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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

My friend Graham Hawkins published one of our articles last week and I was surprised by the response and it got me thinking.

The article was about GDPR, which if you didn’t know is new data privacy regulations in Europe.  Data privacy isn’t new in Europe it’s just that the laws have been updated for a modern world.

For example, the rules have been drawn up assume that looking after people’s data is good, (rather than bad).  GDPR brings together all of the separate acts together into one far reaching law, as well as increasing the fines.  The fines before GDPR were small, so small in fact, people just didn’t bother complying, in other words why did we have the law there in the first place?  Where as GDPR, the fines are such that you will take notice…4% of global turnover.

Let’s unpack that for a second.  If we look at some of the data hacks that have taken place, yours, mine, your mothers data could have been placed on the internet for all to see.  Addresses, bank details, telephone numbers all of this which should be kept private, should be private.  Yes? 

There are no “ifs” or “buts” about this, we need to all grow up and start seeing that having spreadsheets on our laptops, shared servers etc, with people data on it, just isn’t the way that mature, modern companies work.  I’m the CEO of a company, I would be aghast if you thought our company had your data hanging around that people could hack and put on the internet.  So we don’t.  (As part of our GDPR compliance we deleted all people data on our servers).  It certainly shouldn’t be the way that employees should work either, they too have a responsibility.

When Graham posted the article a bunch of people whose lives are impacted (for the worse I guess) piled in to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) hoping that, like lemmings everybody walks off the same cliff.

Comments went as follows:-

  1. GDPR, does not outlaw cold calling – Correct, but it does limit you in terms of where you get the data from. For you to have my data, I will have needed to have opted in.  I’m not sure, how many of you will opt-in to be cold called.  The “right to be forgotten” rules also mean that if I ask that you remove me from your database, you have to do this with every single system in your company.  The CRM, evert spreadsheet on a salesperson laptop.  Of course this impacts on sales ability to push me down the sales funnel by keep calling me up.
  2. Then the email marketers pilled in, GDPR does not legislate against email marketing. They are right.  But, as in 1 above, where will you get the data from and what happens when I unsubscribe?  Again, you are not going to be able to push me down the sales funnel.
  3. One of the most disturbing comments was around the fact there is a difference between company emails and personal emails. This person even quoted the paragraphs from the data protection legislation.  I checked this out with my Data Protection Officer (DPO) and she showed me those paragraphs and it does not say that.  Our advice is to get your DPO to read the legislation, after all it’s “only” 4% of turnover fine if you are wrong.
  4. Nobody is going to bother will the legislation and nobody will complain or refer anybody to the EU (European Union) for non compliance. See article below.
  5. What happens if I inherit a spreadsheet with data on it? I was asked, irrelevant questions as GDPR compliance means that the spreadsheet will have been deleted.
  6. People will turn to inmails. Maybe, might, see article below on the company that sent 200 inmails and got nothing.

We Sent 200 Inmails and Got Nowhere …

Here is a blog we wrote, about how we will be referring people to the EU for non compliance.

Why We Will be Requesting our Data Under GDPR and You Should Too!

What has this go to do with drunk driving?

When I was growing up in the 1970s, there was a big push by the Government to educate people the importance of not drink driving (and wearing a seat belt).  I remember cycling home (I grew up in the country and people would drive on the back roads to avoid the Police) in the dark on a Friday and Saturday night and getting out of the way of cars as it was obvious that people had “has a few”.  As a reader now, you are probably amazed as how people even thought about it.

We all now have designated drivers, or use public transport, the idea of getting into a car while intoxicated, while I’m sure there are still a few people who do it.  I for one have never drunk driven and don’t intend to.

Now is the time to grow up about data.  The companies and Brands that these people who made the comments, they to are probably at risk from GDPR, but most if not all brands now must understand the responsibility they have.  Not only to the data, but also so that employees don’t bad mouth data’s use on-line.  Just the same that nobody would go on-line today and say it was great to drunk drive, very soon people will realise you cannot be fast and loose with other people’s data.

This, I agree, is all very dark, so what about some good news?

Well there is.  Social Media, allows us to opening build relationships with your prospects and customers.  You can find out about my company, my wants and needs and you can suggest solutions to me that might just help me.

As one person said “we will still make our number” and I agree salespeople will, but by helping them, educating them, providing insight.  Brands too will want to be know for their responsibility with data.  You can still make your number, but like drunk driving we now live in a world where this isn’t seen as responsible behaviour.

Siebel the CRM company purchased by Oracle used to have a say that “it was all about the customer”, I hope one day it will be!

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