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Don’t rush into the GDPR without a full data-plan.
Posted by Andy Kirk, 26, July 2017 at 3:52 pm BST

With the buzz at the moment surrounding GDPR, and it’s potential negative effect on the publishing industry, could many publishers be missing a key potential benefit of compliance?

For many publishers’ data is still stored in disparate data-silo, in numerous spread-sheets and databases on numerous SaaS services and hard drives. Getting permission for sending your publications, electronic newsletters, subscription offers and of-course client promotions is a long a tedious process not only for you, but consider your poor reader who is being bombarded with multiple requests from your databases for different permissions. The minefield of disparate storage is growing not reducing, and therefor compliance becoming even more complicated.

The solution is an obvious pat on the back for the Single Customer View, a single point of access for all of your data on a single data subject. This should be the first step down the GDPR road. Many small companies will not have the expertise in-house to merge, purge and reflag the data into a single data object for ease if use, or simply don’t have the software to do so. Luckily, there are companies such as Perception SaS that do have software, technologies and services to help do this for you.

Once data is optimised as a single data subject, you will already have improved the quality of your data by ensuring that consolidated data is accurate. You now need to decide what you want to do with this data. Under the GDPR you need to ask for permission for the use of their information. That could be to market your products, to send your publications, to market as direct mail names to third parties. Not forgetting of-course that data subjects may be happy to receive emails, but not SMS for a particular method. Each company will have its own list of actions that it wants permission for now. Future proof your options by also considering other communication channels you may want to use in the future. You should have distinct answers for each of the options you defined against each subject. The chances are that you haven’t any, or very few, that are fully GDPR compliant. The only way to get the required permissions is by contacting the data subject. This can be by email, telephone or letter. By far the cheapest option is to email the data subject with their current status, and ask that they update their details via a web form. That is a lot of information you are asking for. But with the GDPR being so well publicised at the moment, people are willing to answer to ensure their preferences are met. Whichever contact method chosen, use the opportunities to ensure the accuracy of the data you currently hold in your new single customer view. You could do this as part of a renewal drive, or as part of a promotion.

So by contacting the data subject, confirming their preferences, confirming their details and gaining permission you have just increased the value of your data, ensured you are GDPR compliant and created better deliverability through all your channels. It is important of-course that the information is stored and retrieved in a stable manner, and that is where you may need to seek professional help.

  1. Merge all of your data into a single customer view data source
  2. Plan and work out what permission you need to ask for each usage of the data
  3. Contact the subject and ask their express permission for each usage and method
  4. Cleans, merge and purge based on results
  5. Repeat 3-5 for each contact that hasn’t answered.

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