Maybe not everyone’s first choice for a breakfast meeting, but with bountiful pastries and top notch coffee on tap, and Dotmailer’s Digital Director in the hot seat, this GDPR briefing attracted a huge crowd.

GDPR has become everyday speak for many over the last few months so it’s useful to know what it actually stands for: ‘General Data Protection Regulations.’ And yes, it is as serious as it sounds so it was great that this event focused on the positives for marketing professionals.

Skip Fidura takes to the stage

Dotmailer’s Digital Director, Skip Fidura took to the stage to share his down-to-earth insights on this looming legislation. Like Skip, I’d like to make clear that any information written here should not be taken as legal advice. But I thought it would be good to share his very positive outlook on the new laws coming into play in May this year and how they should affect email marketing.

The first breath of fresh air was that GDPR is likely to make e-mail marketers proud to admit what they do for a living! Rather than being accused of sending junk mail and making nuisance phone calls, GDPR will provide a framework for more ethical and ‘legitimate’ direct marketing behaviour.

The Big Six GDPR principles:

— Consent
— Contract
— Legal Obligation
— Vital Interest
— Public Task
— Legitimate Interest

Getting the balance right

The focus of this event was on Consent and Legitimate Interest, and how to go about getting the balance right whether you represent a global giant, a small to medium sized company, or you operate in B2B or B2C marketing.

Of course Brexit got a mention, and how Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) will have a part to play, but that, like Brexit it seems, will be a while away yet.

So what should be our priorities with GDPR for 2018? The importance of gaining consent

Gaining your client’s consent to contact them is all about being open, honest and transparent. In short, you need to let them know what you want to say to them and why. You may even want to expand on that and tell them how they will benefit from being in touch with you and how you commit to keeping their data safe.

Have a legitimate interest

A useful question to ask is ‘Is there another way?’ What this means is, to question whether all options have been explored before blithely sending an email. Traditional post won’t be restricted by the same consent rules so, sending a letter rather than an email, is an option. However, common sense should always prevail and resorting to snail mail if someone has a forgotten item in their online shopping basket won’t benefit anyone. Well, the print industry maybe, but that’s another story…

So, as well as a hearty breakfast, all in all, this was well worth getting up early for. And, for those of you that want to delve deeper, I’m sure Skip won’t mind me sharing his further reading list below:

by Sarah Walker