Seven days until GDPR D-Day: Firms still floundering

GDPR clock2With exactly one week to go until GDPR finally comes into force, over a quarter (27%) of UK marketers believe their organisations are either behind schedule or – even more concerning – have made no plans at all, despite levels of understanding and preparedness for the new regulation reaching an all-time high.
The latest tracking report from the DMA, entitled “GDPR & You – Chapter 5”, shows that one in five (20%) marketers believe their employers are behind schedule and will not be ready by May 25. Worse still, 7% state that their organisation has yet to start its preparations.
Even so, UK marketers are feeling more confident than ever, with 81% bullish about being ship-shape, compared with just 46% in 2016.
The DMA has been monitoring the awareness and key concerns of the UK marketing community during the two-year transition period since GDPR was passed by Brussels in 2016. There is a growing belief that the benefits of the new regulations to consumers outweigh the disadvantages to businesses, with more than half (52%) of marketers believing this to be true.
DMA Group chief executive Chris Combemale said: “While the Information Commissioner’s Office has stated it will be pragmatic before handing out penalties, companies must show evidence that they are doing everything in their power to be ready. Otherwise they won’t just be receiving fines from the ICO; they could lose their customers’ trust and be at risk of security breaches, with the reputational damage posing a real threat to brand and share value.”
However, Combemale said it was “encouraging to see that GDPR awareness and preparedness is at an all-time high, with marketers increasingly optimistic about the benefits of the new legislation”.
He added: “GDPR is a fantastic opportunity for organisations to build consumer trust and highlight to their customers the benefits of sharing their data. Organisations should use it to build a culture within their business of putting the consumer first and improving their experience.”
The report also shows that one of the biggest priorities for marketers and their organisations surrounding GDPR revolves around staff training – with a spike in the past six months in the percentage of marketers who feel they have received appropriate training for GDPR, up 21% from November 2017 to 54% in the latest survey.
But the DMA is  concerned that, despite the complexities of GDPR compliance and its impact on how organisations communicate with customers, more than a quarter of marketers polled (27%) have had no specific training to date. Some 34% felt that more training was needed and just over three-fifths (68%) believed training will help their organisation comply beyond the deadline.
“GDPR is a watershed moment for organisations as they strive to make data protection a core brand value. That journey won’t end on May 25 and industry professionals must continue to learn and adapt as they – and their consumers – get to grips with the new legislation. Therefore, ongoing training and support is essential for organisations to reap the rewards of GDPR,” added Combemale.

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