Three-quarters (75 per cent) of European consumers are concerned about the extent of personal information companies might have access to, and less than half (42 per cent) trust that companies will use their personal information correctly. 

That’s according to new research commission by Marketo.

The survey, which was conducted ahead of the introduction of GDPR, found nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of consumers claim that they will be happy to share their data in exchange for deals and benefits, presenting an opportunity for marketers. London-based research agency Loudhouse, on behalf of Marketo, surveyed more than 3,000 consumers and 300 key marketing decision makers, across three territories (UK, Germany, and France) to compile these results.

“The GDPR legislation presents marketers with one of those rare opportunities to build customer relationships by demonstrating trust and clarity,” said Jamie Anderson, president EMEA, Marketo.

“Consumer dissatisfaction around how their data is used, and to what extent, is at an all-time high, according to our findings. To thrive in a post-GDPR world, marketers must demonstrate their understanding of this in the actions they take, through meaningful, personalised communications at every touchpoint.”

In addition to their views about GDPR, the survey asked respondents how they felt about the long list of data breach headlines over the last few years; more than three-quarters (76 per cent) said they were concerned about how their personal data is stored and used.

Just under three-quarters (73 per cent) of consumers would like to receive regular communications about the personal data companies might hold. Yet, at the time the research was completed, only 28 per cent of businesses claimed to be fully GDPR compliant, even though the deadline for compliance is May 25, 2018.

To understand how businesses are faring, the research also surveyed 300 businesses across the UK, France, and Germany and uncovered two distinct approaches to GDPR.

1) Marketing First – More than half of the companies surveyed (55 per cent), identified themselves as taking a marketing first approach to GDPR, using compliance as an opportunity to better engage with customers or prospects through smarter marketing.

2) Legal First – The remaining 45 per cent aligned themselves to taking a legal first approach, in doing what they need to be legally compliant with GDPR and subsequently using these requirements to dictate marketing strategy.

When comparing the two business approaches, the new research found:

  • Of the marketing first respondents, 34 per cent have significantly redefined their priorities, compared to just 13 per cent of legal first companies.
  • And almost half (49 per cent) of the marketing first group has implemented new systems and marketing tools, compared with a third (33 per cent) of those who identified as legal first.
  • Regardless of which camp they’re in, GDPR isn’t expected to impede business, as 96 per cent of organisations are still optimistic about hitting their targets by year-end.

 “Regardless of which side you sit, the ultimate drivers should always be your customer and delivering meaningful experiences that are founded on trust,” Peter Bell, senior director of marketing, Marketo said.

“It’s clear from this research that consumer trust is low but not unrecoverable. GDPR is designed to ensure your customers have more control over their personal data and how it’s used. Those businesses which proactively support that and use it as an opportunity to better engage with customers are those which will thrive in the coming years by creating lasting relationships.”

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