If the authorities deem a marketing company or department to be in breach of GDPR rules, then they have the power to lay down heavy fines. Such rulings are designed to deter marketing organizations from holding unnecessary data, outdated data, and data that has been requested to be removed by the individuals it is stored on. For digital marketers especially, where the collection of client and public data often occurs, ensuring privacy regulations are properly adhered to can make all the difference with such rulings.
In other words, marketers have to show that they have applied with the spirit of the GDPR rules as well as the letter of the law. If you are open and transparent with your activities regarding client confidentiality, for example, then it less likely that a severe ruling will be handed down. On the other hand, marketing professionals who are more guarded in their approach can face the stiffest penalties if they suffer a data breach or their data removal systems are found to have been inadequate.
How should marketing teams manage the data they need to store to do their jobs effectively whilst balancing the rights of organizations and individuals to data privacy? Read on to find out.
First of all, it should be mentioned that many consumers think that businesses are not doing enough to look after their privacy. Although the law has been updated in recent years to counter these concerns, many people still think that their data is not looked after properly. Therefore, marketing professionals can do their brand a great deal of damage if they are not seen to be up-to-date with all the latest privacy rules. Indeed, tarnished reputations may never fully recover following a significant data breach, for example, or when database information is inappropriately shared by marketers.
There is nothing new with using the digital realm to market successfully to current clients or registered users who have shown in an interest in your products and services in the past. That said, if you want to send your latest offers to the email addresses you have in your database, then you will have to gain informed consent for this. Equally, you must now provide a simple means for those people you are reaching out to unsubscribe from your digital marketing activities. Remember that this is not simply about avoiding rulings from digital regulators but making it clear to clients that you take their digital rights seriously. Without such measures in place, you will create the wrong impression which could lead to people being put off procuring your company’s goods and services altogether.
Bear in mind that deleting information and records does not always get rid of it completely. When you delete a client’s email address or other personal details from your database, it may be deleted from a server but their information could still be held on other records or computer terminals. Moreover, deleted data remains accessible if the hard drive can be obtained. Therefore, professionally destroying data with degaussing techniques, erasing all of the data on a drive with software, or physically breaking it up will be necessary to comply fully with the rules and avoid potential data breaches.
Data is necessary for digital marketing. What is held, however, should be appropriate for the sort of marketing activities taking place. It should be held with informed consent and it should be destroyed when it is either no longer needed or when that consent is removed. If marketing professionals put measures in place to handle these considerations effectively, then the worst penalty rulings available to the data authorities should never be handed down.
Author Bio: This article was written by Peter Desmond, Marketing Manager for Wisetek, who are global leaders in IT Asset Disposition, Data Destruction & IT Reuse. Wisetek helps businesses ensure they meet their legislative requirements regarding destroying customer data when it is no longer relevant.