The EU was not joking around when they said the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be a real game changer, as for the first time in history EU citizens were given real power and control over their online content. The right to be forgotten or forcing companies to explicitly warn users on how their data will be processed is only a small fraction of the law, but the message was clear – guys, you can’t fool people by treating their data like a possession. Those who don’t cooperate face fines of up to 4% of global revenue or 20 million euros.
The GDPR was passed on May 25th, 2018 and at first seemed like a wet slap in the face for online marketers, going as far as saying that this is the end of marketing and free Wi-Fi hotspots. The main concern is that when people get a splash page, written in plain, short language, honestly stating how their data will be processed, some users might get scared and refrain from using such services. But is it really that bad? On the contrary. Actually, this could backfire and come out as a golden opportunity for companies to improve and build a loyal client base.
Honesty Brings Trust
Studies show that most people are scared of giving away their information because they’re not sure what will happen with it afterward. But that’s not going to stop a Wi-Fi hungry consumer from hopping on a free hotspot. When facing such a dilemma, people just avoid giving real information. Pew Research discovered that 86% of US consumers had falsified or misrepresented their personal information online. This is really not helpful for marketing, especially when you’re trying to know your customer and offer personalized deals, that’s why being honest and brief about your intentions could be beneficial.
People tend to skip through or ignore privacy statements, but GDPR rules now make it possible to inform every consumer about their rights, making them feel secure and build a lasting relationship. Actually, a study from the Thurgau Institute of Economics found that “transparency leads to an increase in the individual’s willingness to share personal information as the individual is able to see and assess the collected information and possible use of it.”
Consent Offers Insight
Wi-Fi marketing only works if people are providing real data. And since the GDPR will likely encourage people to feel safer about sharing their data, you can expect an increased level of honesty. Apart from consent, people can also ask you what kind of information you have on them, who is it shared with, and also how is it being processed. Here’s where the catch is – through consent you can gain insight into each individual’s interests and provide them with information that they want to receive. Just ask them what they want to see. This way you’ll build up a relationship based on people’s interests, instead of sending generic cookie-cutter emails. Surprisingly enough, even the “right to be forgotten” can be beneficial, as it gives you insight on what people don’t like, giving you a chance to offer customers something positive.
Future of Wi-Fi Marketing
No doubt, it’s going to take time until companies fully adapt to GDPR regulations, but it really seems like in the long run, it’s only going to leave both sides – businesses and customers – happy and smiling. Information will become more transparent because people will stop lying about their data, and this way marketing through personalization will reach new heights of efficiency. Once companies have better information, they’ll be able to offer better services and deals. GDPR presents companies the chance to use free Wi-Fi as a loyalty tool that builds relationships with customers who want to be engaged with. It’s possible that companies could receive less data, but it’s definitely going to be more worthwhile.