GDPR and the Right Side of History

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Brian Halligan
Brian Halligan


Brian Halligan sent this note to all HubSpot employees this morning:


Yesterday, I got three emails from vendors asking me if it is okay that they keep sending me emails. I imagine you got a few as well. The irony is hard to miss.

Rather than making a sarcastic joke, though, I actually welcome these notifications. These companies are trying to get on the right side of history, complying with GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation enacted by the European Union, which goes into effect today.

History has a way of catching up on you. Auto manufacturers fought government mandates in the 1960s to add seat belts as standard features, arguing that it would raise costs, give consumers the impression that cars are dangerous, and that safety was not a selling point with customers.

Before seat belts were a requirement, some forward thinking car companies had already made them standard features. By getting ahead of that trend, they were years ahead in making safety part of their differentiation.

One of the things I love about working at HubSpot is that our customers are all on the sharp part of that curve, on the right side of history. HubSpot customers have made how they sell just as important as what they sell. They don’t just look to grow -- they look to grow better, attracting their own customers by being responsive and helpful, not by engaging in disruptive and unwelcome intrusions. They embody what it means to be Inbound.

The GDPR is a positive step for the marketing discipline at large. The GDPR is wholly consistent with the Inbound approach to business.

Some companies already distinguish themselves by being relevant, helpful and transparent: GDPR will help them refine what they have in place and grow better.

Some companies are at the other end of spectrum. They have little interest in adapting their marketing to an evolving marketplace. GDPR compliance may feel like a burdensome regulation.

And then there are all those companies in the vast middle, that were perhaps willing to become more Inbound in their marketing, but were not quite as ready or able due to competing short-term priorities. For them, GDPR-compliance may be a useful forcing function, a chance to get on the right side of marketing history. A chance to grow better.

Compliance with the GDPR, regardless of a company’s state of readiness, can be a daunting task. We can empathize. For the last few months, HubSpot has readied our company to adopt the spirit of the regulation globally.

For our customers, we’ve enhanced the HubSpot platform to enable easier compliance with the GDPR. You and your customers can read more about the product changes and deeper details on HubSpot and the GDPR here.

I’m excited for our future in a post-GDPR world. Buckle up!


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