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What impact will GDPR have on marketing?

By now we’re sure you’re all aware of GDPR and how it will impact your business, but if GDPR is a completely new concept for you, here are the basics that you need to know.

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) are coming into force to replace the UK’s existing Data Protection Act. The new regulations will update the current act in order to reflect how personal data is being used in today’s world.

GDPR will have an impact on every business, especially marketers, personal data is a crucial part of a successful marketing campaign. The more you know about your audience, the more targeted and effective your campaign can be.

How is personal data used?

Personal data is very valuable to marketers because it gives them an insight to their audience and allows them to segment a larger audience into smaller, niche groups – this is extremely valuable when trying to market a product.

For example, do you ever receive offers and vouchers from supermarkets of products that you already use or for a product you frequently need? This is because supermarkets hold personal data on you, they know what you buy and therefore they know need cat food or dishwasher powder. This way they can personalise their marketing techniques for you with offers that you will actually want to use.

The Impact

An important aspect of GDPR regards the way data is collected and ensuring you have correct permission to use this data to market in that specific way, for example, you must have direct permission to market using email or direct mail. However, there has been recent discussion about the need for consent, if you have a legitimate interest in the individual, for example if they are a customer for your business, then you may use their data for your companies marketing.

Gaining consent in order to continue marketing to individuals has been one of the biggest changes for marketers, you may have seen many companies using an “opt-in” approach to do this. When gaining an individual’s consent to use their data for marketing, companies must be much clearer on the terms of consent and not ‘hide it’ in their terms and conditions.

The majority of the news surrounding GDPR marketing consent is regarding email marketing, this is arguably going to be impacted the most but it is not the only platform where you will need to gain explicit consent from individuals.

Growing your marketing database is going to suffer a little under the new regulations but it may just be time to refresh your data collection methods. Under the new regulations you will no longer be able to market to individuals who use their data in order to enter a competition or your offer.  This has been a popular way to grow a marketing database in the past. You can still use a competition to grow your database as long as you specifically state in your terms and conditions that their data will be used for marketing purposes.

The Marketing Benefits

It may seem that there would be no possible benefits to the new regulations, but if you approach the change in the right way you can definitely benefit out of the regulations.

GDPR requires all businesses to have current and up to database, this means that the whole of your marketing database has to be current and active data. Therefore, you will no longer be wasting time marketing to individuals using inaccurate data. This will only improve the efficiency of your campaigns.

Consumers are warier than ever before about how their data is being used and why companies want their personal data. This new level of transparency can help you to build trust with your consumers, they know exactly how their data is being used. This new level of trust will only strengthen existing relationships with your customers.

There is no need to panic about GDPR. The ICO are releasing more guidance over the coming weeks to try and help with the confusion surrounding the regulations, however, there exact law will not be clear until there is at least one piece of case law to back it up – this may not be for years.

Major companies are not using an “opt-in” approach, they are informing their databases that there has been a change to their company’s regulations and that each individual is free to “opt-out” of their marketing database.

Here at WNW Digital, we have updated all of our terms and conditions and policies to comply with the new regulations and have provided all individuals on our email marketing database the option to unsubscribe from our database. We also sent an email to our database to inform them of the changes we have made.

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Tierney Crocker
Tierney Crocker is part of the Digital Marketing team at WNW Digital, involved in all aspects of digital marketing and social media. You can email her at

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