Mark Roy, Chairman and Founder, REaD Group
So, here we are, with the most significant legislative upheaval our industry has ever seen coming into force on 25th May. We truly are living in challenging, yet exciting times. At REaD Group, we have always been fundamentally in favour of closer harmony with consumers and, therefore, have supported GDPR from the first.
Whether you see it as a challenge or an opportunity (or both!), there is no avoiding GDPR and its seismic impact on how businesses manage data and the resultant communication.
Consumers today are unrecognisably data savvy – not surprising considering the depth and breadth of coverage in the media, as well as the onslaught from brands seeking permissions to keep in contact. GDPR from our perspective has always been – and will always be – about gaining consumer trust. Openness, honesty and transparency can no longer be sweet-sounding soundbites – they must become both a reality and a way of working.
So, what can we glean from the research we have conducted? A fair bit of what we expected, such as 96% of businesses having high awareness and most (86%) stating they are very or somewhat prepared for GDPR. Consumers are increasingly data savvy with high expectations of businesses and how they handle their data. But there were also some important areas of disparity between what is required by GDPR in terms of data accuracy – entrenched in GDPR through the principles in Article 5(1)d – consumer expectations and business attitudes and preparation. And when it comes to data quality, there is a glaring disparity between what is expected by and the actual experiences of consumers.
For example, 72% of consumers expect companies that hold their data should get it right every time or most of the time. But what they actually experience is a different story, with almost half of consumers stating that companies get their data wrong sometimes or more often than not.
And, for consumers, trust is intrinsically linked to how companies manage their data – over 32% state they trust businesses, but want them to “show me that they are doing the right things”. Compare this to the approach of businesses to data quality – only 22% are mapping GDPR against their current processes for managing personal data and adjusting them to adhere to legislative requirements.
The conclusion is simple: ignore data quality at your peril!