Six Takeaways From the ON24’s Regulation Webinar That Will Ease Your Mind


GDPR went into effect on May 25. With significant penalties for non-compliance, and the fact that any organisation that communicates with people in the EU will have to comply, there was a lot of discussion in the run-up to the enforcement deadline. There continues to be a lot of discussions well after. Many companies are still struggling to comply with the regulations and have questions about various aspects of compliance. What are the regulations? What do we do if our company is not ready for GDPR? Does GDPR affect other departments aside from marketing? How do we build campaigns that help gain compliance?

ON24’s Insight50 Ask About: Regulation webinar addresses these questions and more. Webinar panelists Abigail Dubiniecki, senior lawyer and specialist at My Inhouse Lawyer , Richard Preece, Director at DA Resilience and Zach Thornton, External Affairs Manager at the DMA shared their knowledge and expertise to answer questions and discuss the various aspects of GDPR and what it means to companies.

Here are just six key takeaways from the webinar, moderated by Andrew Warren-Payne from Market2Marketers .

Most attendees aren’t compliant but they are getting there

If your company is not 100% compliant with GDPR, you are not alone. Of the webinar attendees, 48% reported that ‘We are not fully compliant but are taking steps towards it’ when asked ‘Where is your company in terms of readiness for GDPR?’43a66b68 727a 452c 93ca 0654d4dbf7f8

On this note, one important question came from the audience: if your contacts have not opted in by the 25th May deadline, does it mean you can no longer contact them? According to Zach Thornton, if your company is already abiding by opt-in consent rules and you have a continual engagement or relationship with your customer, this implies continual consent making renewal of consent unnecessary. He believes that companies going through this re-consenting process are wasting resources and might needlessly be keeping in touch with contacts that are consenting to receive marketing.

Procrastinators don’t panic

If you are feeling a bit behind on GDPR compliance, don’t panic. Abigail Dubiniecki, from My Inhouse Lawyer, advises not to panic and to think before you act. She has a Five-Step Procrastinator’s Checklist that can help you towards compliance.

  1. Know the law

Get on the ICO website and familiarise yourself with the following guidelines and tools:

ICO Direct Marketing Guide

ICO Guide to the GDPR


ICO Lawful Basis Interactive Tool

  1. Know your data

Know what kind of data you have. This is important because, as Dubiniecki says, “You can’t do things properly if you don’t know what you have.”

  1. Know your legal justification and your purpose

Segment your database and identify what the legal justification is for having those contacts. You’ll want to know the following information about your contacts:

  • Provenance
  • Preference they have
  • Purpose you are allowed to market to them
  1. Trim the fat

This is where you want to use your metrics. Find out how much engagement you have had with your contacts. From that point, you can purge those contacts that do not engage.

  1. Go forth and market, but do it appropriately and maintain good practices

Establish workflows and make sure you have a record of processing activities. Most importantly, make sure you train those people involved in these workflows and processing activities.

Make privacy a positive

Many of the webinar participants polled (39%) are not sure whether GDPR would be good for business. However, the majority (54%) felt that GDPR would have a positive effect on business.

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This positive outlook on GDPR’s on the state of business is refreshing and in line with the advice given by Zach Thornton. He suggests that companies make privacy a positive. Transparent, common-sense guidance allows companies to address customers’ concerns about their personal data and let customers know that they are in control of how your company uses their data. Privacy can now be a company’s unique selling point.

A good example of an organisation making privacy positive is the BBC, which uses a layered privacy approach. This method provides the most important information to the contact first at the top layer (for example, on a sign-up form); thereafter, each layer of additional information gets more detailed but still gives a clear explanation as to how that information will be used. This approach makes it easier to explain privacy information for the average person.

Email is thought to be the marketing channel most at risk but what about sales activities?2585e5d0 37e4 4922 8758 612202c6982c

Not surprisingly, email is believed to be the marketing channel that has the greatest amount of risk in reference to GDPR. Webinars were seen as the lowest risk.

But while much talk has been on marketing practices and channels that will fall under the scrutiny of GDPR, what about sales activities?

As Zach Thornton explained, because GDPR applies to the processing of personal data that can be linked back to an individual, it does apply to sales activities such as cold calling, contacting prospects via social media such as LinkedIn as well as the use of email prospecting tools. It is important to note that GDPR also applies to human resources, IT and any other department that processes personal data.

