25th May has come and gone. Or simply put: the endless stream of privacy statements in everyone’s mailbox has dwindled. However, the acronym GDPR is still a hot topic of conversation at break time. Now that the buzz has fizzled out, Davy Vandevinne, Marketing Manager at Nucleus, is giving us his perspective on the new privacy legislation.
Do you think the GDPR is a good thing?
“I think it’s mostly positive, but it definitely has downsides too. A good thing is that it has raised awareness of privacy and data storage among both companies and consumers. A less positive aspect is the irrational fear that surrounds the GDPR, particularly among SMEs. Too much emphasis is placed on the high fines companies can be slapped with, when in reality, the focus should be on raising awareness.”
What are the greatest challenges in the field of data privacy?
“There are quite a few. First of all, the GDPR is not always equally clear. There are a few grey areas in the legislation, which make it very confusing to apply. Moreover, from a technical point of view, security is becoming increasingly important. Hackers and malware are becoming more and more common, and consequently, so are data leaks. As a result, securing data properly is a challenge in its own right.”
“Last but not least, the main challenge will be to encourage people to be more aware of the privacy of their data in the long term too. I am convinced things will go smoothly for a while, but eventually people will get tired of hearing about the GDPR – I’ve noticed it already, actually – and companies will go back to their old ways.”
How can they avoid this?
“Partly by introducing the right processes and partly by focusing on the human aspect too. You need to make your staff aware of the importance of data privacy, and make sure they stay aware. That is a long-term process that requires regular assessments, but it ensures you remain alert in terms of security and privacy.”
Will the new privacy legislation result in a mind switch among marketers?
“I think it will make them a lot less lazy. In the past, marketers used to randomly e-mail every single address in their extensive database. Now that database has shrunk considerably and it is more difficult to add entries to it. So person unsubscribing is a minor catastrophe. Therefore marketers tend to think twice before sending an e-mail and carefully consider who they approach. The result is better quality marketing.
For a long time, data was the new gold. Is that still the case?
“Data is very interesting, but trust is even more important. It has always been a key value at Nucleus, but I think many other companies have only just realised the importance of trust. Businesses need to show people they are worthy of receiving their data, and they need to give the necessary guarantees that this data will be safeguarded.”
In other words, the GDPR is an opportunity to strengthen the relationship with your target group?
“Absolutely. I believe the introduction of this new law really does offer an opportunity for companies to deal with customers in a more conscious manner. On the other hand, I don’t think businesses should wait for legislation to force them to adopt a more conscious approach towards their customers. After all, as a business, the relationship with your customers is key, so focus on it daily, rather than waiting for an obligation to do so.”