It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced. It was described as the “first data protection law for the 21st Century”. We’re all in favour of safeguarding the rights of consumers and their data, but it wasn’t exactly a smooth transition.

I’m sure you remember the flood of data privacy emailsoften from companies you’d long forgotten, or marketing lists you didn’t remember signing up to in the first place. Ironically, the regulations devised to protect us from unwanted intrusion had triggered a tsunami of spam.

Many of the emails were so bland they had us reaching for the opt-out button immediately. Othersgot a little more creative with their design and copy.

But let’s spare a thought for marketers. Many of them had to sift through years’ worth of consumer data. And lots of companies had to hire expensive legal guidance. And after sending out GDPR privacy updates, marketing email lists shrank. We’ve heard stories of some lists being decimatedliterallybut then you have to wonder just how badly that list was being managed beforehand.

There were over 200,000 cases of non-compliance reported in the first nine months aloneabout a third were initiated by the report of a breach by a data controller. With about half of those resolved, the fines so far total €56M. Though 90% of that relates to a single case against Google for “lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent regarding ads personalisation”. A number of other high-level cases are reportedly ongoing.

So, was all the effort put in to comply with GDPR worth it? We think the answer is a resounding yes. The marketing data held by companies has been cleaned up and obsolete contacts are gone. The age of lazy email spamming is overit’s now about delivering real value to your consenting target audience. With less contacts, it’s more important than ever that you’re delivering high quality content and that your marketing message hits home. We’ve had several clients ask for our help developing new marketing strategies. This has resulted in some exciting new campaignsand more loyal and engaged customers.

Love it or hate it, the GDPR has certainly pushed marketers out of their comfort zones. Has it changed the way you do business? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Posted by John on 14 May 2019