The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is good for ABM.

With just days to go until the May deadline, this may feel like a crazy statement. Many marketers view it as the equivalent of Armageddon, as regulations cast a shadow of a hefty fine that could represent up to 4% of your global revenue.

As we know, GDPR governs the way we collect, process and secure the personal data of the people we do business with. The European legislation is designed to harmonise data protection law across the EU and comes into force on the 25th May 2018. We must all be compliant by this date.

The reality is that problems under GDPR – and its sibling the ePrivacy Act – are relatively easy to address. While many have seen the new legislation difficult to navigate it is actually quite reasonable from a B2B perspective.

There are 6 principles that underpin the legislation – as described on the ICO website. But remember that you have to manage your GDPR policy on just one of these. So your challenge is to decide which is your base justification.

If your justification is consent then 100% of an individual’s data file has to have consent, no ifs or buts.

However, you don’t need consent to hold people’s data if you can prove a ‘legitimate interest’, which means you have a relevant reason for using the data.

So here is the opportunity as I see it – the concept of legitimate interest encourages good marketing. If our messages are relevant then we add value to the people that receive our outbound communications. If you can prove this, then you are covered for any GDPR usage of individuals’ data.

Of course, account based marketing is a perfect match for this idea – quite simply because all communications are relevant to an individual and their role. It actively discourages the mass bombardment of generic emails (even with superficial personalisation).

Now the kicker. If you can’t prove relevance – i.e. there is no clear connection between your message and what someone is interested in – you can’t keep their data. At all. So if you aren’t ready for ABM levels of hyper segmentation you can’t easily use relevance as your justification. This leaves you with the next choice for marketers – consent.

This is the crux of GDPR. Have a strong data management policy and be consistently relevant – or make sure you have individuals’ explicit permission to engage.