It’s been more than a year since GDPR came into effect. GDPR affects all EU nationals and the companies concerned with them in any way. Since then the way data is collected, stored, processed and analyzed has changed a lot, which implies that market research has changed. GDPR survey is all about dealing with one’s personal data such that it doesn’t reveal his/her identity.
There are various methods of doing market research and can be broadly classified into quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative methods involve statistical methods, surveys, interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, and many more. Qualitative methods rely on subjective data such as expressions, emotions, mannerisms, body language, etc. Now the organizations need to be more careful with not just individual elements of personal data, but even if the combination of those elements can identify an individual. GDPR compliant market research companies will have to be just more careful about how they deal with data.
Things to keep in mind while doing GDPR compliant market research
In order to comply with GDPR law, organizations must identify how the data they collect fit their business and their research projects.
For instance, while storing cookies on the user’s machine, websites must mention the purpose behind them in the download pop-up. Also, websites need to declare at the same time what will the information collected be used for. Say, in case the cookies will be used for sending discounts and offers or marketing emails, it must be declared in the pop-up.
Get the consent of your target audience.
Say, you are conducting a survey to know the favorite flavored drink of the population aged 18-25. If this survey is a part of the GDPR market research project, you must make sure your email list has people who have shown willingness to be contacted for any opinion or feedback survey. While asking for their consent, you must explicitly mention that they will be contacted for surveys. This means you will not be able to send them marketing emails or newsletters unless they have subscribed to them.
While contacting people to gather data, ask questions like,
“Are they the right people to contact?”,
“Will I get the information I need for my market research?”,
“Do I have permission to contact them?”,
“Can I contact them on legal grounds?”
Keep a link to your data privacy and security policies.
When people trust that their personal data is safe and will not be misused by the market research companies, they may not hesitate to share details about them. However, in case though you might not use their personal data, if you are sharing it with any third-party, mention it explicitly.
With GDPR market research regulations, companies would also need to stay ethical in terms of what they do with the data. If you are collecting personal data and are keeping it safe at your end, but sharing it with third-party, then you must declare it at the point of data collection as well as on your website. Suppose, if you are running a survey, then you must keep a link to your privacy policies in the invitation email as well as on the website.
Let your respondents know for long will you be using the GDPR market research data.
Market research methods such as online surveys and questionnaires collect data by asking a set of questions. Once, a good number of responses are received, the data is stored in databases and used to generate various analytics reports. If you let the respondents know that you will be storing data for a fixed duration, it can help you get consent from more people. Once the validity period is over, destroy the data. This helps in protecting data from being accessed by unauthorized use. Also, GDPR allows individuals the right to erase or forget the information collected about them. During any time of conducting the GDPR compliant survey, they can either request verbally or in-written to delete the data. So, the idea is to have a control on the duration for which GDPR market research stores the data.
Be careful and vigilant about how the GDPR market research data will be stored.
Few people have concerns about where the data collected about EU nationals will be stored. Storing sensitive data outside the geographical boundaries may not give them enough control over it. Particularly, when data is stored in the cloud where the division of responsibility isn’t clear a few times. It can be a matter of discussion in such cases, as to whether the cloud service provider, vendor partner or the customer will be responsible for the data security and privacy. Because of this ambiguity and susceptibility to security attacks, cloud storage hasn’t been considered to be too safe. However, with the passage of time, the cloud computing model has matured and hence, such fears have dispersed to a great extent. Hence, while conducting GDPR surveys, think about these issues and discuss them with your team.
In general, GDPR compliance reinforces the good practice that a market research company should follow. There is nothing to fear if you are handling the data with care!