Chris Combemale, CEO at the Direct Marketing Association, says companies need to think about data privacy as a core brand value.

A speaker at the GDPR Summit Roadmap for Sales and Marketing in London on March 8th, Chris says “we need to think about GDPR and the customer, not in terms of compliance, but in making your approach to privacy a core brand value.”

It boils down to trust, but the so called Fourth Industrial Revolution, with AI and the Internet of Things, under-way, trust in companies and how they protect your data may be set to become even more important.

A recent report from the DMA found “increasing comfort levels with the data driven economy, but 86 per cent say they more control and 89 per cent say they want more transparency,” says Chris.

The General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR – coming into force in May of this year, may be a step in the direction of enabling precisely that – “as a risk-based legislation, in many ways it legislates for both – customer control over data and transparency – so it means putting the customer first.”

You have to build trust over the long term, he suggests “trust is the number one reason why consumers will share data with a company.

“If customers do not trust you to keep data safe and secure from hackers, or don’t trust you because they think you will do whatever you want with their data, sell it to a third party, for example, then they are not going to do business with you over time.”

And over time, it seems, all this is set to become more important than ever.

Chris talks about the so called Fourth Industrial Revolution, AI, and the Internet of Things. “As we move into a period with new and unknown technologies, and new ways of companies and customers doing business together, and maybe not even person to person, for example ordering through your Alexa, while the orders are fulfilled by chatbots, machines will be intermediaries between companies and people.

“In a world that looks like that, you need to be able to Trust Alexa. More and more brands are going to have to put their approach to data and privacy as central to their proposition and doing it in a way that can survive in a period of massive change and transformation.”

Or to put it another way, data protection has become a mission critical priority, and more and more so, as new technologies begin to permeate the marketing process, business and society.

Chris will be talking at the event on the subject of “Engaging your target audience under GDPR”, but then as CEO of DMA, he knows a thing or two about this area. The DMA comprises of the Direct Marketing Associationitn, IDM and TPSL companies. He has over 35 years’ experience across advertising and marketing in Europe, the USA and Asia/Pacific, including senior roles at agencies, brands and technology companies. Chris has taken a lead in industry issues, including legislation, best practice and education. His industry roles include being Co-Chair of FEDMA, Chair of the JIC Mail board, and seats on the boards of the Advertising Association, Asbof and CAP.

Continue your journey to compliance at the GDPR Conference Europe: Roadmap for Sales & Marketing, 200 Aldersgate, St Paul’s, London on 8 March: https://sales-marketing.gdprconference.eu/

By Michael Baxter, Editor, Fresh Business Thinking


GDPR Summit Series is a global series of GDPR events which will help marketers to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond. Further information and conference details are available at http://www.gdprsummit.london/


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