Why isn’t GDPR on every marketer’s to-do list?

15th Mar 2017

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has announced the findings from its latest survey of members, highlighting the evolving role of UK marketers and where their focus lies.

One of the key revelations concerns the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the seeming lack of concern around the change in European law, penned for May 2018.

Only 5% of marketers say they wholly understand what GDPR means for their business, whilst 50% say they don’t know anything about the regulation. Most concerning is that 16% do not think GDPR is relevant to them at all.

GDPR’s key criteria involves switching all marketing activity from opt-out to opt-in. The rules will introduce stricter requirements around when brands and businesses can use data, and how explicitly clear their communications are around how they plan to use customer data.

Severe penalties await businesses that do not comply - the fines for breaking the regulations are capped at €20 million or 4% of global turnover, whichever is higher.

“It is concerning to see that GDPR has not been fully considered, given the wide-reaching impact this will have on business areas which deal with data – marketers’ natural habitat,” says Chris Daly, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

“Given the concerns that emerged from consumers last year over how businesses collect and use customer data, marketers must make sure they are prepared and ready for GDPR sooner rather than later. By staying on the right side of the incoming legislation, marketers are best placed to safeguard not only their business’ reputation, but also its finances.”

Beyond compliance

In the recent MyCustomer guide to GDPR, Thomas Husson, a principal analyst at Forrester Research stated that marketing leaders must act as a conduit between their team and their board when it comes to GDPR, in order to push the mandate for looking beyond the remit of compliance, and thinking about how to use the regulations to their advantage.    

“This is not just a regulation issue. The real issue is that consumer distrust will increase, damaging the brand value. Marketers need to work closely with legal and security teams in a cross-functional team to get ahead of regulatory enforcement. In terms of skillset, they should take a consumer hat and think of privacy in terms of context and value.

“At Forrester, we strongly believe the new privacy is all about context. We define contextual privacy as ‘a business practice in which the collection and use of personal data is consensual, within a mutually agreed upon context, for a mutually agreed-upon purpose’. It is really about creating a dialogue with consumers and being clear on the data you will use, not use and what for.”

The CIM’s study highlighted that 9% of marketers had heard “mentions” of GDPR planning within their business, but that nothing had been formally discussed.

Further reading: 

MyCustomer guide to GDPR and customer data 
Government bill to herald marketing restrictions? 
DMA says one in four businesses are not prepared for GDPR

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