Dispelling Dangerous GDPR Myths

Dispelling Dangerous GDPR Myths

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Ben Lewis
Published: 4th January 2018

I recently read two pieces of guidance from education agencies which if believed would cause panic amongst responsible education businesses, and send good education marketing into a tailspin.

“You must be able to show that every teacher on your marketing list has given consent.” “Email campaigns don't work well and will quickly fall foul of the GDPR.”

In our preparation for the GDPR (which has lasted almost 2 years) we’ve read some good guides written by legal experts; and many bad interpretations written by people who have clearly not taken the time to actually read the regulation.

Had I not personally read all 54,876 words of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) then those comments would have had me flapping like a migrating goose! So let’s look at each one individually again.

“You must be able to show that every teacher on your marketing list has given consent.”

This is plain WRONG; there are other legal grounds for processing personal data. Even the Information Commissioner herself, Elizabeth Denham, is calling out these doom-mongers as pedalling ‘fake news’. You can read more about Sprint Education’s legal ground for processing teacher personal data on page 14 of the guide here.

“Email campaigns don't work well and will quickly fall foul of the GDPR.”

WRONG again. Emails work really well particularly when you have experts managing them for you, and as for “falling foul of the GDPR”, that’s just nonsense. As long as you take measures to ensure you’re doing it legally there’s no problem.

Sprint Education has implemented 3 key measures to ensure our emailing teachers service is GDPR compliant. In doing so we’ve examined how we can shoulder the burden of the Data Controller responsibility for our clients to enable them to continue to get their messages into schools and in front of teachers without the onerous burden of being a Data Controller and having to prove either a legitimate interest or consent ground.

Measure #1 – How An Email is Sent Going forward, the way we send emails will change; all messages will be specifically from Sprint Education, and the content will be ‘sponsored’ by our partners. This won’t change the look of your email much – it will still be branded with your livery and written in your specific style, but at the bottom of each email there will be a standard footer explaining who we are, a link to one of three preference centres (depending on the data subject in question and the legal grounds under which their data is being processed), and a means to opt out of receiving future messages either from Sprint, or just from ones sponsored by you.

Measure #2 – The Content of the Emails We Send Another measure we have put into place is ‘Absolute Message Relevance’. From May 2018 the contents and message of each campaign we send will be carefully considered by ensuring that each of the following questions can be answered with, “Yes”:

  1. Is the communication of particular relevance to the recipient’s job role?
  2. Is the communication of particular relevance to the establishment type that the recipient works at?
  3. Is the communication suitable for the age range that the recipient works with?
  4. Does what is being promoted have a clear and specific educational benefit or help the teacher save money for their school, or personally?
  5. Is there nothing misleading in the subject line or message?

Measure #3 – The Infrastructure That Emails Are Broadcast Through Although not specifically linked to the GDPR, we’ve upscaled from 14 to 18 mail servers and from 6 to 7 sending application platforms. This allows us to be more responsible in terms of the number of emails coming from any particular sending IP and spread our sending load across more hardware. This should, in turn, continue to improve our deliverability – and therefore, your response rates.

So the burning question is… now that we know emailing teachers with Sprint Education is GDPR compliant, what do you need to do to comply?

Well, this is covered in our report here, but when it comes to those education businesses that intend to use our managed emailing teachers service in 2018 the answer is simple. **Nothing! ** Their managed email campaigns will comply, Sprint Education has already tackled the GDPR emailing teachers compliance beast on their behalf.

So it is not a question of is ‘emailing teachers allowed under the GDPR?’, but has your education marketing partner gone to the effort of not only studying the regulation meticulously, but also putting the measures in place to ensure your edu-marketing will be compliant?

Knowing what we’ve done here at Sprint Education to meet GDPR compliance, if I was running my own education business I would be nailing my edu-marketing flag to Sprint’s mast in 2018, for sure.

To read the complete ‘The GDPR’s Impact on Marketing to Schools’ report download it for free here.

Education Marketing Education News Email Marketing

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