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GDPR Week #13 – Still no such thing as a free lunch…

08.03.18

Over the past few weeks we’ve identified a lot of tasks and questions for you to consider as you chip away at preparing for the GDPR and the new Data Protection Act. The amount of work or change these ‘bite-sized’ activities are likely to lead to will vary greatly from organisation to organisation.

However, if your firm’s marketing and acquisition of new prospects with future marketing permissions is heavily dependent on online content downloads (white papers, guides, infographics, etc) then the requirements of the GDPR may have a radical impact on you.

Most firms will make an opt-in to future marketing a prerequisite for prospects to go on to download the content – either through a pre-ticked box or a flow that requires the opt-in box to be ticked to proceed. However, this ‘gated content’ technique will not be allowed as a means to capture marketing consent in future. The Information Commissioner’s Office would consider this to be an example of “making consent a precondition of a service” (www.ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/lawful-basis-for-processing/consent/).

For many organisations having to make a change to separate content downloads from marketing consent is no big deal. For others it could radically change part of their business model (as a client memorably put it to me “Why the hell do you think I produce a free 16 page guide? For the good of my health?!”).

As ever, there are things that organisations can do to adapt, such as making freely-given marketing consent a more attractive and compelling prospect and thinking of how their downloaded content can better encourage inbound contact calls to action from prospects. But if your organisation needs to make those changes you need to start work now!

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