22% of B2B marketers unprepared for looming data protection legislation

More than a fifth of B2B marketers say they are not prepared for the changes to data protection law that will come into force next year.

A survey by the DMA found 22% of B2B marketers described themselves as extremely or somewhat unprepared for the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – European legislation that will update and harmonise data protection law across the EU in 2018. A smaller number of B2C marketers (13%) were in the same position.

In addition, 18% of B2B respondents said their business currently had no plan for GDPR compliance.

However, more than half of B2B marketers now have a good awareness of the changes required by the law. This compares with just 13% when the same question was asked of respondents six months previously. But they still trail their B2C counterparts, 68% of whom have a good awareness.

One of the major changes arising from the GDPR to affect B2B marketers means opt-in consent will be required for email and mobile messages, and an opt-out offered for direct mail and telephone communication. There will also be much tougher fines – up to €20 million or 4% of annual turnover – for breaches of the law.

The DMA warned B2B marketers may be underestimating the impact of the legislation, which is scheduled to come into force in the UK on 25 May 2018.

“B2B marketers should double-down on preparing for the GDPR, as many of the new rules will erode the differences between B2C and B2B marketing,” the report said. “Those marketing to both audiences can see these changes looming. Those working in B2B alone don’t seem able to see these changes.”

Email is the channel most marketers expect to be affected by the legislation (90%), followed by direct mail (81%) and mobile (73%). The biggest concerns for businesses were around consent (71%), legacy data (51%) and profiling (37%).

Getting to grips with GDPR: A B2B marketer’s guide

This free comprehensive guide explains what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is, how this incoming data protection law will affect your organisation, and the practical steps to take to prepare for it.

Learn how to comply with GDPR

GDPR for B2B marketers: Everything you need to know to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation