May 19, 2020

The affects of GDPR on North American companies

Pouyan Broukhim
5 min
The affects of GDPR on North American companies

Personal data is the ‘world’s most valuable resource’, rated more precious than that of oil. Data is collected at an astonishing rate and, as such, is highly regarded by companies around the world. Something as simple as posting a photo is recorded to your digital footprint, allowing businesses to target your needs with hyper-personalised ads. However, as digital slowly starts to dominate lives and industries, consumers are becoming suspicious.

According to the 2017 Data Threat Report, 70% of consumers believe their data has been made accessible for the use of cybercriminals, among other concerns. As such, the UK is enforcing the GDPR on May 25th 2018. The GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, is legislation to safeguard your consumer's data. However, this not only affects European companies, but international corporations too. For any business collecting data from their European consumers, you must comply. Washington Direct Mail, a UK mailing house, are looking into the importance of data collection, and what the GDPR will spell for your U.S/Canadian company.

How will the GDPR affect my business?

The GDPR will bring about some serious changes in data privacy. If you happen to be based in the U.S or Canada, but handle data on EU consumers, you will be affected. However, there are two critical points to note. Firstly, if the EU consumer (or subject) is not in the EU when you collect your data, the GDPR does not apply. Secondly, your prospects do not need to purchase from your site for the GDPR to apply to your business. Even if you happen to be collecting data as part of a marketing survey, those EU consumers are protected under the terms of the GDPR. To get to the basics: if you are hosting a ‘generic survey’ without directly targeting EU consumers, but a prospect from Britain fills out the survey - they are not covered under the GDPR. However, if your study mentions references to EU users, then the law will kick-in, and you must follow the privacy legislation. If not, it could spell big trouble for your business.

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What are the fines?

Any U.S or Canadian business with a market in the EU must be aware of these changes. You can implement changes through building privacy settings into your website, improving communication with your audience and asking permission for data. The privacy legislation is legally binding. Therefore, you could face a hefty fine if you ignore. The fines can reach upwards of €20 million, or 4% of your global turnover.

What are the primary regulations?

As we get closer to the data, you should already be looking into how to implement changes to your product if necessary. However, we have outlined the main points of the GDPR for all companies, whether in the EU, U.S or Canada.


This is a hot point of topic in the media. The GDPR requires explicit consent from your consumers, for the use of their data. You must always ask to use their data and show complete transparency as to why, where and how you will collect. Ensure the personal data is collected with a specific purpose. You must update your mailing list or database to make sure you are not reaching out to those who do not wish to be contacted, and have said so - bringing us to our next point.

‘The Right to be Forgotten’

This regulation is exactly what you would expect. All consumers have the right to be removed from your database and, subsequently, forgotten. If they ‘opt-out’ from your data collection, you must remove any personal information immediately.

Control of data

The primary takeaway from the GDPR is that control of data is back in the hands of your users. It does make it more difficult to obtain, but it can also work well in terms of marketing. Those consumers left in your database are those that have expressed interest in your products, putting your brand in front of the right people.


Clear, accurate data is vital for your business during the GDPR. Without the right data, you cannot target the correct prospects - rendering your existing data useless. You must keep accurate data at all times and store it no longer than necessary. When collecting your personal information, you are also required to provide an audit trail for the collection and use.

How does the GDPR benefit my company?

The GDPR certainly doesn’t spell doom and gloom - quite far from it. While the media likes to portray the GDPR as the death knell for marketing, you can use it to your advantage. Effectively, the GDPR allows you to build trust and, subsequently, revenue. By sharing why and how you are collecting data and ensuring full transparency, you are creating a relationship with your consumer and improving engagement.

We touched on this point above, but the legislation specifically targets those interested in your services. If a prospect doesn’t want to share data, they will say so. However, those who would like to learn more will provide consent, so you are halfway there to encouraging them to buy your products.

Ultimately, the GDPR does mean large changes for personal data, but it can benefit your business in the long-term. However, you must comply with the rules.

Article contributed by Washington Direct Mail.

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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