As of May 25, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation goes into effect, establishing new regulations to protect data and privacy for individuals throughout the European Union. With sweeping changes ahead, businesses of all kinds – including firms specializing in medical devices and pharmaceuticals – are preparing for a major shift in how they reach out to businesses and consumers. Life sciences organizations that operate internationally need to understand how new demands for compliance could impact their medical email marketing and sales strategies.
What GDPR means for marketing emails
“Businesses should be very careful about what data they use.”
GDPR affects not only companies that operate in the EU but any that process the data of EU citizens. The law states that companies are prohibited from using personal data without explicit informed consent and grants individuals the rights to access and transfer their data, make corrections and request erasure. Businesses that fail to comply with these requirements could face stiff penalties of up to €20 million or 4 percent of their total revenues, whichever is higher.
Businesses will still be able to engage in email marketing initiatives, but they should be very careful about what data they use and how they employ it. Organizations must thoroughly assess what findings can continue to inform their efforts while complying with GDPR. That means retaining only data that was collected for a specific and legitimate purpose and processed in a transparent way that prioritizes security.
The importance of reliable data
Even if your organization does not work directly with EU individuals or businesses, the changes brought by GDPR spotlight the importance of maintaining best practices for handling data. For life sciences firms, marketing and sales are built on relationships with healthcare providers. By using information only in ways that are transparent and keeping all details up to date, a company protects itself from potential issues with regulatory compliance and forms better connections.
Effective marketing to a specific audience like physicians and other medical professionals starts with current and extensive data. With a physician database, businesses have access to email addresses, institutional affiliations and areas of professional specialization. Data append services fill in gaps, make corrections and eliminate silos to ensure that companies are acting on accurate information.
The implementation of GDPR signals an important shift in how marketers use data, especially in sensitive areas like healthcare. Having a clear understanding of best practices and compliance will be increasingly important as life sciences firms continue to reach out to healthcare providers in this changing landscape.