No doubt you’ve been inundated with updates to privacy policies and GDPR. While you might find the stream something of a hindrance, it’s an indication of how seriously companies are taking the regulations.

If you haven’t yet jumped on the bandwagon, you’ll want to reconsider – and quickly! Two of our Advanced Diploma in Digital Marketing current students tackle the new red tape and tell us why it’s important to understand for future marketing success.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have just been cleared to land at the GDPR landing strip. Please make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened. The marketing teams are currently passing around the cabin to make a final compliance check and pick up any remaining crumbs. Thank you.”

So, the regulations arrived and are no longer just an ‘if you want to’, it is rather an ‘if you don’t you will be fined’. Take a quick glance at the major changes and the data subject rights:

Major changes will include:

  • Increased Territorial Scope
  • Penalties – the heaviest fine will include 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater) and a tiered approach will be taken
  • Consent – consent must be given in understandable language, no more confusing T&Cs

Data Subject Rights Include:

  • Breach notification
  • Right to access
  • Right to be forgotten
  • Data portability
  • Privacy by design
  • Data protection officers

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign. We are now crossing a zone of turbulence. Please return your seats and keep your seat belts fastened. Thank you.”

How marketers can overcome all the GDPR changes

Practices will have to be changed on how we seek, obtain and save consent. But where should you begin what should you do? Let’s start at the beginning.

Firstly, distinguish if you even need to fasten your seatbelts regarding GDPR. You have you comply with GDPR if you are:

  • Doing business with any EU citizens.
  • Offering goods or services to EU citizens (irrespective of whether payment is required).
  • Monitoring behaviors within the EU.

Secondly, consider doing these things to continue with normal business affairs:

  • Ensure you have a double opt-in service.
  • Know where your contacts are geographically, and know what type of recorded content was used.
  • It could help to have an audit trail of consent.
  • You should be able to prove that any information stored on users has the necessary permissions to have that information.
  • Ask consent at the point of data collecting.
  • Have a privacy policy that is communicated to the users and details how you collect, store, transfer and process data.
  • When any new initiatives are taken, consider compliance from the beginning.

It is important to remember that marketers can no longer just ‘assume’ content, they have to obtain explicit, informed consent. Users must be able to opt-out and if they ask to, and you have to delete all the data you have about them. Companies can only collect reasonable and relevant data for the industry they’re in. One of the important things to remember is even if you just visit the EU, the GDPR still applies to you.

How can marketers cope with all of these new changes?

We have been taught that it is ALL about the consumer, but marketers seemed to have forgotten that part with the ease of gaining information. This will once again force us to focus on the client, to have excellent customer service by gaining the consumers’ trust and building good relationships with them. Marketers will have to follow up and maintain excellent CRM. In return consumers will most likely spread positive word of mouth which is invaluable to our brands.

Something else to keep in mind

When running competitions or campaigns, marketers can only use the information required for that purpose. Which basically means if your campaign can survive without knowing the consumer’s favorite colour, it isn’t necessary to know that piece of information.

Marketers will be forced to go back to the basics of marketing and pull out all of the stops from there onwards. We will be forced to offer consumers something they see as valuable and something they need to have. Companies will have to focus on awareness campaigns and pull strategies.

This all seems to provide the consumer with the upper hand, but this can also push us to be great marketers. This will force us to step up our game and improvise to have the best possible customer-company relationships.

3 tips to make GDPR changes work for you as a marketer

The new GDPR impacts all marketers who do business with residents of the EU. So if you don’t, are you exempt? Not quite. Even if you only have one EU contact within your database, you need to ensure that you are GDPR compliant. If you’re wondering why or what it means, keep reading. We’ve unpacked what companies need to do to comply and why it’s important.

Educating your staff about changes to the GDPR

Educating your staff on the changes to the GDPR framework includes what has changed and why it’s important for business in South Africa. It is essential to ensuring your business leverages the benefits and mitigates the risk of losing loyal customers.

Be transparent with your customers

Once you have internal buy in the next step is to facilitate open communication with your customers. Speak with your customers about the GDPR adjustments sooner rather than later. Make them aware of how you plan to use their data by launching a double opt-in campaign for example. Tell them how these changes will benefit them and ask for their feedback.

Continue creating meaningful content

Creating relevant and meaningful content for your customers is key to any marketing strategy. Use these adjustments to your advantage by creating a reason to start a conversation with your customers through content and resources that resonate with them. This is big-standard content marketing 101.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about this new regulation and what your business is doing to make it work for you.


Caren Winckler,
Current ADDM student and Account Executive at Weathermen & Co
Michelle Navarro,
Current ADDM student, and Marketing Specialist for Opti-Num Solutions