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As the New Year chimed in for 2019, everything began to change – and rapidly. Many companies in the US have opted to adopt GDPR policies in order to maintain a global data policy, or as a pre-emptive measure in anticipation of the US potentially adopting similar regulations. Evidence of this adoption was clear as early as January 1st, I received at minimum 10 emails with new privacy policies from companies I’ve subscribed or purchased from over the past few years. Through the following two weeks, I received more each day and this cycle continued throughout most of January. This change has been felt across the globe, not just in the EU, making marketers fearful of sending any email at all without clear consent.
It may appear at first glance that business has lost the war on the right to market versus the right to privacy. Who knew we would reminisce about the golden days of the US CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, when it seemed we had it all figured out. Transactional email was a necessary, programmatic function and therefore, we could email those who were opted out of marketing messages without fear of reprisal. We could even add marketing related messaging so long as it was not the primary message, aka the 80/20 rule – 80% transactional business, 20% promotion. Those were the dreamy days of yore…
Though GDPR seems wildly strict, and it certainly is a stronger protective measure than the US CAN-SPAM Act, it is not intended to stymie a business’s ability to operate, market, or grow. The intent is to protect consumers from abuse of their data and maintain more control over who can use their data for marketing purposes. It’s quite simple really, but what has happened is a backlash on transactional messaging and scrutiny so focused on compliance that often, the point of even bothering becomes moot.