Confidence shrinks over GDPR preparedness

GDPR comes into force in a little less than a year, with marketers’ awareness of the new rules remaining high, but confidence in current levels of preparedness has reduced as the deadline looms.

According to figures released back in February 2017 by the DMA, (Direct Marketing Association), 68% of marketers said their business was on course or ahead of plan to be ready for the GDPR. But in May, this dropped to 55%, with a further 24% of companies yet to start a GDPR plan.

Since the February survey, specific guidance from the UK regulator the Information Commissioner’s Office and from the EU regulator the Article 29 Working Party, has brought into focus the full extent of requirements under the new rules. These pieces of guidance have given marketers specific instructions, and many have found that there is more work to do than expected.

Overall, awareness of the GDPR has remained static at 96% of respondents, but those reporting ‘good’ rather than ‘basic’ knowledge has slipped from 66% in February 2017 to 59% in May. Those feeling ‘extremely’ or ‘somewhat’ prepared reduced from 71% to 61% of the total over the same period. The figures also highlight that more marketers said they would be ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ affected by the GDPR compared to February, rising from 44% to 54%, according to the third edition of the DMA’s ‘GDPR and you’ series of studies into the industry’s awareness and preparedness for the new laws.

Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA group, said: “May 2018 should be a date that is in every marketer’s diary, giving us around 16 months before the GDPR comes into force. It is concerning that only half of our industry feels their businesses are prepared for the new rules and not that many more believe they will be ready in time. The finish line for GDPR readiness is fixed and the risk to businesses of not being compliant is significant. Our advice is to continue preparations in earnest over the coming year. Not making it across the line in time is not an option.”

As the GDPR looms, marketers’ five main concerns are consent (68%), legacy data (48%), implementing a compliant system (38%), profiling (30%) and legitimate interest (23%).

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