Despite the recent Facebook-Congressional-Parliamentary drama and the European Union’s rollout of its General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR), it’s unclear if the U.S. will adopt stricter rules governing personal data. My guess is very little will happen legislatively, but we’re already seeing self-imposed changes taking place. Some channels are tightening data access and the trend might continue.
- Sharing less user data. As communicators, we’ve come to rely on the ability to research demographic, psychographic and behavioral information to strategize, budget and target communications. What happens if this information becomes restricted?
- Allowing your users the right to disallow being tracked. Google is working on tools for the EU that will allow individuals to identify how they are tracked with Google products. If they offer those tools to U.S. individuals, your Google Analytics data will be less accurate.
- Allowing your users the right to remove any of their information from your vendor’s data history. Similar to #2 above, even your historical data may change in unpredictable ways.
The Pain of Portability and Right to be Forgotten
Perhaps the single-biggest part of GDPR legislation causing more heartburn to businesses in the EU is the Right to be Forgotten and the right of users to request a copy of information a company holds on them.
Think about it, do you know all the places where data exists in your organization? Every database, every printed piece of information? What about that old Rolodex sitting in a storage bin somewhere?
Heads are spinning everywhere.
From Pain Comes Possibility
For many companies, the primary limitation to personalizing communication, identifying buyer journeys and so forth is tied to outdated data that is inconsistently managed. Perhaps the possibility of legal liability can be the final straw to motivate corporations to consolidate and organize data into a manageable structure now, as means of avoiding risk.
After all, it’s no small task and will take time. But once done, communicators will finally have visibility and access to that holy grail of customer insight.