What efficiencies will you need to make to counteract GDPR?

GDPRAs every marketer knows, the General Data Protection Regulation comes into force on 25 May.

Hopefully your preparations are underway, as time’s now running out to put plans in place to comply.

Though if you’re still unsure of what the new regulation means, or the steps you should be taking, find out how to avoid common GDPR pitfalls and the 5 challenges you will need to overcome before May.

But have you thought about what happens beyond the deadline? With so much focus on the 25 May compliance date, it can be hard to think about what life will be like once GDPR is ‘business as usual’. How will your activity change? What will your data-based marketing look like?

We explored some of the impact in a blog last week on how your marketing will change under GDPR.

But it’s not just about making sure your activity is compliant, or changing your focus to adapt to the new rules.  GDPR introduces a whole new layer of work for Marketing teams (and Compliance teams, in regulated businesses).

How prepared are you for the time and cost implications of the new rules?

What will GDPR mean for you in terms of time and money?

Here we look specifically at some of the implications of GDPR and the efficiencies you will need to introduce to offset them.

The impact on marketers' time

A recent survey, reported in Computer Weekly suggests that GDPR requests will take thousands of hours a month. Marketers with already-heavy workloads will know that they don’t have thousands of hours spare for new requirements!

The survey questioned over 1000 companies in the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy. On average, respondents expect to get 89 GDPR enquiries every month, for which they will need to search an average of 23 databases.

For large organisations, the expectation is for 246 enquiries a month, for which they will need to search an average of 43 databases.

We’ve looked before at the problems caused when marketing activity and client contact data is decentralised – which can be a particular problem in professional services firms, where client-facing consultants, lawyers or advisers often hold client data and send out content direct.

This can lead to marketers being unaware of activity or client contact – which under GDPR could be a problem. Find out how to tell if your marketing is out of control, and what to do about it.

The cost implications

And what is the financial impact? Another survey, reported on the ITpro website suggests that UK firms will have spent an average of £1.3 million to make themselves GDPR-ready.

So if you can shave a bit off elsewhere in your marketing budget, your finance team will probably happy with you.

How can you counteract these time and cost demands?

Step 1 is to look at your current processes – are they as efficient as they could be?

Producing collateral – whether digital or hard copy – is probably one of your biggest time-eaters.

Review and sign off of materials – particularly in a regulated firm, where you need Compliance as well as business and Marketing approval – can be hugely inefficient.

Manual processes, duplication, paper trails – all of these add time to your schedule, delaying you getting products and solutions to market and negatively impacting ROI.

Introducing a degree of automation to the review and approval process can help. Automated workflow tools minimise repetition and save time, making it possible for people in different teams or offices to review materials simultaneously.

Marketing teams save time and reduce their admin. One building society saved 1500 hours a month by automating their review and sign-off processes, reducing the approvals process from three days to one and freeing up the team’s time to work on more constructive, revenue-generating tasks. Read more about how you can make your approvals process more efficient.

And not only does automation save you time, it also saves money, reducing paper and print costs. It also slashes the hidden cost incurred when senior team members spend time on re-reading and re-approving material they have already reviewed, or marketing teams spend hours collating hard copy changes.

Creating an online slide library can also be a huge help in terms of efficiency. By enabling you to lock down approved data, it makes it easy to identify new content needing sign-off, by adding a ‘not approved’ watermark to new or edited wording.

This can save your Compliance team significant time, as they only need to review new content. It also helps to ensure unapproved wording or information doesn’t slip through the net.

Change your approach to increase efficiency

It’s impractical to suggest that you can avoid contacting clients and prospects at all – of course, email and other direct marketing will still form part of your strategy after 25 May. But there are other channels that negate the need for direct contact and data processing.

Social media, for instance, may form a bigger part of your activity in future. Up your social media strategy and you may reduce some of the need for other How to use Twitter for Financial Promotions - a 10 point guide has advice on creating compliant content for social media – essential within an regulated environment. The guide is free, and you can download a copy here. activity that involves or creates GDPR workload. Although if you’re regulated, you will still need to make sure your tweets or posts comply with regulatory rules.

The GDPR brings many challenges, not least the need to tackle the workload it will create beyond 25 May. Refocus your marketing approach to respond and you won’t just counteract its impact – you may introduce efficiencies that make your workload easier and your budgets less stretched.

If you plan to up your social media game in response to GDPR, you might want to read How to use Twitter for Financial Promotions. This free 10-point guide has advice on creating compliant content for social media. You can download a copy here.

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