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DMA: Marketers have underestimated the GDPR

GDPR awareness has risen but marketing teams' preparations are still well behind schedule.

B2B markets are falling behind in their preparation for upcoming introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The new regulations come into force on May 28, 2018, but a study by Direct Marketers Association (DMA) has unearthed concerns that marketing teams are behind schedule in their preparations for the rule changes.

Falling behind

Overall GDPR awareness is up, but B2B marketers are falling behind and underestimating the impact of the GDPR, with nearly a third (28%) still feeling unprepared – down just 2% from a previous DMA survey. Overall, marketers with ‘good’ GDPR awareness rose by 13% to two-thirds (66%) of the total. However, B2B marketers feel both the least ‘prepared’ and the most ‘unprepared’ for the GDPR.

A quarter of marketers (26%) believe their companies are still unprepared for the introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), with just over half (56%) reporting that they feel prepared and 5% believing it’s not their responsibility. In addition, just two-thirds (68%) of those asked said their business would be GDPR compliant in time for 2018, according to the second edition of the DMA’s ‘GDPR and you’ series of studies into the industry’s awareness and preparedness for the GDPR.

According to the research, more than a third (37%) of marketers said profiling is one of their biggest concerns under GDPR, while half (50%) said it was legacy data and the runaway winner is consent with 70% agreeing that it would change under the GDPR. The result of these concerns is that the biggest priority for business are ‘conducting impact assessments’ (42%), ‘giving data subjects greater control of their data’ (36%) and ‘revising your data policy’ (31%). ‘Auditing your data privacy policy’ on the other hand has dropped from 39% to 30% since June 2016.

Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA group, comments: “May 2018 should be a date that is in every marketer’s diary, giving us around 16 months before the GDPR comes into force. It is concerning that only half of our industry feels their businesses are prepared for the new rules and not that many more believe they will be ready in time. The finish line for GDPR readiness is fixed and the risk to businesses of not being compliant is significant. Our advice is to continue preparations in earnest over the coming year. Not making it across the line in time is not an option.”

The bodies that will police the new regulation throughout Europe will soon release their guidance for businesses to follow. Once it is known how the Information Commissioner and others plan to regulate businesses using data, then final plans will be that much easier, the DMA noted. Nevertheless, the organisation remains concerned that some businesses, particularly those working purely in B2B marketing, may underestimate the changes ahead.

To find out more about the research or the latest range of GDPR-related advice, events, guides and training, visit: http://dma.org.uk/gdpr.

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