Article

Ian Woolley
Ian Woolley 3 January 2018
Categories B2B, Research, Technology

Privacy, consent, and the new value exchange: Be ready for GDPR

With GDPR around the corner, Ensighten's research reveals marketers' attitudes to the regulation. Three quarters of UK marketers believe that GDPR will make them modernise their approach to customer engagement and interaction. With the 25th May fast approaching, businesses are required to understand the new General Data Protection Regulation and how its significant changes to data collection will impact their business and every customer interaction.

I sincerely hope that everyone reading this, whether marketer, business exec or technologist, understands the new General Data Protection Regulation and the significant changes to data collection and use it brings into force early next year.

Research into the attitudes of marketers indicates that three quarters of UK marketers believe GDPR will make them modernise their approach to customer engagement and interaction, and improve their customer experience. If they believe it, they will make it so.

If you’re of a similar mind, here’s a few factors to consider around how brands can go about using GDPR as a strategic opportunity.

Changing the terms of the value exchange – and the brand’s web presence

The regulation states that organisations must get explicit consent from consumers before they can market to them. On the plus side, this does away with digital marketing wastage. It also means companies have a legal requirement to ensure clear communication of the processes and parameters for data use. A big part of this is having visibility of which third parties are tag piggybacking on your website. This is an issue that marketers should get a handle on now, both to get ready for next year’s deadline and to improve the website experience.

From the get-go, or first contact with a customer, everything about data collection changes. For most brands, this is the website. Right now, research shows that confusion still reigns around accountability for GDPR compliance. Businesses have a legal requirement to ensure clear communication of the processes and parameters for data use, across all digital channels regardless of who runs them. Yet despite this, 46 per cent of UK marketers believe their company isn’t responsible for data collection across all digital properties.

For the website, one of the biggest challenges in this area is getting visibility of which third parties are ‘tag piggybacking’ on web pages. What lies beneath a seemingly simple website is often a complex web of unauthorised and even unknown JavaScript tags that piggyback off one another and cause compliance nightmares, each collecting visitor data and sharing it with the technology providers for every digital element of the page.        

An opportunity for the future – with due consent

Two thirds of UK marketers (66%) see GDPR as a strategic opportunity. Yet right now 42 per cent know that their brand websites are not yet compliant.

Managing the required technology changes sooner will not only get the website ready for the May deadline, but it will go a long way to improving the overall user experience – and ensuring that customers aren’t confused by a sudden new look and consent option in May. The sooner communications begin, changes are signposted and explained, the sooner real trust is created. And whilst this is to a great extent a marketing and customer care department challenge, the technology platform is what everything relies on to function efficiently, effectively – and compliantly.

It comes down to the technology platform to create the brand trust consumers will become increasingly aware of as brands shoulder greater responsibilities in protecting personally identifiable information. Additionally, it falls to the tech team to manage the process of visitor audit trails, which must be made available upon regulatory request.

All sites will require a consent manager so that visitors may directly view, change and withdraw consent for various data uses at any time. These will need to be connected to all the different technologies and third party suppliers that manage the various web operations a site requires.

Indeed, connecting these elements of privacy, consent, company and third party data, and sharing them appropriately, will be fundamental to modern business success in 2018.

This places accountability on marketers to know what’s happening across their digital channels. Unsurprisingly confusion still reigns around GDPR, particularly when it comes to third parties and suppliers – with that 46 per cent believing their company isn’t responsible for data collection across all its digital properties. UK brands work with five digital marketing suppliers on average, yet less than half of them (43%) have had conversations about GDPR with suppliers and discussed implications for online marketing.

The digital saviour

Proper GDPR adherence, and one that simultaneously offers a better value exchange for all concerned, hinges around personalised 1:1 privacy consent for all web visitors. At least as far as website compliance. The most elegant solution may be for most organisations to deliver customer consent overlays directly onto web pages. This gives visitors a positive experience with respect to consent communications – and simplified control over data collection by various marketing technologies. Given the global reach of the web, being able to easily customise privacy choices to match all local languages will be a crucial element that may play a big impact in the way customers respond to their new rights.

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