- Marketers that were prepared to meet and exceed the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards introduced in late May have seen increased consumer trust, loyalty and engagement levels, according to a new survey by the CMO Council in partnership with SAP Customer Experience. The survey, whose findings were provided via email to Marketing Dive, drew from 227 senior marketing executives.
- Prepared marketers viewed the new rules under GDPR as an opportunity to boost customer experience. On the other hand, GDPR "laggards," or those without a plan or who were far removed from the process, viewed the rules as other teams' problems. Thirty-nine percent said the EU regulations didn't apply to their business. The survey also revealed that "laggards" are being hindered by their lack of understanding of GDPR.
- More than half (55%) of the "leaders" in GDPR, or those with a plan for compliance, had already established a data audit for fully understand where and how customer information was being stored and collected. Among leaders, 37% had plans to upgrade their data management solutions.
GDPR and its potential ramifications remain a bit of black box for marketers, as it is not currently clear how stringently the rules will be enforced. GDPR demands that internet companies receive informed consent before collecting any data on EU consumers online, including for the purposes of targeting advertising. Penalties for noncompliance can be steep, accounting for as much as 4% of a company's total annual revenue, but the new CMO Council survey underpins how many in the industry do not have a concrete plan in place and are potentially either still confused or don't care about achieving compliance.
These findings are in-line with other recent industry research. A Deloitte study published last month found that only 34.5% of organizations had achieved full GDPR compliance, with 32.8% hoping to be compliant by the end of the year. Deloitte found that 11.7% are still taking a "wait and see" approach. The CMO Council noting that many "laggards" view compliance as other teams' problems underpins some frustrations that have become apparent in the marketing world, where brands or agencies have passed off GDPR liabilities to publishers and other partners.
But beyond potential punitive measures for noncompliance, meeting with the GDPR standards might help companies build trust and loyalty at a time when issues like data privacy are weighing more heavily on consumers' minds, per the CMO Council survey. Consumers don't always mind sharing personal information with brands, but they often want those businesses to be fully transparent about how that data is collected and applied.
When brands are transparent with ad targeting, telling consumers that product recommendations were based on information that they shared, those consumers were 40% more likely to click on the items and spent 31% more time on the product page, according to research from Maritz Motivation Solutions and the Harvard Business School.