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Will someone please make me feel positive about GDPR?

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The new GDPR regulations come into play on 25th May 2018. And if you’re part of the financial services industry, you're aware of the hype around what this means for managing data and protecting privacy.

From the perceived restrictions on marketing to the potential costs of both compliance and non-compliance, this speculation (and there’s plenty of it!) tends to have one common factor: its overwhelmingly negativity.

In this blog, I redress the balance. From boosting your efficiency to engaging your customer base, GDPR is packed with opportunities. I’ve summarised a few to help build up some positivity around the upcoming changes.

Privacy by design will boost your business

If you’re well versed in the subject of GDPR, you’ll no doubt have come across the phrase ‘privacy by design’: an approach to building new systems that prioritises data protection from the outset. Essentially, it gives you the opportunity to ensure your systems have the technological capability to cope with GDPR.

Rather than fixating on the short-term costs, just think about the long-term advantages that having the latest technology will deliver – and not just in terms of GDPR compliance.

You’ve probably already considered how to integrate data protection requirements into your systems, products and procedures. If so, you’ve got a head start. This is your opportunity to update or replace old systems and databases – and it will give you the ability to harness the latest technology, work more efficiently and deliver a stand-out service to customers. Lead, don't follow.

Stringent security leads to fewer data breaches

When it comes to cybercrime, the financial services industry is the most heavily affected – the average cost for breaches is (unsurprisingly) higher than any other industry.

Under GDPR, it’s not just your systems that need updating. Everyone responsible for processing data has a clearly defined role, which means you’ll all have a far more detailed understanding of how to protect the business from cybercrime. In other words, security will be tighter.

So, while breaches are, of course, costly under GDPR, they’re less likely, too. When you’ve got the latest systems and processes in place, your business will be far more resistant to cyberattack, which will save money and bolster your reputation.

Using data effectively gives you the power to engage customers

Any discussion about GDPR is duty bound to reference the changes it heralds in terms of your data obligations. For example, data should only be used for the stated purpose for which it’s gathered, and data subjects are entitled to withdraw their consent at any time.

However, there’s no need to see this as a disadvantage. As marketers, we don’t need GDPR to tell us that accurate, relevant data is far more likely to yield positive results than data that’s out of date or littered with errors.

With a comprehensive data management strategy, you’ll have the power to be targeted and efficient with your marketing campaigns. This means that you’ll build profitable relationships with customers who are genuinely engaged with your brand – rather than those who forgot to tick the opt-out box and are getting increasingly frustrated with your communications.

Getting it right builds trust and sets you apart from the competition

Technology in financial services (Fintech) has revolutionised the way the industry works. But in this age of artificial intelligence, and certainly post the 2007/8 financial market meltdown - it’s arguably more challenging to build trust with your customers.

Now more than ever before, accountability defines your business. GDPR has given you a unique opportunity to build trust, exceeding your customers’ expectations and turning risks into advantages.

Get GDPR right and you’ll separate your business from the rest, delivering a customer-centric service that’s efficient and effective.

Key takeaways

  • Speculation about the consequences about GDPR for the financial services industry has been both plentiful and negative – in fact, GDPR gives you many opportunities
  • Privacy by design delivers long-term benefits for your organisation, helping you work more efficiently and harness the latest technology
  • The financial services industry is susceptible to cybercrime – data protection responsibilities implemented by GDPR will protect your customers and make breaches less likely
  • Using your data effectively gives you the power to engage your customers and build positive relationships – which translates into higher profits
  • GDPR gives you an opportunity to set your business apart from the competition by building trust and being more accountable
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