GDPR – It’s here. (Why that’s a good thing!)
The age of GDPR has arrived. The regulations are real, and so are the sanctions for the non-compliant. You need to understand: In this new age of GDPR, using 3rd-party data can expose your company to legal liabilities and reputational risks.
Just this week came news of the first major fine issued by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for a GDPR violation. A parenting advice website (Emma's Diary) has been fined £140,000 after it was accused of illegally collecting data and selling it on to Experian for use by the Labour Party, which used it to profile new mums in the run-up to the 2017 General Election. Whilst the ICO continues to investigate, this clearly illustrates how they are clamping down. The parties here are household names and the fine is sending shockwaves through the industry due largely to the fact of who the parties are.
Navigating the data compliance minefield is not for the faint-hearted, but neither should it be approached with dread. I am one of the generation that grew up being part of the direct and digital marketing revolution. For over 25 years, I have been working with data vendors and am delighted to see the GDPR crackdown that is so long overdue.
Choosing a data provider is more of a challenge than ever before. There are many unscrupulous data sources out there, from simple rule-breakers to those that are quite unmoored from the truth. Vendors will tell you their data is compliant, they will tell you their data is real when it is modelled and based on inferential patterning. (That is not to say there is anything wrong with modelled data provided that the vendor provides full transparency.) And vendors who participate in web scraping should be avoided at all cost as they are in full violation of GDPR.
Any data provider that was not preparing for May 25th and was waiting to see what happens to the industry – just does not get it! They are the data owners who are now selling uncompliant data under the ruse of compliancy or they have been forced to stop selling their European files altogether due to lack of compliancy.
Fortunately, there are also those vendors who have gone above and beyond what is necessary to ensure compliance. Yes, they are few and far between, but they are the ones who will thrive in the era of GDPR.
Yes, you may pay a premium for their data, but isn’t it worth it for the peace of mind that comes from operating within the regulations as well as for the assurance that your target market is receptive to your communications?
GDPR and data compliance are a benefit for both prospecting data providers and their commercial consumers. GDPR has given data owners an opportunity to clean house and it's a win-win for all of us. Make yours a positive experience by associating with partners you trust!