Similar to the passing of the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) in 2014, the 2016 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) proposed by the European Union (EU) has caused quite a stir in the digital marketing community. Just last month, the EU finished drafting the GDPR and made the provisions public. Final approval of the GDPR is expected early this year. Once approved, the new regulations will go into effect three days afterward, followed by a two-year transition period. This two-year transition period between approval and enforcement may make it easy to ignore initially, but the GDPR metes stiff penalties that require businesses to assess their current data collection process and implement a GDPR compliance strategy. But what exactly does the GDPR require?

Unlike the United States, the EU operates under an opt-in model of informed consent, instead of an opt-out model. Because of this, the GDPR requires explicit consent from consumers for the right to collect and use their personal data. Consent must also be given for each specific purpose, instead of being included together under one clause. This enables consumers to better protect their personal data by choosing how their data is collected and shared. As a result, third party marketing data will become increasingly difficult to obtain and use. The GDPR also grants consumers the right to be forgotten. When consumers evoke this right, businesses must delete their personal data so third parties can no longer store or use it. Under the GDPR, consumers will also be able to stipulate when and why businesses can contact them. So what does your business need to do to ensure GDPR compliance?

Begin by assessing your business's current consumer information database. Even if your business only operates within the United States, you may've still collected and stored data from consumers in the EU. To avoid fines and penalties from GDPR, you need to maintain detailed records of consumer consent. Many marketing automation systems can help you to keep track of where your contacts are coming from and ensure the opt-in permissions you receive from them are compliant. It's also important to realize that understanding consumer data is far more important than collecting it. By analyzing your stored consumer data, your business can know the types of digital content your customers and prospects actually want, ensuring your marketing materials stay in their inbox instead of being deleted.

In the Information Age, consumer data protection and right to privacy are global concerns. As today's digital marketers focus on providing consumers with more engaging and relevant content, these issues are becoming increasingly important. Contact Foremost Media today and find out how we can help!