The one topic that’s been hot on everyone’s lips over the past couple of months is that of the forthcoming EU Data Protection reforms, taking place within the next 12-24 months.
What to do? Following these simple steps can help you to prepare in time.
If you’ve missed the noise around it then you’ll not be aware of what’s happening.
To put it simply, the EU Commission have proposed to EU Parliament a number of changes to data protection regulation, designed to improve security around internet consumer data.
The way the rules & regulations surrounding data protection are currently enforced make it difficult for action to be taken against companies who misuse consumer data. There have been a number of security breaches in recent years and companies have been concentrating on collecting sometimes too much information, rather than focussing on how to process and store that data safely.
But that’s all set to change.
The reforms have been outlined in order to restore credibility to the Data Protection Act (DPA) and to reduce the level of risk to consumer’s who share their data with us.
They see the introduction of;
- New regulations around how you collect consumer data and how much information you ask for
- New permission-based rulings, relating to the specific types of campaigns you send and the consent you obtain
- Limitations to how long you can keep a consumer’s data after they cease to engage with your brand
- A consumer’s ‘right to be forgotten’
- The introduction of stricter-than-ever enforcement and large, on the spot fines
Why do I need to pay attention?
These changes mean business.
They’ve been designed with strict enforcement and large fines of up to €100million euros or 5% of a company’s annual revenue, whichever is larger.
What’s important to point out is that the planned reforms don’t just affect email marketing; they’ll have an impact on any kind of direct marketing you send. Following a few simple steps can help you to prepare in time;
1. Carry out an audit
Auditing your current practices is the best place to start, looking at; what data you currently collect, how you collect it, what campaigns you send, how you store data and how you delete or remove data you no longer need.
Collectively, this information will help you get a broad picture for what you currently do. Applying the changes to this bigger picture will then help you to identify potential areas which need to change, so that you can see what you need to do to comply.
2. Take a close look at your campaigns
Looking specifically at the campaigns you send is the second thing you should do. Looking closely at the campaigns you currently send or the ones you want to send in the future is the best way of determining what data you need; the data which will power these campaigns. Knowing this, you can then determine if you’re asking for the right information or if you’re asking for too much.
3. Plan ahead
Now that you know what changes need to be made and what data you need to collect in order to send your campaigns, you can plan ahead. It’s best to start making changes as soon as you can, so that you’re not working to a tight deadline when the data of the reforms taking place is announced. Creating a plan made up of a breakdown of what you and your team need to do will help you work efficiently towards ensuring you’ll comply with the reforms.
It’s best to start looking at your current practices and how they’ll stand up against the reforms as soon as you can.
You need to be able to prove you have a consumer’s consent to send to them, so you should also start to re-collect permissions from your current audiences. This includes reengaging with your lapsed customers and deleting their data if they no longer wish to hear from you.
To keep up to date you can keep posted with EU Parliament news and with social conversations around the reforms, via #EUDP. You can stay up to date with help and advice around the issue by following Communicator’s EU Data Protection reform series by looking at the guide to what’s coming.
Image by smlp.co.uk (cc)