DMA warns industry 1 in 3 businesses failing to prepare for data protection upheavals | DMA

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DMA warns industry 1 in 3 businesses failing to prepare for data protection upheavals

The DMA has warned that a third of businesses are failing to prepare for the impact on one-to-one marketing of changes to EU consumer data legislation and public perception of data privacy, in spite of a rise in industry-wide awareness of the issue.

The warning comes after the findings of a DMA survey of 150 senior agency, supplier and client-side practitioners revealed that preparing for upcoming changes to the laws governing how they make direct contact with customers and prospects is a priority for just two in three (67%) businesses.

This is despite industry-wide awareness of the EU Data Protection Regulation climbing from one in two practitioners in January 2013 to more than two in three (69%) in February 2014. Of those polled, more than nine in 10 (95%) believe that the EU Regulation will be weighted unfairly against the interests of businesses, and more than four in five (81%) predict that changing public attitudes to data privacy will make it harder to make direct contact with consumers over the next 12 months.

Chris Combemale, the executive director of the DMA, warned businesses that fail to prepare now for data protection changes will be left behind their competitors:

“The potentially damaging EU Data Protection Regulation is bearing down fast on us, and widespread concerns about rapidly shifting consumer attitudes to data privacy should be ringing alarm bells in the board room of every business that’s involved with one-to-one communications.

“Brands will soon have to work harder than ever before to communicate one-to-one with consumers and must offer compelling reasons to become engaged and to share their personal information. Only the companies who get to grips with how the data protection landscape is changing will be successful in the future.”

Combemale’s remarks were echoed by Nick Banbury, Data Strategy Partner at direct and digital agency Tangible:

“If the proposals go through, then businesses will have ask all customers for explicit permission to use their personal data for activities currently taken for granted. Recent news about data breaches, theft, scams and the NSA, means that consumers are much more protective of their data, and gaining this permission isn't going to be easy.

“If this issue is unaddressed and the legislation isn’t pre-empted, then by the time it’s ratified into law consumers and businesses alike will be confronted by serious data issues. Companies need to start thinking differently about customer data, and realise that access to it is a privilege not a right. Companies who can demonstrate that customers will get real value in return for their data will be the ones who thrive under the new rules.”

Nick Banbury will be speaking at the DMA’s annual data summit, Data protection 2014, on Friday 7 March in Central London. Deputy Information Commissioner David Smith will deliver the keynote speech outlining the ICO’s position on the draft EU Data Protection Regulation.

Attend Data protection 2014


Notes to Editors

ICO Deputy Commissioner and Director of Data Protection, David Smith, said:

“The way society uses personal information today is different to how we used the same type of information nearly twenty years ago when the 1998 Data Protection Act was first introduced. Clearly the existing law needs updating and we remain committed to achieving the modernisation of the data protection framework that delivers more effective rights for individuals, as well as clearer responsibilities for those that process information about them.

“I look forward to speaking at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference to explain our views on the existing proposals and provide an insight into what the future data protection landscape is set to look like both in the UK and in Europe and how it will impact on the work of those in attendance.”

About the Report

The survey was sent out to UK direct marketing professionals included in the Direct Marketing Association’s database. 150 responses were collected and analysed by DMA UK’s in-house research department. Both client and agency side companies were contacted. The data was collected from 14-24th February 2014.

For further information contact the DMA Press Office:


Ed Owen, Head of PR
Tel. 020 7291 3324

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