If marketing is designed properly, compliance will happen

So how can marketers design their campaigns to gain compliance? According to Abigail Dubiniecki, the answer is to design marketing campaigns that establish a reason for engagement and encourages the development of relationships. If marketing efforts, such as webinars, are created around the idea that people don’t want to miss out and the excitement of being part of something interesting, people will sign up so they can be notified of upcoming events. If you deliver value, compliance will follow

Compliance is an ongoing endeavor

The last takeaway from the webinar is one to keep in mind—compliance does not end; it is an endeavor. As Richard Preece explained, compliance is an ongoing process. It requires you to challenge the way you do things, to understand the risk and have a clear system in place. This system will allow for continuous improvements and adapts over time to the needs of your business.

Want to know more?

If you want to know more, the ON24 Insight50 Ask About: Regulation is available now on-demand.

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Announcing Webinar World 2018 London


September is almost on us, which means it’s time for Webinar World London . The annual two-day conference, held from Sept. 11 to 12, is stuffed with the latest engagement-driving strategies and tactics sure to drive ROI — as well as some thorough discussions on GDPR and its continued impact on marketing.  

Taking place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, Webinar World London will bolster webinar practitioners with actionable insights from the world’s leading brands, ranging from AutoTrader and Oracle to Polycom and Ericsson and more.

The conference will feature Isabel Montesdeoca, Director of EMEA Research at SiriusDecisions, as the keynote speaker, where she will share her formula for a marketing mix that resonates with modern B2B buyers. Other tracks will highlight achieving ROI, how webinars enhance ABM programs how to realize pipeline heaven.

During this event, attendees can take advantage of:

  • Three learning tracks, including Webinar Best Practices, Webinar Execution and the Genius Theatre
  • Peer-to-peer networking with digital marketing leaders and webinar practitioners
  • Live case studies, sessions and panels from top brands

As the cap on 2018’s global Webinar World series, the London event will provide an excellent venue to bring 2018’s lessons into one place and prepare for the coming year. We can’t wait to see you there.

To learn more about Webinar World London, see the full agenda, and save your spot, please visit the Webinar World Site right here .



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Gearing Your Marketing for a GDPR Future

Best Practices

For the past few weeks, we’ve published a few items on the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. The law, which took effect on May 25 of this year, is comprehensive and impacts marketers around the globe . If you interact with data stemming from a citizen of the European Union, your organization will need to accommodate it.

Acquiescing to the new standards of marketing, however, isn’t easy. Databases need to be cleansed. Marketing tactics need to be updated. Real human engagement, especially in a digital environment, needs to take priority. Webinars, as we discussed earlier , provide a GDPR-compliant foundation for organizations to build engaging campaigns on. Still, companies need to know how to craft campaigns and webinars so they fall in line with GDPR.

A GDPR-ready program has a fundamental grasp of the law and how it applies specifically to the program and its parent organization. With this knowledge in mind, marketers can make the necessary back-end adjustments to extract the most from its digital events and maintain compliance for the long run.

Before you Webinar

To start, marketers won’t find the all-encompassing legal GDPR guidance they need in a blog post, a news article or a webinar. Officers and managers must read the actual legislation to understand how it affects them and seek the advice of their legal team or legal counsel. The goal here is for the marketing, sales and executive arms of the organization to have a unified understanding of the law, its impacts, and how the company can coordinate to come into compliance.

With this foundational knowledge underarm, organizations can then plot adjustments to their back-end practices. Doing so often involves establishing a dedicated compliance officer, executing an audit of your database as well as a database cleanse, updating email and messaging preference centers and building out standards and policies for long-term compliance. As an added benefit, these back-end updates can help an organization right its marketing data ship, expunging low-quality contacts while providing an opportunity to adjust scoring models.

Getting to the Marketing

Marketers need to keep several goals in mind when they try to drive opt-in behaviors in their webinar events. For one, they must establish expertise and become a trusted advisor. For another, they must build a brand personality through their events so they can forge personable connections as the program expands. Additionally, they must educate their audiences before asking for consent – teach them what you’re about, what’s going on in your industry, what they can do succeed, then invite them to learn more from you later. Each goal, however, can be summed up in one word: help. All you have to do to engage and gain compliance is help your audience.

Re-centering a marketing program’s mission to helping prospects and assisting longtime customers is now the critical marketing philosophy that must inform all other actions. In many ways, GDPR is a means of enabling you to better understand your prospect’s pain points and cater your marketing efforts to address those issues. By helping your audience, you help your organization.

Help yourself and your webinars

The fundamental shift from “pitching to” to “helping with” also affects how webinars are conducted. Gone are the days where registration is the only goal for the webinar. Now are the days of getting attendees to engage with you and a webinar’s content.

Programmatic webinars are often the best way to earn engagement. Much like a television station, a series, or program, can build on a company’s innate expertise and personalities. Talk shows, Q&A sessions, product demos, industry trends and far, far more are fair-game for webinar programs. Putting these programs into play facilitates trust between presenter and viewer and, over time, turns trust into engagement into consent. And in GDPR consent accounts for a lot.

