPR adjustments as positive opportunities to improve your marketing, increase your engagement levels and raise your reputation as a responsible, transparent organisation.