It’s June. We have passed the GDPR enforcement deadline and are slowly adjusting to what life is like now. So… what’s changed?

“GDPR is a pain in the ****”

Since its announcement, I have lost count of the number marketers I’ve heard complain about how the GDPR is making their job harder and how their business will suffer financially for having to adhere to these stricter regulations.

Now, of course, I don’t mean to minimise the pain of change. Adapting is often difficult. However, I do believe that many marketing professionals are completely missing the point of why GDPR is crucial – not just for the protection of individuals’ rights, but for the survival of marketing as a concept.

Time to restore the balance

Let’s be real here: These regulations were not invented to create a data nightmare for the sales and marketing community, but rather to help restore the balance between buyer and seller and reinstate some of the trust that has been abused by players who show little or no respect for the actual human beings behind the database.

As long as we all receive mountains of salesy spam emails on a daily basis and our personal details are being swept around the world like dust-bunnies in the wind, we need change.

Adopting a new mindset

While we’ve all been busy deep-diving into privacy statements and erasure policies and opt-in forms, the biggest shift has happened on a different level. Thanks to the GDPR, we have effectively been forced to adopt the mindset of the customer. The customer’s rights as well as their behaviour are now being formally recognised in organisations through policies, disclaimers and information.

We’re starting to see the whole process of data management and marketing communications from the perspective of the buyer rather than that of the vendor – and that is a gargantuan leap forward.

Things desperately needed to change, and the GDPR changes gave us a much needed shake-up.

The sentiment behind the GDPR regulatory framework is that the control over customer data should be put back into the hands of the customer. It argues that the end user should have the freedom to choose how companies can use their details, rather than be at the mercy of forces which have little or no regard for their integrity or their user experience, as long money is being made.

What’s next?

It will take some time before the new ways of doing things become a natural part of life. But in generations to come, our grandchildren will look back at our old spam-ridden email practices and shake their heads in disbelief.

Now we just need to get past the stage of over-zealous privacy policy announcements, and start really exploring the ways GDPR will make the world of marketing a much better one – through the use of adaptive content and tailored user experiences, for example.