By John Egan
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in May, and lead generators in the United States and around the world have been rushing to adapt to new rules for handling the personal information of EU consumers.
While GDPR protects the rights only of residents of the EU, it promises to spur tougher data protection measures in other places, including the U.S. And that, in turn, would impact lead generators, aggregators and buyers. CMSWire.com describes GDPR as part of a “rapidly developing wave” of regulations designed to fortify data privacy.
However, CMSWire.com says that rather than “scrambling to come up with quick-fix patches that will apply only to this specific EU regulation, think of the arrival of the GDPR as a development that presents an opportunity to create more precise and efficient demand generation practices.”
During an Oct. 4 session at LeadsCon Connect to Convert in Boston, three speakers will address how lead generators in the home services sector can create those “more precise and efficient” practices. They are Marty Collins, senior vice president of corporate development, legal, and compliance at QuinStreet; Matt Gabrielson, president of Connect Your Leads, and Scott Hettman, sales and marketing manager at boberdoo.com.
If a recent survey of adults in the U.S. is any indication, such practices will be in greater demand among Americans.
A Harris Poll commissioned by IBM found that 78 percent of Americans believe a company’s ability to keep their data private is “extremely important,” yet only 20 percent fully trust organizations to keep their information safe.
“Increasingly, we are seeing companies around the world trying to balance providing personalized services to consumers while maintaining privacy,” said John E. Kelly III, a senior vice president at IBM. “Getting this right requires companies working closely with each other and, importantly, with governments, to ensure the right protections are in place.”
The findings of the IBM survey, conducted before GDPR kicked in, align fairly closely with a post-GDPR survey taken in the U.K.
That survey, commissioned by the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office, found that 34 percent of people trust companies and organizations to store and use their personal data. While that figure is up from 21 percent in 2017, it still means that about two-thirds of U.K. residents lack trust in companies and organizations to manage their personal information.
“Across the world, people have woken up to the importance of personal data and how it’s used,” U.K. information commissioner Elizabeth Denham said. “Personal data has become the currency by which society does business, but advances in technology should not mean organizations racing ahead of people’s rights. Individuals should be the ones in control, and organizations must demonstrate their accountability to the public.”
An article published by Harvard Business Review maintains that GDPR is forcing B2C and B2B marketers (a category that certainly includes lead generators) to embrace personalized communication that’s tailored to customers’ unique interests.
“Offer them the chance to update their marketing preferences,” the article recommends, “and focus on the benefits they will gain by sharing such information. If they see relevant offerings being delivered to them, they’re more likely to stay engaged with the brand.”
“Ultimately, it boils down to knowing your audience and being attentive and flexible to their needs,” the article adds. “Change the way you create and offer content to your customers, with the main goal being that they will want to consume more.”