Event Marketing Under GDPR: What You Need To Know

06 May 2022
06 May 2022
Event Marketing Under GDPR: What You Need To Know

Non-compliance with GDPR might result in some very substantial financial implications as opposed to current data protection standards. People are not yet fully conscious of their rights, but they will be soon; the inquiries will begin to pour in, as will the legal battles.

We employ a variety of data-collecting methods in the events sector to collect and analyse information about attendees, ranging from registration platforms and mobile applications to questionnaires, social media, lead generation platforms, and so on. In addition, events handle highly confidential personal info, such as attendee names, contact details, work information, gender, disability, and food preferences.

Because data-driven marketing is becoming more prevalent in conferences and conventions, retailers and event planners will undoubtedly need to plan before the new restrictions take effect.

Working out the legal foundation to employ when approaching consumers on mailing lists is one of the most difficult challenges event marketers have due to GDPR. And quickly, while we’re on the topic, make sure to check these common email marketing mistakes to avoid.

The GDPR’s main challenge will be determining what data has to be collected from participants in places like application forms and applications and how that data will be used for advertising and customisation. It will alter how data about attendees is shared with third-party entities, including venues, agencies, sponsors, and technology suppliers.

Event marketers will no longer be permitted to use pre-ticked checkboxes or automated opt-ins for promotional mailing lists; instead, attendees will have to tick these marketing boxes of their own volition.

GDPR Requirements

Staying compliant with GDPR is not an easy task. This guide will help you learn about GDPR for event marketing. Here’s a list of things that are required under GDPR.

1. Consent

Event organisers will be expected to get agreement from their participants to keep and use personal data and clearly explain how that data will be used. The attendee’s permission must be expressed in an active, positive manner.

2. Breach notifications

Within 72 hours of finding a security breach, GDPR mandates that both consumers and data protection agencies be notified. This is an issue because most violations go unnoticed for a long time. Failure to report a breach within this timeframe, on the other hand, might result in significant fines.

3. Right to be Forgotten

EU nationals and citizens will be allowed to ask you at any time to erase their personal information. But interestingly, they’ll also be allowed to ask you to cease exchanging it with third parties to whom they have already given permission (for example, hotels, suppliers, events, and so on).

4. Access

Attendees must have access to private data about them your organisation’s processes, where the information is stored, and what it’s utilised for.

5. Data portability

Individuals will now have the option of requesting a copy of all personal data they previously submitted or requesting that the information be sent to another organisation – potentially a rival. The data must be delivered in a machine-readable manner that the new organisation can easily import and use.

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6. Privacy by design

GDPR mandates that data security be built into goods and processes from the start – this includes all tech platforms that assist you in gathering and managing personal data about participants and any other business platforms that store the same data (ex., CRM systems).

7. Data Protection Officers (DPO)

Some businesses will be required to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO), who will be in charge of GDPR compliance if they regularly monitor significant volumes of data or deal with data related to health data or felony offences. This entails keeping internal data protection regulations up to date, conducting employee training, and always documenting processing actions. Incorporating a learning management system can help efficiently manage and deliver GDPR training, ensuring that all employees are informed and compliant.

How will GDPR Impact Event Marketing?

It’s all too easy to dismiss GDPR compliance as a technology project rather than a commercial one. However, even while it may be the role of the IT, legal, or operations teams to figure it all out, many of the day-to-day activities that event planners engage in today might place organisations in considerable financial jeopardy as a result of GDPR.

  • Using registration forms with pre-ticked consent boxes and unclear opt-outs
  • Not having the right processes and mechanisms in place to keep track of permission.
  • Delegate lists are freely shared with venues, presenters, and other attendees.
  • Paying no heed to the information that freelancers and temporary workers have access to
  • Spreadsheets that aren’t secure are sent via email.
  • Leaving unsupervised hardcopy of registration lists on-site

What Happens if you Don't Comply?

The severity of the repercussions for non-compliance can be determined by a number of factors, including the length of the violation, the number of people affected, and the magnitude of the impact.

Noncompliance will result in sanctions for both information administrators and data handlers, such as event tech businesses and event management companies.

Each occurrence of non-compliance can result in a punishment of up to €20 million or 4% of a company’s global annual revenue from the preceding financial year, whichever is larger. This is in addition to any individual penalties that people whose data has been breached may be entitled to and the personal liabilities of your company’s managers.

This also ignores the significant harm to your reputation among guests, customers, partners, and workers. It may even result in revenue being lost to competitors who have done a better job preparing for GDPR.

What are the positives?

GDPR is a tough nut to crack, but it’s worth noting that it will also open up some significant opportunities for our sector. Organisations that are transparent and compliant with data will acquire respect for data subjects.

There will be a new degree of trust established. The openness with which the organisation communicates will be a significant factor in a person’s decision to join it in the first place. Another significant GDPR problem is that it is retroactive, so you must determine whether the data processed in the past is allowed too.

While many event organisers are concerned about the massive loss of data, you should use this as a chance to clean up your digital house. This is a perfect moment to enhance the content of your email marketing list and make sure you’re just storing the information you need.


GDPR is a difficult nut to crack, but it’s also crucial to realise that GDPR will bring forth some significant possibilities for this sector. Organisations that are transparent and handle data in a compliant manner will acquire the trust of research participants.

A new degree of trust will be established. The straightforward style of communication, in particular, will be a cause why a person would pick that specific business in the first place. Another significant GDPR problem is that it is retroactive, which means you must determine whether processed data is allowed. While many event planners are concerned about losing substantial amounts of data, you should view this as a chance to clean up your digital house.

Now is a great moment to enhance the quality of your email lists, for example by verifying email addresses, and making sure you’re just storing the information you need. But before you go, make sure to check out our fantastic selection of conference rooms here at Eventflare.

Finally, as well as marketing services, we can help you with all of your production needs for your events. From a customised and full service, only what you need.

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