If you’re a marketer, you’ve probably had the date May 25, 2018 ingrained in your mind (likely in huge, flashing letters) for most of this year.
If not, let me catch you up: this is when the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect—creating significant rules for how companies communicate with EU residents. GDPR is rooted in data privacy, with regulations that control how we collect, use, and store users’ data, as well as requirements to make data easier to access and delete.
Even though May 25th has come and gone, GDPR will continue to impact event organizers with every event invite we send or piece of personal information we collect at registration.
Here’s the good news about GDPR for event marketers: all of those long days and nights ensuring your events are compliant will pay off. In the long run, GDPR is actually a positive thing for your event marketing (which is good, because these regulations aren’t going anywhere).
Here’s why GDPR is a blessing in disguise for event marketers:
1. It keeps your event data safe
When we host events, we capture a lot of personal data from our guests—everything from email addresses, to job titles, to dietary habits—and it’s imperative to keep all of that information private and safe.
Good thing for GDPR, we’re now held accountable for the safety and privacy of our customer’s data. Not only will you need to closely follow your organization’s data security policies, you’ll also need to ensure you are sharing personal data securely and with consent (with sponsors, partners, and vendors).
2. It forces you to clean up your data habits
With GDPR, comes the dreaded data audit. This brings good news: now, you can stop putting off those best data practices you’ve always wanted to implement.
You’ll now need to make sure your event data is up-to-date, your systems of records are synced and integrated with your event tech, and you’ve designated a single person in your organization to oversee all of these practices moving forward. This will ensure your data is accessible from one single place, and will enable you to avoid any database issues in the future.
3. You’ll build more trust with your customers
GDPR gives users more control over their data and it gives you the opportunity to build more trust with your customers and prospects. Complying with GDPR shows that you’re taking their privacy seriously, and being transparent about what you’re doing only adds to their trust in you.
4. Your audience will be more engaged
Yes, some people may opt-out and unsubscribe when given the opportunity. But you’ll know that the people who do remainin your database are there because they want to be— in fact, because they chose to be. This means the people who receive your event invites or email promotions are more likely to actually engage with your communications, since they expressed that they wanted to receive this information in the first place.
And what does a more engaged audience really mean? More clicks. Faster responses. More RSVPs. More meaningful attendees. Increased conversions. Even though your database might be smaller, your post-GDPR event marketing efforts will be much more impactful. And I’d take that type of quality over sheer quantity any day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ben Hindman is co-founder and CEO of Splash, the fastest-growing end-to-end event marketing technology used by over half of the Fortune 500. An event planner turned tech entrepreneur, events are in Ben’s DNA. Prior to starting Splash, Ben was the Director of Events at Thrillist, where he produced large-scale events from concerts to mystery fly-aways. He is also a co-founder of the Summit Series, the renowned invite-only destination event for the greatest minds in tech.