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More than 40% of marketers feel their business is not ready for GDPR, report finds

With GDPR coming into force next year, research has found that more than 40% of marketers feel their organisation is not ready for the upcoming changes

More than 40% of UK marketers say their business is not ready for changes in the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to research.

The study from trade body DMA group – formerly the Direct Marketing Association - quizzed 197 respondents from business-to-business (B2B) and consumer-facing companies.

It found that good awareness of GDPR has increased since the previous survey in May, from 59% to 77%. However, there is a divide between the marketers and how they feel about their business.

The majority of marketers (74%) felt individually either “somewhat” or “extremely” prepared for the changes, whereas 58% felt their company was somewhat or extremely prepared.

Furthermore, 16% of respondents felt extremely or somewhat unprepared, whereas 31% felt their organisation was extremely or somewhat unprepared.

More than half of companies (56%) are on track with their plans to be ready for the new regulation, while 17% are behind and 15% have not integrated a plan.

GDPR, which comes into force in May 2018, is the new European Union (EU) data protection regulation and is set to have a significant impact on any organisation that manages EU customer data.

Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA Group, believes organisations should use GDPR to drive new communication with consumers. “We should use the new laws as a catalyst to transform the way we speak to customers, making every engagement human-centric. This will enable organisations to build trusted, authentic and transparent relationships with their customers,” he said.

The research also found that 64% of marketers believed their organisations will be either very or extremely affected by the regulation, compared with 54% in May’s report.

Changing the privacy policy (15%) is valued as the top priority, while the biggest concern was about the definition of consent (28%).

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“As an industry, we must always keep in mind the customers’ right to privacy. It’s important that businesses put the principles of accountability, transparency and trust at their core. Allowing them to go beyond simply being the right side of the law and actually build a sustainable long-term relationship with customers about their data,” said Combemale.

The survey also found that 76% of respondents wanted the UK to continue to participate in the digital single market despite Brexit.

The EU’s other data protection regulation, ePrivacy, could undergo some extensions to its law. A proposal from the European Commission highlights areas for data protection for messaging services, calls and other metadata, along with better protection against spam and a uniform level of privacy for all citizens. From DMA’s report, 49% of respondents had basic awareness of the changes and 28% had no awareness.

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