GDPR’s Primary Lesson: Companies Must Take Consumer Trust to a New Level

Even successful enterprises can expect to fall short unless they get a handle on all their customer data—including the consent to use it.

With the implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies are required to do more than ever to solidify relationships with their prospects and customers.

It’s a tall order for most organizations, especially when you consider that consumers have never been as dubious about what companies are doing with their personal information. Headline-grabbing security breaches, rampant data sharing, and personalization overreach have made many consumers jittery, and no doubt contributed to the creation of the new data protection laws.

In the new environment, compliance is mandatory. Fortunately, most businesses are figuring out how to ask for explicit consent when it comes to collecting and using specific data points. In a previous blog post, we explained how to create GDPR-compliant web forms that ask for the proper consent.

Many of our clients are working with off-the-shelf consent solutions that enable prospects and clients to accept web cookies, receive emails, and get social media notifications. Consent management tools can also help in capturing offline permissions from customers at trade shows, in stores, on the phone, or using a connected device over the Internet of Things (IoT).

While restrictions for offline marketing communications are slightly looser than those for online communications, consent received from consumers either in person or on the phone still needs to be documented in order to stay compliant with GDPR.

Consent management is just the beginning

While all enterprise organizations need to focus on compliance, it’s only the first step toward trusted consumer relationships. The key to keeping trust over the long term is consistency. Not only must companies ask for consent in the proper ways, they must also respect those preferences throughout their communications to customers and prospects.

This is where we expect a lot of successful, yet complex enterprises to fall short, unless they get a handle on all the customer data in their possession—including consent preferences.

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An enterprise customer data platform (CDP) supports this process, by eliminating data silos and unifying data across channels. With a CDP, you’ll know where all your prospect and customer data is at all times so you can manage it effectively throughout its lifecycle.

As a tool to act appropriately under GDPR, a CDP gives you a way to keep track of everybody’s contact preferences across your customer databases. Let’s say, for example, that a user opts out of email and that preference is recorded in your marketing automation system. With a CDP, you can sync this preference across your other systems, preventing your salespeople from emailing the customer through Salesforce without knowing that she opted out via Eloqua.

Because data privacy is fluid, your prospects and customers will likely change their minds about the types of consent they give you over time. With a CDP, you can keep track of every consent decision, and use these changes to update the ways in which you plan and execute marketing activities for individuals who update their preferences.

With actionable customer data in one central location—your CDP—your people will know exactly who requested to never be contacted, who allowed contact once a month, who requested emails over phone calls, and who agreed to receive promotions but not display advertising.

Beyond your marketing department, having a CDP can help everyone in your organization manage the following GDPR requirements more effectively:

  • Right to data access
  • Data portability
  • Right to rectification
  • Right to be forgotten
  • Breach notification

It’s important to make compliance a cross-functional conversation, through which you can consider your company philosophy and approach to customer data privacy throughout the entire enterprise.

Consent management can get complicated really fast, but you can significantly simplify the process with a CDP. Our new whitepaper, Building Trust Beyond Compliance, discusses these issues in greater detail and can help you maintain the trust you work so hard to earn every day. Go ahead and download it now!

This valuable paper is just the latest in a series of content pieces designed to help enterprise organizations navigate the new GDPR environment. Our comprehensive Marketer’s Guide to GDPR is another piece you might be interested in, as it offers practical advice on how to update all your communication channels to align with new rules and regulations.

Micki Collart
Micki Collart
Micki is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Treasure Data where she focuses on helping the marketing community learn about customer data platforms, their evolving capabilities and the unique approach to customer experience that Treasure Data empowers.
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