Marketers have been forced to remove nearly a quarter (23%) of their customer data records to get in shape for GDPR since the legislation came into force in May, with only half of all businesses believing they were fully compliant at the time.
That is according to a new study by TransUnion (formerly Callcredit), which shows companies have spent the past six months playing catch-up.
During this time, marketers have had to completely overhaul their internal marketing function, with 67% having defined new data management policies.
More than half (53%) have implemented new data systems or customer engagement tools, and 42% have hired a data protection officer or team. Meanwhile over a fifth (22%) have been working more closely with their executive leadership team to implement the new regulation.
In addition, 43% report that training their marketing team on data handling guidelines has been the biggest challenge and over a third (38%) said they struggled with their restricted access to consumer data.
However, it seems that all the hard work has been worth it, with two-thirds (63%) of marketers feeling they are now more effective in their sales and marketing, and nearly three-quarters (73%) recognising they have a far cleaner database.
TransUnion business development director Ryan Kemp said: “The introduction of GDPR clearly brought challenges for marketers, and it’s no surprise that many businesses weren’t fully compliant by the time the deadline fell.
“However, despite the difficulties, the new regulation has changed the way marketing teams operate for the better. The modern marketing team now better understands the need to carefully manage and use data, which will enable them to drive truly actionable insights to improve customer interactions.
“GDPR has fundamentally changed the way businesses interact with their data – with the legislation resonating well beyond its European reach in today’s global marketplace – and it’s reassuring to see that many organisations are realising the benefits of the changes.
“To remain compliant, it’s essential that marketers continue to educate and train staff, as well as aligning their internal processes. The results can include more effective communications, as our research has shown, as well as an improved customer experience and far greater customer loyalty.”
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