Happy New GDPR Year!

Maybe the mere mention of GDPR at the beginning of January, when you’ve just got back into work after a festive couple of weeks is something you think you need like a hole in the head. Maybe this wasn’t top of your New Year’s Resolutions list—Make sure we are GDPR compliant before 25th May.

However, the thing to remember is that this new law is for our benefit and the benefit of all our clients, customers and associates. It promises enhanced rights for citizens, greater transparency and increased accountability. How can anyone say that’s not a good thing?

Another thing to remember is that if you’ve kept your data protection up to speed in recent years, the changes you’ll have to make aren’t that massive anyway.

Bust those GDPR myths…

There’s a whole lot of information out there, and misinformation—some of which is a result of several revisions of GDPR, so that some legislation, originally proposed, has not been ratified and will not apply. Here are five of the most common myths which are doing the rounds—entertaining to read about, but not true, or at least, reality heavily embroidered for effect.

Myth # 1 – Massive fines will ensue if your company isn’t compliant

The fact of the matter is that fines could be bigger—£17 million or 4% of turnover is the new maximum—but according to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), this will not become the norm. Minor infringements in the early stages of implementation will not be stamped on and the ICO’s commitment is to guidance and education rather than punishment. ‘Issuing fines has always been, and will continue to be, a last resort,’ says Elizabeth Denham, UK Information Commissioner. While there is no intention of allowing breaches to pass by unnoticed, there are warnings, reprimands and corrective orders in the ICO toolbox before they bring out the mighty sledgehammer of punitive fines.

Myth # 2 – Now that Brexit is going ahead, GDPR rules won’t apply to the UK

Apparently 1 in 4 UK businesses have stopped preparing for GDPR compliance, thinking it won’t apply to them if and when the UK leaves the EU, which is forecast to happen in March 2019. Well, for a start, GDPR enforcement begins 10 months before Brexit is predicted to happen. In addition, the government has issued a statement of intent to instigate a new Data Protection Bill, which will implement GDPR in full.

Myth # 3 – Our company is based in America so GDPR doesn’t count

But…do you offer goods and services to companies or individuals in the UK and the whole of the EU —either resident or visitor—or anyone from Britain or the EU living in a non-EU country? Many companies from across the globe may have offices overseas. If you have to process data from UK/EU citizens or visitors to Europe, including the UK, then, yes, GDPR applies to you.

Myth # 4 – My company data is stored with a cloud service provider, so it’s their responsibility to be compliant, not mine

Wrong – for the most part. You have a high duty of care to anyone for whom you store personal data and, to that end, it’s your responsibility to choose a reputable service provider to hold that sensitive information. You will be held responsible for GDPR compliance relating to your database – though service providers must comply with GDPR requirements too.

Myth # 5 – GDPR doesn’t apply in retrospect, so personal data we already have on our database isn’t subject to GDPR rules.

GDPR rules will apply regardless of when you collected the data—as long as that data is associated with a living person who was in the UK or the EU at the time. As an example, if you have contact information from prospective customers (B2C or B2B) gathered before 25th May 2018, this data must be compliant with GDPR.

Conclusion

Don’t believe everything you read in the media! And always err on the side of caution when it comes to data compliance. Remember that’s both B2C and B2B. If you are struggling with the finer details, at Mailing Expert we’ll be happy to talk you through them.

 

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GDPR – sorting the fact from the fiction

 

Communication Developments in the Last 20 Years

Twenty years ago, what was happening in the world? In no particular order:

  • Tony Blair won a landslide victory in the UK general election
  • Céline Dion was topping the charts with, ‘My Heart Will Go On.’
  • Hong Kong was handed over to China
  • Dolly the sheep was cloned
  • The first Harry Potter book was published

Quite a year, one way and another, and lots to be communicated. How DID we communicate news in those far off days—and how did we make contact with our clients and potential customers on a business level?

Not like that…

Well, for a start, there was no Facebook, which didn’t emerge until February 2004. Today, it’s almost mind-boggling to realise that there are 65 million business pages on Facebook, and a quarter of the world’s population engage with it. It’s a wonderful informal way of interacting with, and building, an audience, and great for encouraging people to visit your website.

We didn’t use Twitter, because it wasn’t created until March 2006. Unbelievably, just 11 years on, Twitter has more than 319 million monthly active users. For your business, it’s an instant way to build connections with a relevant audience, to strengthen your brand, promote new products and services, or simply develop relationships.

