The Synthio Blog

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Make the Most of Your Data: How the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Will Impact Your Marketing Efforts & Database

With Q3 in the books and 2018 just on the horizon, the GDPR is an ever-looming presence for companies who are located (or conduct business) in the European Union. The new regulations take effect on May 25th, 2018, so if your organisation has been dragging its feet on preparing for GDPR compliance, there is still time, but you must act now.


They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and when it comes to the GDPR, your company cannot transition into GDPR compliance overnight either. In a survey released in mid-2017, it was revealed that, according to IT professionals, a surprisingly low number of companies have begun to prepare for the GDPR. Forty percent of U.K. IT pros have already started preparations, but only 28% and 5% of IT departments in the E.U. and U.S. (respectively) have started to get ready for the regulations.


The complexity of the GDPR can seem overwhelming, but here are a few key components of the regulations that you should keep in mind:**


  • Data subjects have increased rights, including the right to entirely opt out of communications, as well as data portability (i.e. individuals may obtain and reuse their personal data for their own purposes across different services)
  • A data breach must be reported within 72 hours of a company becoming aware of a breach
  • Any company in any location who targets their goods and services to European citizens must comply with the GDPR
  • Individuals must explicitly consent to be sent marketing materials, and consent is on a granular basis (i.e. separate permission must be gathered to send the same person various marketing materials)


Campaign for Consent


A recent study by W8 Data found that roughly three-quarters of customer data held within U.K. organisations’ marketing databases will become ‘useless’ when the GDPR is introduced.


This is largely because, after the GDPR, marketers must be able to prove that their existing data meets the new GDPR standards and demonstrate a fully documented permission trail that includes the data and source of consent.


In fact, one in three marketing campaigns in the U.K. right now are exclusively focused on gathering consent. The impending GDPR has sparked a shift in emphasis for GDPR-affected marketers; the goal is no longer to spread brand awareness and acquire/retain customers. Instead, marketers are scrambling to secure consent from their contacts


As such, the months leading up to the GDPR would be best-spent casting a wide net to potential prospects in order to secure consent from as many contacts as possible before the GDPR regulations are imposed. Marketers can locate net-new contacts and expand the breadth of their messaging in order to build the largest-possible contact list of consenting prospects whose contact data will still be usable once the GDPR is fully implemented.


Make Sure Your Database is as Clean, Accurate, and as Detailed as Possible


Making a concerted effort to maintain a clean database should be an essential practice for all B2B marketers, but for marketers who will be affected by the GDPR, cleansing your data is absolutely vital to prevent your data from becoming unusable.


A mere 35% of organisations have a regular data cleansing process in place. In a post-GDPR world, however, that percentage is bound to increase, as regular maintenance and quality checks will be necessary to ensure that opted-in data remains compliant and, therefore, usable.


Failing to maintain your database can hurt you more and more over time. If records aren’t properly updated, it’s possible you could have consent to market to contacts that are unusable, simple because your data doesn’t properly represent accurate information.


Nearly 70 percent of data held by enterprises is redundant, obsolete, or trivial. That means that up to 70 percent of your existing data could be useless, but its very existence in your database increases your liability and ups your odds of being uncompliant with the GDPR.


Use the GDPR as an opportunity to clean your database and securely organise your existing data; an accurate, efficiently managed database will position you well to market more effectively while protecting the interests of your company and respecting the rights of your data subjects.




For companies who fall under the scope of the GDPR, failure to comply with regulations poses hefty repercussions. After May 25, 2018, GDPR regulators will be able to impose punitive damages as high as 20M euros ($23.5 M USD) on organizations who fail to adhere to the GDPR’s data requirements. The stakes are incredibly high for organisations that fall under the discretion of the GDPR, and if you haven’t already started to prepare, you need to begin to strategise.


Just in case the gravity of the GDPR hasn’t settled in yet, how about this:

Veritas recently surveyed 900 organizations and found that nearly half (47%) of businesses fear they won’t meet GDPR requirements, and eighteen percent of those businesses are worried that non-compliance could potentially put their organisations out of business.

With such grave repercussions, it’s imperative to get your data in order now and get ahead of the curve before the GDPR is in full effect.


**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.