The digital age has seen unprecedented levels of data materialising, with a staggering 90% of the data in existence today having been created within the last two years.

These are astonishing quantities of information being stored, but to what end?

If 86 percent of UK and US marketers are to be believed, more data means more success – you can’t fine-tune your customer profile enough on your journey to deliver the best service possible.

The data hoarding culture this endeavour has created has been fine up until now, but on May 25th 2018 the rules about storing and processing information will become overhauled by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. It’s a landmark piece of legislation for which organisations need to be prepared.

But urgency for change falls heavily on marketing teams which are among those least likely to be compliant with GDPR when it comes into force, according to 73 percent of IT professionals.

Big data, big changes

Data storage will now be driven by data holders’ consent, privacy, and relevance of use, with the most serious regulation violations qualifying firms for fines of up to €20 million or 4 per cent of turnover – whichever is greater.

All companies – irrespective of geographic location – that hold data on EU citizens will be covered by the obligation to comply, so if you’re a business owner reading this, it probably means you need to take action.

A culture of consent

Ultimately, GDPR is about transparency, with consent being a cornerstone to the protection law. As defined by Article 4 of the GDPR, the data subject’s consent means…

…any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her.

Marketing teams will also have to be supported by advanced security measures, such as cutting-edge encryption and user-authentication steps leading to an individual being able to process data; and only correctly trained members of staff will be allowed to process data post-GDPR. Disaster recovery and backup technologies may also have to be improved to shore up storage integrity.

A base layer of awareness

The days of data hoarding are numbered; bosses must begin the new order by educating marketing teams as to why methods leading up to GDPR have been eroding organisational integrity, with fallout hitting employees and clients alike.

With proper understanding in place, marketing teams can begin to delete data as necessary, and only obtain data and in a way that adheres to a newly formulated GDPR-aware data privacy policy.

There’s hard work ahead and no short cuts to be taken; business owners that work in earnest to get GDPR right stand to save huge sums through streamlined data management processes.

More efficient, transparent and compliant data processing will earn market recognition, while reinvigorating marketing teams with behaviours that will deliver 21st century business success.

GDPR Summit London will host the Roadmap for Marketers stream, specially designed to tackle the specific issues that the marketing industries face ahead when it comes to GDPR. For more information visit the website.

By Stephen White, Features Editor, Digital Marketing Magazine

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

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