There are two key terms marketers must understand to master GDPR’s nuances. One is called legitimate interest, where companies can collect and use personal data so long as it possesses a “legitimate interest” for the individual whose data is being collected (organizations must be able to justify their reasoning and should not assume legitimate interest gives them carte blanche to hoover up data).

The second term is far easier to understand: consent. As in, the attendee consents to hear more from you through a newsletter, emails and or webinars. For GDPR, consent is far more powerful, far more robust and far more engaging than legitimate interest ever can be. So, when in doubt, seek the consent of your attendees and prospects during webinar events.

Getting to Consent with Viewer

When it comes to webinars, especially those seeking long-term engagement, it pays to not pitch. Even if your company does produce a relevant solution to a problem at hand, pitching can still damage your brand and your events. After all, a webinar’s goal is to help the prospect with their problems — not hear you talk about your organization.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t position your organization within an event. For example, teams can place white papers, third-party studies, and benchmark reports in webinars where hosts and guests discuss customer satisfaction and practices, industry issues and in-depth solution guides — and safely point to them for download during an event (more on this in a second). You can also match your webinar programs to stages in the marketing funnel — from deep-dive product demos to high-level thought leadership panels on regulations and more.

With a program in place, presided by subject matter experts, percolated through planned events and series, resonate with audiences needing your help — then you can begin to work on consent through multiple opt-in opportunities.

Multiple opt-in opportunities are the nebulae — or electron cloud — surrounding a webinar. They’re the blog post you wrote ages ago, the third-party studies you commissioned, the white papers, the benchmark reports, the videos, demos, eBooks, slides you make available within a webinar; they are especially the gated on-demand webinars, videos and reports you link to — these are each an opportunity to ask an attendee or visitor for consent to contact them and build a relationship.

For example, you can ask attendees for consent with every gated asset with a simple box at the bottom of a form-fill (note: never pre-tick consent boxes — an illegal maneuver under GDPR). Contact us buttons, like those in webinars, can also be used as positive opt-in opportunities. Polls, too, can be used. In fact, during a July 12 webinar on GDPR, 85 percent of all attendees opted-in and consented to hear more from ON24 through a simple webinar poll after the host offered the poll to them. The point is to surround your attendees and prospects with the opportunity to engage with you and your brand on their terms.

Putting it all together

Marketers have marketed in a way that has left them unprepared for GDPR. A symptom may be automation — a set of tools and techniques used to make the elements of communication and marketing in a digital age much more comfortable  — but the real culprit is that marketers just don’t know how to engage with their audiences anymore.

With marketing automation, you could send out a dozen messages to millions of people. The benefit of this is that even if you convert two to three percent of your recipients, you still get an acceptable number of sign-ups. But it’s spray and pray marketing on an industry-wide scale. It atrophies the muscles you need to make a personal, human touch. But we have a fix. Use this checklist below to assess your GDPR readiness, and guide your engagement efforts.


  • Review GDPR with legal
  • Establish roles and responsibilities for GDPR compliance
  • Audit database
  • Cleanse database of old, outdated, and duplicate entries
  • Review and update email preference center
  • Establish long-term policies for GDPR compliance

Preparing for GDPR-ready webinars:

  • Identify brand personalities, subject-matter experts for events
  • Plot webinar programs covering top, mid, and bottom-of-funnel needs, including:
  • Educational material
  • Industry news
  • Interactive product demos
  • Identify evergreen content to include in webinar events

Executing webinars:

  • Outline the event
  • Identify and incorporate resources relevant to the webinar
  • Identify and include opt-in opportunities
  • Outline event
  • Promote over email, social and more
  • Practice
  • Execute
  • Analyze results

For more information on how webinars can help you provide a GDPR-compliant event, check out our on-demand Webinar Best Practices Series event, “How webinars can Help You Succeed in a GDPR World .”

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Why Webinars are a Powerful Instrument in your GDPR Toolkit


If there’s one law on the tip of every marketer’s tongue, it’s GDPR . The General Data Privacy Regulation, which went into effect this May, is a requirement for any organization dealing with the data of citizens from the European Union. In essence, it empowers European Union citizens to control their data and puts strict limits on what data organizations can collect and how.

Similar regulations are popping up  in the United States as well.

At its heart, GDPR is about engagement. It demands organizations to be proactive, earn their audience’s interest and to respect the time of today’s digital community. By doing so, organizations aren’t only coming into compliance with GDPR, they’re nurturing better pipeline, a better brand, and a quality one-to-one relationship that actually matters.

So how can an organization wrestle with GDPR? At a glance, GPDR looks like it’d hurt a company’s marketing and sales efforts. It could, theoretically, slash market-qualified leads and cut pipeline. But companies don’t have to take that perceived hit so long as they use the right tools to engage with relevant, interested audiences. What organizations need to do is stop interrupting and start engaging.

That’s where webinars and platforms like the ON24 Engagement Platform  step in. With interactive, engaging webinars and events, companies can both affirm consent and confirm interest with  European Union citizens. Moreover, organizations can maintain and expand on that interest through a variety of in-webinar widgets, such as Q&As, newsletter sign up and more. No other digital marketing tool gives you the opportunity to — in one event — interact with a nearly limitless audience with multiple touchpoints while both gaining GDPR-compliant consent and gauging interest through advanced analytics.

What’s more, with tools like ON24’s Gateway  — an on-demand engagement hub for webinars, white papers and more — organizations can continue to drive that interest well after an event is over — allowing on-demand attendees to engage with a brand’s message on their own time.

Why does that matter? Simple: It puts your audience in the driver’s seat and allows them to interact with your brand and your content, on their terms. You no longer have to worry about if your messaging is spot-on because your audience will tell you through their interactions with you. You no longer have to worry if you’re GDPR-compliant with consent and legitimate interest, because your audience will confirm their interest through their interactions with you. ON24 helps you to put your audience in control — the way it should be.

Want to learn more about how webinars can be a powerful instrument in your GDPR toolkit? Join us on July 17 at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST)  as our webinar guru, Mark Bornstein, explains the ins-and-outs of GDPR and where webinars fit in.

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GDPR, Marketing and the Shift to a Privacy-Centric World


It’s been a little over a month since the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, became law. The statute, taking effect on May 25, 2018, launched a slew of privacy update emails and last-minute data wrangling efforts from various companies across the globe. It has since inspired similar regulations, most recently California’s California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (AB 375) . Additional regulations, originating from different countries or states, could be on the way.

Why all the hubbub?

There are a few reasons why GDPR inspired so much scrambling and continues to do so after its implementation. First, it affects companies on a global scale. Second, it shifts an organization’s control over collected data from companies to individuals. Third, organizations can only collect data on an individual if they actively ask the individual for consent or if that individual has a legitimate interest in that company’s dealings.

Not only that, but organizations also need to clearly explain why they are collecting data and what for. Companies will need to demonstrate they can easily delete collected data if either A). an individual requests it or B). if the data is no longer relevant to the reasons it was initially collected in the first place. Data cannot be kept indefinitely for no particular reason.

The central issue, and why this regulation impacts companies across the globe, is that it regulates any data belonging to any E.U. citizen, regardless of where that data, or the company using that data, resides. If, for example, a company hosts an E.U. citizen’s data in Canada, that company still needs to comply with GDPR or risk up to 4 percent of its global revenue.

So, yeah — GDPR is a big deal. And both companies and governments are still trying to wrestle with both its implications and its enforcement.

Ultimately, though, GDPR is good , even if it’s still unclear to many. It empowers individuals to control their data and gives companies the scaffolding they need to shift their marketing and data retention policies to focus on individuals who are actively interested in what a company has to offer. Think of GDPR — and similar legislation — as an opportunity to both better organize your data and shorten your marketing funnel by engaging with folks who are genuinely interested in your business. It’s an invitation to stop interrupting and start engaging by putting your audience’s interests first.

To help you on your journey, we’re putting together a GDPR webinar. We’ll give you the low-down on the new law and how webinars can act as a powerful tool to help you stay in compliance and generate better pipeline. If you’re in the European market, join us on July 12 at 11 a.m. BST. If you’re in the United States, join us on July 17, at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) to get a better understanding of what GDPR means for you and how you can use webinars to get ahead of privacy regulations.

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ON24: GDPR Ready


I hate rules. And, I think the best marketers are those who break them.

Which is why I’m surprisingly ok with the larger mission of the EU’s forthcoming, and discussed-to-death General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Yes, it’s a pain in the ass, but I fundamentally believe the challenge is one all marketers should embrace, inside or outside the EU. Let’s use the deadline of May 25th to ask ourselves some big, uncomfortable questions about the way we’re engaging with prospects. Is the interaction human? Are you getting any more besides an unsubscribe notice from your very generic email?

It’s time to take a step back and examine whether all this marketing technology is adding or taking away from the relationship we’re all relentlessly trying to build with our customers and prospects. And, of course, make sure your technology is GDPR-ready.

The good news is that ON24 has you covered on both aspects. We’ve built our platform to make engagement more human through live, on-demand and personalized experiences. And, our privacy and product experts have worked very hard to ensure the data you collect along the way is kosher with the EU’s new policy.

So, we’ve got your back, webinerds… Keep on breaking (most) rules, stop spamming, and start engaging !

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