GDPR’s right to be forgotten: A blessing in disguise

25 Jun 2018

How can you use GDPR to give your business an advantage? Image: mohdizuan/Shutterstock

Showpad CEO Pieterjan Bouten on how to use GDPR to do better business.

The EU’s new consumer data protection law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), went into effect on 25 May. The law is designed to improve data privacy by requiring businesses to be more diligent about how they collect and use EU customer data.

One of the law’s requirements is the right to be forgotten, which gives consumers the power to request, at any time, that a business erases (or forgets) their personal data. And, while many marketers think this policy limits their access to customer data and requires significant back-end work, they should really think of it as an advantage.

Why? The policy improves data quality over time for businesses and ensures that marketers reach a more targeted, interested audience. In this era where consumers are more concerned than ever about the protection of their data, the organisations that go the extra mile to respect personal data at large will win the trust and business of their customers.

Why the right to be forgotten leads to better data

Some marketers fear that making it easier for customers to request data erasure will motivate more customers to make the ask, eventually resulting in less data to work with. And successful marketers know that in today’s business environment, effective marketing hinges on access to data.

If this thinking sounds familiar, it’s time to change your mindset. The right to be forgotten forces you to remove data from inactive or uninterested customers, which is a good thing. By giving customers the option to request data erasure, you’re essentially forced to clean your lists. Over time, your database will only contain the information of customers who want to engage with your brand.

Additionally, GDPR’s right to be forgotten provides a good reason to reset your data collection processes. Ask yourself, what data do I need? How am I going to use it? What is the value the customer gets for sharing it? More diligence upfront will limit the amount of erasure requests you receive down the line.

GDPR positions businesses to drive long-term customer trust and loyalty

Better data quality over time ultimately means more trust from customers. GDPR sets you up to have more meaningful interactions with customers and prospects about how you collect and use their data. The act of simply offering your customers the option to request erasure builds trust.

In the wake of massive data breaches, consumers are more hesitant to hand over their data than ever. In fact, an IBM study found that 78pc of US consumers say a company’s ability to keep their data private is extremely important, and only 20pc of consumers completely trust businesses to maintain the privacy of their data.

At the end of the day, greater trust leads to greater loyalty. Three in four consumers (75pc) will not buy a product from a company – no matter how great its products are – if they don’t trust the company to protect their data.

So, don’t feel as though your marketing efforts will be set back now that the GDPR is in place. The right to erasure is a blessing in disguise. The policy will lead to better data quality over time, which will help drive long-term customer trust and loyalty.

By Pieterjan Bouten

Pieterjan Bouten is co-founder and CEO of Showpad, an intelligent sales enablement platform with offices in Ghent, San Francisco, London, Munich, Portland and Chicago.