Awareness of the newly passed EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) among marketers may have rocketed over the past few months – just 6% have never heard of it – but a third of businesses say they still feel ‘unprepared’ for the changes.
That is according to the first of the DMA’s bi-annual studies into the marketing industry’s awareness and preparedness for the GDPR, which also shows 42% believe their marketing efforts will be ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ affected by the new laws.
According to the research, one in five marketers (22%) agreed that ‘senior management’ must take responsibility for ensuring their organisation is fit and ready for GDPR, making the programme of change over the next two years a board-level issue that the entire business should be aware of too.
This was reinforced by the findings that 21% of those asked admitting that they do not know specifically where responsibility for GDPR should lie, while almost one third (30%) selected more than one department and one in ten (9%) stating everyone in the organisation is responsible.
However, there was a striking difference between the views of B2B and B2C marketers. While awareness appears to be fairly consistent across both marketing disciplines (87% for B2B and 93% B2C), consumer marketers reported being significantly more ‘prepared’ (68%) for the new rules than their business-focused counterparts (36%).
The DMA suggests that this could be connected to the fact that just 25% of B2B marketers believe they will be ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ affected by the new GDPR rules, compared to 36% for marketers that described themselves as B2B and B2C, while for B2C marketers this proportion rose to almost two-thirds (66%).
DMA Group chief executive Chris Combemale said: “Data is at the heart of the modern economy and as an industry, we must be responsible for our actions when handling consumer data and create new frameworks that fit with the GDPR.
“Data protection is now firmly a board-level issue and should be seen as a critical business risk, rather than a compliance issue alone. Loss of customer trust, security breaches and the reputational damage of fines could pose risks to brand and shareholder value. As well as protecting consumers, the new legislation also provides a framework for businesses to ensure the potential economic opportunities that digital transformation and big data offer are fully realised.”
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