GDPR Preparation: How to Make the Most of Your Non-Compliant Data
There is a flurry of activity surrounding the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as affected companies scramble to prepare for the regulations to be enforced. The GDPR is such a hot-button issue not just because it demands complex, large-scale changes to be made in preparation, but also because the punishments for non-compliance are so severe.
Much of the rhetoric surrounding the GDPR is heavily tinged with an undertone of anxiety, conveyed at every turn through overwhelming stats about the impending demise of contact data, frantic urges to prepare, and an emphasis on the penalties for non-compliance.
One of my favorite panic-inducing GDPR stats derives from a study conducted by W8 Data which reveals that up to 75% of data for U.K. organisations that fall under the GDPR could be rendered ‘useless’ by the regulations.
It’s undeniably alarming that only 25% of existing customer data on average meets the requirements set forth by the GDPR. It’s absolutely understandable that the endemic reaction to the GDPR is one of panic, especially in light of statistics like the one cited above.
However, the mindset perpetuated by the GDPR is so fixated on the reduced percentage of contact data that will be usable after the GDPR that there seems to be little discussion about what to do with all of that leftover, non-compliant data.
There also seems to be something unequivocally problematic about the fact that GDPR rhetoric has begun to equate terms like “unusable” with “non-compliant”.
There needs to be more positive discussions about how to make the most of non-compliant data and seek out the silver lining underlying the GDPR.
The Silver Lining of Non-Compliant Data**
There’s no avoiding the fact that the GDPR will grossly impact the outbound marketing efforts of affected organisations. GDPR-compliant marketers simply won’t be able to cast as wide of a net once the regulations are implemented.
We need a shift in vernacular that moves away from assuming that “non-compliant” data is useless or unusable data, because that’s simply not the case.
What does ‘unusable’ even mean? If you’ve made a concerted effort to keep your database clean, accurate, and up to date, then even non-compliant data can still inform your go-to-market strategy.
Just because the GDPR reduces the number of contacts that you can use in outbound marketing efforts doesn’t mean that those non-compliant contacts suddenly lose their value.
The success of your B2B marketing campaigns and efforts is only partially determined by the breadth and depth of your outreach.
Especially as account-based marketing continues to reign as the marketing strategy du jour, so to speak, it’s more important than ever to leverage the data at your disposal to better understand your buyer.
So while you may not be able to market to all of your contacts, those non-compliant contacts are still entirely usable—and even instrumental—as you dig deeper into understanding buyer intent, crafting buyer personas, and finessing your go-to-market strategy.
Clean Your Database While You Can
That being said, it bears repeating that your non-compliant data can still benefit you if and only if you cleanse and enrich your database before the GDPR is implemented.
As mentioned in our recent blog post on how to leverage your database for more effect permissioning campaigns, only 35% of organisations have a regular data cleansing process in place.
Data cleansing and management should always be a high-priority item for B2B marketers but now more than ever, data cleansing must be at the top of your GDPR compliance checklist.
With such high stakes in place, the consequences of dirty data are so much more drastic; it’s no longer that a failure to cleanse your database just means moderate operational inconvenience or underwhelming email marketing performance.
Failing to cleanse your database as the GDPR looms now means a smaller reach and significantly diminished returns on your campaigns for consent, as well as the loss of your non-compliant data as a resource to inform your go-to-market strategy and understanding of buyer intent.
The Road Ahead
There’s no denying that GDPR-affected organisations should proceed with the utmost urgency and caution as they prepare for the regulations to be implemented. It is entirely necessary to prioritize your preparation efforts while there’s still time to prevent unnecessary repercussions down the road.
That being said, companies that fall under the jurisdiction of the GDPR would do well to focus not just on the small percentage of their data that will be compliant once the regulations are in place.
Rather, organisations impacted by the GDPR should adopt a data-centric approach that focuses not just on how data cleansing and hygiene can increase the percentage of your database that is GDPR-compliant, but also on how data quality can additionally make even your non-compliant data more actionable and usable.
**Please note, this material is for informational purposes only, is general in nature, and is not intended to and should not be relied upon or construed as a legal opinion or legal advice regarding any specific issue or factual circumstance.