Gauging the Impact of the EU’s New Data Rules on the World of Email Marketing

From Vancouver to Halifax, email marketers and brands alike understand that playing by Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is a vital part of successfully conducting an inbox outreach campaign. But does this reality hold true for our contemporaries on the other side of the Atlantic?

With the passing of the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), there’s no doubts left that accountability and respecting the rights of consumers is at the forefront of the European email marketing discussion as well. To bring you up to speed with this development – and cover what this growing trend toward email marketing transparency and fair data usage means for brands back here at home – let’s spend a few moments delving into the particulars of this groundbreaking global email marketing story.

Breaking down the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation

As the experts from Computer Weekly explain, the passing of the GDPR stands as the culmination of countless hours of hard work, research, and revisions by the EU that date back to the initial discussions surrounding this topic from 2012. At its core, this final iteration that now stands as law for all member nations of the EU aims to safeguard the personal data of inbox users, as well as foster better communications and cooperation in hunting down those who don’t comply with these rules between participating countries.

Going a step farther, the GDPR now gives the European community the ability to not only access their sensitive data and review what’s publicly available to marketers and brands, but it also allows these individuals to remove themselves from any relevant corporate records or databases. Businesses that fail to comply with these new regulations and guidelines by the March 2018 deadline could face fines up of to four percent of the total sales of the organization in question.

Continuing a Trend Toward Transparency and Accountability

Much like CASL, GDPR is all about promoting transparency and accountability in the inbox. Instead of harassing European users with a constant bombardment of emails, even in the face of opt-outs, those who send off marketed messages must now play by a series of highly specific – and rigidly enforced – parameters.

As more and more governing bodies travel down this path, consumers from all regions can expect the same high quality and honest approach to the most powerful form of digital outreach on the web. In other words, CASL, GDPR, and the United States’ CAN-SPAM Act are just the first wave of a rising tide of anti-spam legislation.

Does This Affect Canadian Brands and Marketers?

Considering the prominent standing of personalized data in the modern take on email marketing, it’s safe to say that this shift toward regulation could make the process of connecting via the inbox a little more difficult for brands that operate out of the Eurozone region. But does it really have anything to do with campaigns here at home?

In her look at this question, Jess Nelson of Media Post’s Email Marketing Daily blog points out that this development matters just as much to organizations abroad as it does for those in Europe. The big key here is that even if you reside in Canada, you’re still on the hook for complying with GDPR rules and guidelines if you market to consumers in the European region. Failing to take this reality seriously could earn you a fine or penalty that transcends international borders and hurts just as much as one levied by the team behind CASL.

Getting Your Business Ready for the 2018 Deadline

Fortunately, with a compliance deadline sitting in the distant future – March of 2018 to be exact – your brand has plenty of time to get ready for the GDPR rollout if it conducts operations in inboxes from around the globe. To start the process of right, take a moment to acclimate yourself with the particulars of the GDPR legislation.

From here, it’s never a bad idea to ensure that you comply with the current CASL framework, as these two legislative documents cover plenty of overlapping concepts and guidelines. Adding in that this can also help pinpoint any issues with the already enforced rules of CASL doesn’t hurt either.

If you’re able to handle these two simple and straightforward tasks, then staying on the right side of the GDPR doesn’t have to be a hectic or stressful affair. In fact, playing by these rules now means that the March 2018 deadline should stand as a time of continued success in the inbox, and not an event that leads to penalties or a bad reputation for your brand on the global stage.

About Victor Green

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