People have spoken up, and said their data privacy matters. On May 25th, the EU is turning that sentiment one of the biggest digital privacy laws to date. This is a big challenge for the event industry, but also a chance to do better.
Once in action, the “General Data Protection Regulation” (GDPR) will be among the toughest privacy regulations to date.
Its goal is to give individuals control over their digital footprint and let them decide what companies are allowed to do with it. Because the GDPR surpasses local laws, it concerns, among others, every company that collects, stores, and manages personal data of EU residents. And that’s regardless of the location of the company processing data.
Does that sound broad? It is, which means the GDPR is a global game changer for business and for events.
But before we get there, we need to acknowledge a problem.
The event industry is really bad with data. Up to now, handling personal data securely was never the chief concern for the vast majority of event professionals on tight schedules. Data gets hoarded on old guest lists across a dozen spreadsheets. Security standards are rarely high.
Now the industry is faced with a pivotal moment: old habits need to go. That’s proving to be a challenge that we at zkipster can see across event organizations worldwide.
It’s clear that the changes to data privacy requirements cannot be ignored and event professionals need to find a new status quo – before the GDPR takes its toll.
At zkipster, we think now is the time to take a stand.
GDPR is a big chance for the events industry
In every challenge, no matter how steep, there’s an opportunity. This stressful transition is no different, and we as an industry need to take advantage of it.
Event professionals have a big strength. The event industry is built around real people, which equips us with the ability to build and handle personal relationships with great care. This mentality now needs to transcend the event itself, and take root all the way into workflows, habits, and datasets.
Consumers will be okay with brands they trust collecting all sorts of information about them to create better experiences, but they will demand more in return for brands to earn that trust.
Invitation-only events can perhaps grow the most thanks to this new state of affairs. It’s an easier transition for organizations who run invite-only events, work with a limited set of contacts, and curate guest lists manually.
The new rules will force event hosts to carefully balance the value they create in return for guests engaging with a brand, cause, or objective. The event teams who can show they respect the privacy of individuals will succeed in building the needed higher tier of trust.
How zkipster is taking the lead on data privacy
As a technology company trying to push the event industry ahead, we at zkipster are continuously investing into features that empower our clients to control their personal data and how it is processed. That’s one of our core missions since day one, and we recently shared how zkipster is prepared for the GDPR.
As a Swiss company, incorporated under strict data protection regulations, we have always taken a strong stance on data privacy. Since the beginning, we’ve made it easy for users to delete their personal data and have always reacted swiftly to requests regarding the personal data we process.
We believe that the GDPR framework will force digital marketers to rethink some of their tactics and improve how they communicate with people. As a result, the people they do reach will care more.
Respecting the rights of individuals to their personal data has to be a priority in this. We are convinced that this will empower events within the marketing mix and that event organizations can be a driver for positive change. If it is done the right way, it will build brand value.
The GDPR ensures that companies treat personal data of individuals with the same care the people in charge at such companies would demand for their very own data. Nothing should be scary about that.
David Becker is the CEO and co-founder of zkipster.