GDPR Enforced: Marketers See Consumer Data As Biggest Challenge

As the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) goes into enforcement Friday, marketers are rethinking their reliance on customer data. About 40% of those participating in a study now think customer consent to use their data will become the biggest challenge to achieving their marketing objectives.

London-based research agency Loudhouse, on behalf of marketing software company Marketo, surveyed more than 3,000 consumers and 300 marketing executives across the UK, Germany, and France. As expected, the findings suggest numerous complexities exist around data and GDPR.  

Marketers have cause for concern. Consumers are not convinced that GDPR will protect their data. Some 83% of consumers participating in the study believe businesses will find a way to get around the legislation. And 72% say they are still concerned about data privacy and do not plan to share their data.

The consumer part of the survey also reveals a noticeable gap between what businesses think about customers and how they respond to marketing, and what those customers think about businesses.

Many consumers want to receive regular communications about the personal data that companies hold about them. Others say they will only share a limited amount of personal data.

Businesses participating in the survey either took a marketing-first approach or legal-first approach to compliance. About 55% of companies said they took a marketing-first approach to GDPR, using compliance as an opportunity to better engage with customers or prospects through smarter marketing.

Companies that took a marketing-first approach hired a data protection offer or team, worked more closely with executive leadership team, realigned marketing processes, and changed their marketing team structure.

The remaining 45% took a legal-first approach, doing what was needed to become legally compliant. They used the requirements to dictate the company’s marketing strategy.

The research found that 34% of those who took a marketing-first approach significantly redefined their priorities and 49% implemented new systems and marketing tools. About 62% of businesses believe GDPR will improve the efficiency of their marketing plans.

The study showed that 52% of the 41% who believe that GDPR will positively impact forecasts and increase targets took a marketing-first approach. This group also is more likely to exceed the targets set for them by their businesses across a range of measures that make the marketing funnel work.

For those companies that took a legal approach, only 13% redefined their priorities and 33% implemented new systems and marketing tools.

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