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Life Under GDPR: How to Collect Consent

Type: Blog

Life Under GDPRNow that GDPR is in effect, we have to collect consent from our customers if we want to communicate with them. As a customer, we’ve all been asked to provide information. Sometimes it’s in person, in a store. Sometimes it’s online. And yet as marketers, we often forget to consider the perspective of the customer. In this blog, we’ll explore the optimal consent collection process. It’s useful to think about it from the consumer’s perspective.

When prompted for a consent request, here are a few of the critical questions consumers ask themselves. We’ve all thought these from time to time; I’m sure you’ll recognize a few. We’ll also discuss some corresponding principles we can use from each one.

1. What’s in it for me?

It’s a simple question. Everyone wonders it when facing a consent collection request. Research demonstrates that consumers want either value or convenience. Incentivize them to agree. Use discounts, enhanced access or some other benefit.

2. What will you do with my information? 

Consumers worry about data protection and privacy. This is understandable. Under GDPR, consumers hold the right to demand answers and businesses are required to specify their intentions. Get ahead of the trust curve by clearly stating why you want the data and what you plan to do with it.

Canada & EU Consent

This disclosure is clear and concise. It specifies that you:

  • will receive marketing communications from PossibleNOW through the email channel
  • can revoke your consent
  • can go to the privacy policy to learn more

3. What do I do next? 

Companies often create complex, multi-layered consent collection forms. Sometimes this is an effort to consolidate multiple requests. Sometimes it’s an opportunity to present related disclaimers and benefits. But it has drawbacks: a confused consumer is unlikely to proceed. Simplified forms with clear, intuitive interfaces work best. Keep it clear and simple, and easy to understand.

4. How can I limit permission to the topics I’m interested in?

Consider the possibilities of “keeping in touch” with a major global media conglomerate. Without boundaries, that could mean you are subscribed to everything. That would include news about sports, politics, entertainment, financial markets and more. That would be completely overwhelming to a consumer. They’d probably end up opting out. Empower consumers with drop-downs and checklists to select topics of interest. Letting them be specific will help avoid abandonment from fear of too much communication.

Preference Center

A preference center can be accessed anytime on the company’s website or via the email footer. It:

  • lists the various communications that you can subscribe to or unsubscribe from
  • allows you to provide or revoke consent by communication channel
  • provides the ability to advertise high-value content

5. Can I revoke my consent later? 

Knowing that permission can be easily revoked is a reassuring signal of good intentions. The company is saying “We intend to earn your interest with valuable offers and content.” Present consumers with the option to revoke consent in several places:

  • in emails
  • in “my account” logins
  • in preference center screens, etc.

You want customers to have the option to revoke their consent wherever consent is collected.

Opt-down pages save between 60-90% of all global unsubscribe requests.

People will stay engaged if you let them specify what’s important to them. Most people do want to hear from you – they just want to choose what it’ll be about and how often. Give them a voice in the conversation. Remember to listen to what they want and respond accordingly. Keeping their perspective in mind is a key strategy for success.


Eric Tejeda

Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace.  

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 
Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda


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