GDPR Panic Is Over - Time To Worry About Brexit

Some interesting research from the DMA today claims that GDPR has been a "win-win" for organisations and consumers. The trouble is that now marketers are being kept up at night by the prospect of Brexit.

The new data privacy regulation was always billed as restoring trust between consumers and companies, and it would appear that respondents to the DMA survey agree -- kind of.

There are no before-and-after figures to compare, but the stats show that around half believe there is now trust among consumers in terms of how businesses handle their data as well as how they act on that data to build marketing campaigns.

Usually, one would suggest that only half of consumers believing that things have improved mean that another half disagree and it's hardly an endorsement.

However, ICO figures from 2017 -- before GDPR was introduced -- show that only a fifth of consumers trusted businesses with their data. This is, of course, comparing consumer views from the data regulator with what businesses believe to be consumers' views, collected by the DMA.

It's far from conclusive, but it does at least show that marketers think they are making progress with building those "trust-based relationships" that have had to be plastered on every slide making a reference to GDPR since a year or so before its introduction. 

For me, the most interesting part of the research is a massive uptick in how marketers feel they are now able to serve customer needs. In the month before GDPR was introduced, a year and a half ago, only 14% reckoned they could act on data and meet customer expectations. This summer, that figure had shot up to 43%.

It is up to the reader to determine whether it is bad that this confidence only extends to a half of marketers, or to rejoice that the figure has leapt up by so much.

What is definitely troubling, however, is that that nearly three in four marketers are now revealing that their big nightmare is preparing for Brexit and what it will mean for the flow of data between the UK and EU. This is up from half of marketers who were concerned about information flows a year ago.

So there you have it. Marketers are surely concerned about something -- and it would appear that the gnashing of teeth that occurred in the run-up to GDPR has been replaced by a far greater sense of calm around privacy. Trust is improved, and so too is the ability to meet customer needs.

What this appears to have been replaced with, however, is a great deal of concern over how data will keep flowing -- when, or if, the UK leaves the EU.

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