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How has GDPR affected marketing?

Most companies say that the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is too demanding. The law has forced them to re-evaluate the way they collect and handle the personal data belonging to visitors to their website or app.
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5 min read
October 13, 2021
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Most companies say that the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is too demanding. The law has forced them to re-evaluate the way they collect and handle the personal data belonging to visitors to their website or app.

The marketing departments in most companies have also been forced to make some changes, especially when it comes to the digital sector.

Whether your firm conducts data analysis regarding customers' online activities or uses an emailing list to send out electronic marketing materials, such procedures need to be framed within the confines imposed by the GDPR.

It is also important to understand the new data protection rules for small businesses.

How The GDPR Regulations Have Affected The Marketing Sector

The new regulations for transparency and accountability highlighted in the GDPR concerning collecting and processing personal information have become a concern for many marketing experts today.

However, this comes as no surprise. Looking at how businesses will operate moving forward, we can expect to see some problems complying with GDPR.

There may be some legal precedent that companies may look to when it comes to the processing of data related to direct marketing. However, as stipulated by Recital 47 of the GDPR, consent would still be required as a matter of principle because of the more detailed provisions set in the Privacy framework.

Following are some of the other concerns that marketers may have to address when it comes to GDPR:

  • There could be issues around consent if it wasn’t requested correctly and transparently.
  • Data subjects may not have received the correct information regarding the process of acquiring their personal information.
  • In some cases, data may be processed for purposes unrelated to those explained when obtaining consent from the subject.
  • Is privacy shield required for GDPR?

According to most marketing experts, going back and implementing GDPR on current data is the same as rendering a significant portion of it obsolete or unusable. And even in cases where consent is obtained correctly before going forward, most data subjects will fail to opt-in.  

All this boils down to the simple fact that data for analysis is set to decrease with GDPR requirements.  

With the new e-privacy laws in place, most marketers' general rule of thumb has become to obtain opt-in consent from the subject before sending any marketing communications.

However, there is an exemption for those situations where the contact details are obtained from customers under the pretext of a sale, provided they are used by the same organization to market similar products or services.

Whenever these kinds of cases occur, a soft opt-in must be presented with every message when the contact details of the data subject are first gathered.

What Measures Can The Marketing Team Take?

The issue is that marketing departments have to comply with GDPR both in principle and in spirit. There is simply no way around it. As a result, this typically involves:

Being transparent regarding how they use the personal data they collect. This may include utilizing a privacy notice or other method to proactively inform the data subject why you are collecting their personal information and how you intend to use it.

Requesting clear and explicit consent from any data subject they approach. Pre-checked boxes may be used for answering questions. The individual may then just uncheck a box if that’s their choice.

Making sure you are open and approachable to the subject's requests when collecting data. Although fulfilling every request is not mandatory, there will be instances where you will need to observe the subject's rights.


Of course, just like with most other things, complying with GDPR is easier said than done. But following the right path and doing things the right way will help the marketing department today and in the future.

The key is to adhere to GDPR guidelines and ensure that any data you collect is viable and can be used for the benefit of your business

Read time
5 min read
October 13, 2021
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