GDPR: How It’s Affecting Marketing

Have you been getting those annoying emails about companies updating their terms of service and privacy policies? Well, that’s because of the new General Data Protection Regulation, which went into effect for all EU citizens and businesses on May 25th. These rules changed how businesses are able to market via email, and it’s got companies worried. Why? Let’s take a look at the changes and how GDPR affects marketing from here on out.

What is GDPR?

The big buzzword revolving around the new GDPR is consent. Basically, under these laws, businesses need to ask permission to keep existing customers on email lists via this update in privacy policy emails (hence why you’re receiving so many at once). Companies also need to ask permission to have non-customers (those who have not used the product or service) on their email lists, which can account for a large portion of new customer acquisition.


How Does That Affect Marketing?

For one, it’s making email marketing campaigns a lot more difficult for companies. CNBC says the numbers aren’t looking too promising: “some email marketers stand to lose 80 percent of their marketing lists.” People aren’t opting back into emails because those privacy policy blurbs are going straight to the trash. And with it, the opportunity for customers to consent to receive emails from these businesses in the future. That’s bad news for a sales channel that’s potentially worth millions in revenue. Not only are businesses losing customers that have previously purchased from them, they’re losing out on the customers they haven’t yet reached (and, thanks to GDPR, may not ever reach).

It’s Universal

Despite this law only affecting EU citizens, companies opt to instead change their email rules across the board. It seems easier to apply rules everywhere instead of micromanaging across countries and regions. Since the new GDPR rules penalize companies that aren’t compliant, tech giants like Facebook are playing it safe and updating the policies for everyone. That includes US-based customers. So even if your company or your market has its base in EU, GDPR may still affect you. The best strategy right now? Read up on and follow the new rules!

Change Your Strategy

How are businesses combating this? Well, if they’ve already sent out the request for email permission, it may be too late. Many companies have been finding success by rewording even the subject. No one’s going to open an email that says “Privacy Policy Update” in the header. Still, the facts are grim. CNBC reports, “Internal research found about 38 percent of Americans are ignoring these emails, and 23 percent have actually used them as an opportunity to unsubscribe.” GDPR may even signal a time to move on from traditional ad campaigns. Data shows younger generations don’t respond to these archaic forms of advertising, and new strategies are needed to reach wider audiences.


Does this mean the age of email marketing is over? Well, not exactly. Businesses need to adopt more engaging content in their emails if they want permission from customers. It’s more about retaining customers with a strong, friendly experience than blasting them with things that would otherwise be viewed as spam.


Want to learn more about digital marketing and what LumberPress does to take your website to the next level? Find out at our site!