Two thirds of UK marketers see the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as a strategic opportunity, yet 42 per cent of brand websites are still not compliant.
These findings come from a new research report by Ensighten, a leader in omni-channel data services that helps some of the world’s biggest brands navigate regulatory complexity to deliver great digital marketing experiences.
The study, which surveyed UK brand marketers on their attitudes towards GDPR, reveals just 28 per cent of marketers expect their websites to be compliant by the May 25th deadline next year.
Marketers called out managing multiple suppliers (31%), marketing complexity (31%) and understanding vendor compliance issues (25%) as the main roadblocks to preparing for GDPR.
Challenges and opportunities
While two thirds of marketers believe GDPR presents a strategic opportunity for businesses, three quarters (76%) also view it as a challenge, citing the following fears:
- It will stifle creativity (64%)
- Costly replacement of existing technologies and services (59%)
- The legislation is unclear (50%)
- Lack of clarity around who holds responsibility for enforcement internally (50%)
- Detrimental impact on advertising revenue (46%)
Overall, 75 per cent of marketers believe it will modernise the approach to customer interaction and engagement, with 68 per cent stating the regulation will help them better harness big data.
Confusion still reigns around accountability for GDPR compliance, with 46 per cent believing their company isn’t responsible for data collection across all its digital properties.
Only a quarter of marketers think they hold responsibility for all channels except those managed by marketing suppliers – when in fact they are accountable for all digital channels, regardless of who runs them.
UK brands work with five digital marketing suppliers on average, yet less than half of them (43%) have had conversations about GDPR with suppliers and discussed implications for online marketing.
Lack of understanding
Almost half (48%) of UK marketers don’t believe their teams are fully aware of the implications of GDPR. A fifth of companies (22%) have opted to hire a dedicated specialist to cover GDPR responsibilities, while a quarter (24%) have decided to upskill current employees to bridge the gap.
GDPR outlines new rules for collecting and recording consumer consent – making requests for personal information much clearer for consumers. Yet alarmingly, one in four marketing professionals don’t regard payment details, phone numbers or addresses as personal data. Furthermore, twenty-two per cent of marketers don’t consider email addresses as personal data – indicating a lack of awareness around how GDPR will impact marketing methods.
Ian Woolley, Chief Revenue Officer at Ensighten comments: “The combination of growing digital marketing complexity and sweeping regulatory change makes for a challenging landscape for marketers. Yet by employing tools that simplify GDPR compliance and governance, marketers can focus resources on future-proofing their strategies and providing flawless digital experiences to customers. Our research indicates that many marketing decision makers see the regulation as a strategic opportunity. As GDPR forces brands to re-approach how they interact with consumers, it will create a whole new meaning to the idea of the value exchange, ushering in an era of transparency that will change our industry for the better.”