May 23, 2019

Evolving Privacy Concerns as Digital Marketing Grows

by Guest Blogger

Chances are you’ve heard something about “GDPR” within the past year or so; it refers to the General Data Protection Regulation enacted by the European Union last May, landmark legislation requiring all businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of European citizens.

What is “personal data”? The European Union defines it this way: “Personal data is any information that relates to an identified or identifiable living individual. Different pieces of information, which collected together can lead to the identification of a particular person, also constitute personal data.” Examples include obvious things like names, home addresses and email addresses—along with other data like IP addresses, cookies and more.

For any company doing business online, and especially those who capture leads through a website, social channels or any other means, GDPR had an impact. Any website visitors residing in the EU were now protected by the new law, and companies who aren’t in compliance were subject to significant penalties.

The impact for U.S.-based companies? Per Workplace Privacy Report:

For example, if your organization is a U.S. company with an internet presence, selling or marketing products over the web or even merely offering a marketing survey globally, you may be subject to the GDPR. That said, general global marketing does not usually apply. If you use Google AdWords and a French resident stumbles upon your webpage, the GDPR likely would not apply to the company solely on that basis. If, however, your website pursues EU residents—accepts the currency of an EU country, has a domain suffix for an EU country, offers shipping services to an EU country, provides translation in the language of an EU country or markets in the language of an EU country, the GDPR will apply to your company.

So, what about companies doing business purely in the U.S.? A regional window manufacturer or dealer—who might capture online leads from their territory but isn’t pursuing anything outside that geography—might think they have nothing to worry about, and they might be right. But just in case, pursuing compliance is probably good practice anyway.

Now, though, we’re seeing greater data privacy laws take effect domestically. The  , for instance, goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and it is of similar scope to what happened in the EU last year. The new law grants many new privacy rights to California residents, “starting with the right to be informed about what kinds of personal data companies have collected and why it was collected,” according to the Harvard Business Review. “Among other novel protections, the law stipulates that consumers have the right to request the deletion of personal information, opt out of the sale of personal information, and access the personal information in a ‘readily useable format’ that enables its transfer to third parties without hindrance.”

Digital marketing continues to transform how we do business, and privacy concerns and new laws like that going into effect in California are important parts of the picture. It’s something that any company doing business online—whether it’s to market products, capture leads or anything else—should be proactively working with their teams to prepare for.

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Posted: May 23, 2019 by Guest Blogger Filed under: digital, insights, marketing