GDPR – The business benefits to the end of ‘business as usual’


It is widely accepted that GDPR spells the end to digital marketing ‘business as usual’. However, when it comes to the collection, storage and use of customers personal data, an upturning the ‘status quo’ is needed.

There are many articles out there discussing the benefits of GDPR for the individual. After all, the legislation attempts to put the user back in the ‘drivers seat’ in the way their personal data is used, and give them peace of mind regarding its security. This article doesn’t seek to shed light on these benefits, instead, focus on the benefits businesses can garner from GDPR. The legislation who’s rapidly approaching May 25th deadline has shaken the foundation of digital world.

Amid the current cloud of scandals – surrounding the use, collection, and storage of customers personal information – legislation pushing businesses toward greater openness and enhanced data protection stands to greatly benefit their public image, ensuring they appear more customer centric, whilst also providing the possibility of greater returns on their investment.

Broader Customer Centricity

The first GDPR benefit to businesses is the consequential shift towards perceived broader customer centricity, a result of transparency and digital security regulation. The benefit is magnified if a business applies the required changes towards GDPR compliance across all territories, painting the image of a forward-thinking business with a ‘customer first’ mentality.

Transparency develops trust

One of GDPR’s key tenants is transparency. Transparency with the user regarding what data a business wants, why it needs it, how it will be used, and paired with the necessity for customer consent. Although companies may worry this will harm their ability to collect personal information, the true benefit of candidness is that the customer is less likely to feel cheated out of their data, and the business can begin to foster greater trust.

Scandals and bad PR surrounding ethically shady data practices has left customers feeling violated, their personal data swindled for a quick buck. A recent study found 81% customers were more likely to share their personal information with a business once GDPR had been enacted. Through (legally mandated) transparency and consent, a business can articulate the quid-pro-quo relationship, and allow their customers to feel they’re treated as valued clients rather than data sets.

Security portrays responsibility

While GDPR’s transparency regulations can allow a business to foster customer trust with how their personal data is used, its security requirements benefit them by providing customers ‘peace of mind’ with how their data is stored.

A 2017 Cyber Security Breaches survey by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport stated 70% of large UK firms suffered from cyber-attacks. With customers personal information (from names to bank account details) on the line, the worries customers have about their data aren’t unfounded. A FireEye report stated 75% of customers will no longer do business with a brand who suffered from a data breach after a failure to prioritise security. Customers want to feel their data is valued, and the GDPR legislation should be treated by businesses as the catalyst they need to allow users to feel their company is responsible with their personal information. That their trust is well placed.

Streamlining increases Efficiency

The GDPR legislation’s business benefits extend beyond a perceived increase in customer centricity. GDPR’s May initiation will facilitate the spring cleaning companies likely need when it comes to data management.

A study in the run up to GDPR claimed 60-80% of the data a company held was either obsolete or irrelevant. Although the task of scrutinising data, and justifying its value, seems daunting, the long-term benefits to their bottom line can be seen through increased efficiency. Removing those dead-end leads will free up time and money for them to spend personalising messages to customers who actually want to hear from them.

Cutting out the clutter, and streamlining data, could also lead to an increased return on investment. Eliminating wasted resources, and freeing them up for other necessary aspects of their customer relationship management!

Final Thoughts

GDPR will have a profound impact on the way companies use, manage, and store their customers data. It very much is the end of ‘business as usual’ for digital marketing. However, this is not a bad thing. This article has set out that GDPR could have enormous benefits for marketers – through ensuring greater transparency, security, and increased efficiency. This will allow businesses to step out from the shadow of suspicious scandals, and portray an image to the public that they can be trustworthy, responsible, and put the customer first.