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Effective Planning for GDPR and Enshrining Consumer Privacy

  • Jed Mole

    Jed Mole

Created at June 27th, 2017

Effective Planning for GDPR and Enshrining Consumer Privacy

The deadline for GDPR implementation is looming ever closer, and businesses of all sizes appear to be a little lost and are struggling to understand just exactly what they need to do. Not only are we waiting for various chapters of guidance both in draft then final forms, businesses in the UK are assumed to be included in EU law, but this is still not entirely confirmed. Finally, this is all happening against a backdrop of relatively low awareness of where consumer data analysis is used within a business structure, and how.

An example of this confusion has occurred just this week. Our very own chief privacy officer for Europe and recently re-elected co-chair of FEDMA, Dr Sachiko Scheuing, was quoted in a recent Wall Street Journal article discussing just how Acxiom is preparing for the GDPR. She talked about how we are increasing our privacy budget by around 30% as a responsible marketing and data services business which helps brands to use data and technology to drive value from data to the brand’s customers. Preparation is incredibly important and planning effectively for such a crucial piece of international legislation is a complex issue, one where widespread understanding is lacking. The piece, while discussing how far-reaching the impact of this legislation could be due to the vast amount of data deployed around the advertising space, falls into this data complexity and confusion trap. Acxiom, for example, does not collect data on how many times consumers shop online with brands, what we increasingly do, is help brands connect and understand the online and offline worlds of marketing.

One example of this would be to understand the in-store purchases influenced by online advertising with a view to ensuring the buyer stops seeing ads for things they’ve already bought. To those outside the space, the data industry and how data specialists and consultants work on behalf of brands with their customer data, can be a complicated one to understand and summarise. Suggestions that consumer data specialists can peer the lives of consumers through their data though, add to this misunderstanding. Strict regulations are in place to make sure that individual privacy, permission, and data rights are not just respected but protected.

The impact and rapid growth of technology and huge strides made in making data-driven marketing more effective have made it tricky at times to define precisely what consumer data analysis and insight is capable of and how it is used. In some ways that potential is wonderful – the insight gleaned from online and offline consumer data is phenomenal, sometimes transformative to businesses and good for customers despite their apparent obliviousness. However, controls have to be, and are, put in place to enshrine consumer privacy and personal rights – this is precisely what the GDPR is trying to accomplish. Data is a tool, but one with multiple effective safeguards in place to ensure that responsible businesses, like Acxiom, are acting only with the best interests of consumers in mind at all times. It is vital that in planning and preparing effectively for GDPR, all are clear about just who has consumer information and how it is being legally used. As Dr Scheuing stated, the key is to show that any business using its customer data to serve their customers better takes ‘accountability and transparency very seriously’. This accountability and transparency has to be reflected in educating consumers and businesses alike on precisely how data is being used. This issue goes to the very core of GDPR.

For more information on GDPR, Brexit and how they will impact the use of consumer data, download our eBook: