- What is GDPR?
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a law regarding the data protection of customers to businesses, and was set in place in May 2018. GDPR has changed the way marketing and businesses have had to strategize their advertising and communication methods, and there are now rules and regulations on how businesses can request, obtain and utilise their customers’ information. As GDPR is a law that applies to everyone, whether it’s B2B or B2C, all forms of communication have been affected for every single business. As opposed to the rules before GDPR came into effect as of 2018, data followed less strict rules. An example of a GDPR change is that companies have to request customers to manually ‘opt-in’ to be contacted (usually by ticking a box), as opposed to the “opting-out” that has been the case pre-GDPR.
2. What does GDPR require?
Three of the major areas when considering GDPR during marketing a business are:
- Data permission
- Data access
- Data focus
The most prominent reason behind GDPR is the protection of privacy through permission of obtaining data. It is now prohibited for companies to assume that a customer wants to be contacted. Companies must explicitly ask if the customer wants to be contacted, and if they do, how they can be reached (e.g. email, phone, mail). This leads onto data access, where preferences can be changed, so that the customer can choose how they receive messages, and are able to change their minds at a later date. Last but not least, the data focus has to be relevant, avoiding to ask any details which are unnecessary.
3. How will GDPR affect marketing and the freight industry?
The change in law regarding the GDPR worried businesses that a dent in marketing may be made. Because customers have to manually opt themselves in to receive marketing from the company, it is less likely to manually opt-in than it is to opt-out.
According to Chartered Institute of Marketing’s report, 57% of customers claimed they don’t trust brands to use their data responsibly. In recent news, Marriott International have been in an infamous spotlight, where data of 500 million customers from the last four years has been leaked. Names, addresses and other personal details is included in this lost data. Companies need to be cautious when handling data – it can be a worrying subject for customers. It affects everyone, because everyone is a customer of something they use or buy.
Freight and marketing go hand in hand – like they do with any other business. However, with freight, it can be a little more difficult to market your services if you are a niche company. For example, specific loads may only apply to a specific audience. The worry many companies faced when GDPR came into effect was that emails could not be sent out to market products to a mass client-base, in hope to spark interest from those who may not be aware of the company. Whilst GDPR has been set in place to protect customer data, companies may face a decline of interest in communication, affecting the results of their marketing.
However, the clear benefit of GDPR is that you can be sure that your customer base are interested in the products and services that you have to offer.
4. How do I ensure my freight customer data is safe?
Data can be a sensitive matter. If customer data is not kept safe, it is not only a breach of privacy for your customers, but it is a breach of the law, and your company could end up paying a price. Collecting and maintaining data within freight tends to hold a fair amount of personal details and geographical locations due to its logistical nature. Therefore, it is vital your customer data is kept safe, and there are various ways you can ensure you are taking the right steps towards doing so.
Data is very rarely recorded by pen and paper these days – paper copies can easily be destroyed without back-ups, and they take up physical space. Nevertheless, there are precautions you should take online, and your data-handling systems should be secure with password protection and backed-up hard drives, should anything happen to your system. Your data list should be organic and legitimate. Whether it’s subscriptions, information or load information that has been collected, it should all be authentically retrieved.
Read more about GDPR on FORWARDER magazine here.
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