We didn’t use image-based Instagram either, to drive customer engagement and sales or impart information in a snappy way to a possible 600 million users. That’s because it wasn’t launched until October 2010. Pinterest was launched at the same time, which enables businesses to create a virtual shop front to promote their products online.

There wasn’t even LinkedIn until 2003, which, although its focus is on job opportunities, serves a valuable function for branding, marketing and sales too, with business pages. Neither were there smart phones—we had to wait for 2007 for those—so our electronic communications were very much desk-based.

…like this

Direct mail, using the postal service! There wasn’t much choice but to use this method in 1997, but it worked—and it still works today. Everyone loves to receive mail, especially if it’s personalised and looks good. You might think it’s an older generation preference, but Royal Mail has carried out a survey which shows that 15-34-year-olds are:

  • 42% more likely to find mail memorable than the UK population as a whole
  • 27% more likely to welcome it
  • 71% more likely to trust it
  • 21% more likely to switch suppliers because of mail

Not for nothing does the Royal Mail’s brochure The Private Life of Mail carry the strapline, Mail in the Home, Heart and Head. The power of Direct Mail must never be underestimated, despite the advancement of all the digital platforms of communication.

Then there was the telephone and face-to-face interaction, which of course will never go out of fashion.

Emails started life in 1965, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They were a way of sharing files and messages for academics. In 1971, American computer programmer Ray Tomlinson, introduced the @ and in 1976, HM the Queen sent her first email. The process was still largely in the domain of academic institutes until 1988, which heralded the arrival of Microsoft Mail. The first commercial Internet Service Providers hit the scene in the early 1990s. Hotmail launched in 1996 and Yahoo Mail in 1997—twenty years ago. Smart marketers realized that email communications were the future and began to make the shift into using email to communicate with customers.

 And our conclusion is:

How lucky we are, in 2017, to have such an abundance of ways to communicate! Each method has its place: each will appeal more to a different demographic, or be more suitable for certain products and services. Things move on with exciting digital developments—but mail through the letterbox will never lose its appeal.

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Always Look on the Bright Side of GDPR!

We’ve been talking about it for a while now, but if you’ve been on an extended trip to Outer Mongolia, you might have missed the news that on 25th May 2018, the UK’s current Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), will be replaced by the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

‘What?’ we hear you saying, ‘We thought we were leaving the EU.’ Well, regardless of what happens with Brexit, the GDPR will be taken on in this country as part of the overall data protection framework—a new Data Protection Bill. It will become law.

Whatever your company situation, now’s the time to review your data protection processes. Quite honestly, it would be madness not to.

GDPR rules OK

Whenever there’s new legislation decreed from above by the faceless minions of Her Majesty’s Government, or, indeed, European bureaucrats, it’s all too easy to fall into grouching and griping about your increased workload and all those documents that must be read, marked, learnt and inwardly digested. But consider this…what if GDPR is the best idea since sliced bread? And there’s us, spending all our time looking for the problems and worrying about piggy-bank-busting fines instead of thinking about the opportunities for B2B and B2C marketing.

Don’t worry, be data happy

The GDPR is not a hindrance to your business, it’s a help. It’s been created to make it easier for you to cater for the needs of your customers and to minimise possible data loss and data breach incidents. Working together, we can build universal best practice

protocols to enhance the way we manage information—and that benefits everyone – except, perhaps, cyber criminals and who wants to benefit them?

The big spring clean

Individuals will need to opt in to receive marketing communications, so for you as a business, this may mean a drastic culling of your database. Surely this is not such a bad thing? What a waste of time sending stuff to people who don’t want to receive it. If they’ve opted in, they’ll be engaged and your click through rate will be higher, without a shadow of a doubt.

Building trust

With the level of transparency that GDPR will surely bring, customers will be less fearful that their personal information will be misused. Not to mention the fact that data breaches are less likely and, therefore, so is the bad PR for your company, which would inevitably be part of the fallout.

Your brand will benefit from that feeling of trust, and, what’s more, customers will then feel confident that they could share more personal data—which will help you to be accurate in your marketing strategy.

Embrace GDPR

That’s what we’re doing at Mailing Expert and we’re happy to support you in doing exactly the same thing for your business. In the well-chosen words of Frank Sinatra, which you could sing out loud if you wish: ‘Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.’

For more information, don’t hesitate to call us at 01825 983033 or send us an email on info@mailingexpert.co.uk.

Mailing Expert