GDPR Is Path to Trust and Improved Customer Experience

CMO Council study points to realities of customer data protection and customer engagement in a post-GDPR world
by Mike Hunter

GDPR

Marketers from organizations who took the lead in preparing to meet and exceed GDPR data standards have noted increased trust and engagement levels with customers, according to data from the CMO Council, collected in partnership with SAP Customer Experience, that it reported in “GDPR: Impact and Opportunity — How Marketing Leaders Addressed GDPR Readiness and Compliance.” While survey respondents agreed that the implementation of GDPR standards reinforced a responsibility to better protect their customer’s data, the issue became whether or not an organization would seize on the responsibility and turn regulation into optimized experiences. 

For their part, GDPR leaders — those marketers who had not only established a plan but were also well down the path of execution and compliance by the enforcement deadline of May 25, 2018 — believed GDPR was an opportunity to deliver better customer experiences and to build customer trust and loyalty. Alternatively, GDPR laggards – marketers without a plan in place or far removed from process, having no idea if a plan was in the works — remained happy to see compliance as a burden for other teams to resolve or an issue for only EU-based companies to tackle.

“What marketing leaders have seized upon is the reality that trust is the currency of today’s data-driven customer engagement. Without trust, the customer will walk away from an experience, taking their loyalty and their wallets with them,” notes Liz Miller, SVP of Marketing with the CMO Council. “GDPR and, more specifically, the frenzy of activity surrounding the compliance deadline, was not the end of a security conversation … it was the start of an experience transformation.”

“Savvy businesses already understand that to win customer loyalty they must lead with transparency and consent,” says Patrick Salyer, general manager of Customer Data Cloud and Customer Experience with SAP. “In today’s landscape, companies are realizing that trust is the ultimate currency and it serves as the foundation of all meaningful customer relationships.”   

How does your department/organization view GDPR compliance? (Select all that apply.)

A responsibility to better protect customers’ data

57%

A chance to build customer trust and loyalty

38%

An opportunity to provide better customer experiences

37%

A call to action to overhaul organizational perspectives on customer data

27%

A burden that we’ve started to get a good handle on

25%

An overwhelming burden that we don’t know how to tackle

9%

An EU issue that doesn’t impact our business

8%

A path to cost-cutting by removing programs and processes that fail to engage properly

6%

A problem for another team/department to solve

6%

What resources informed the organization’s GDPR compliance plan? (Select all that apply.)

Internal expert from a non-marketing function like legal, compliance, IT, etc.

59%

We researched GDPR ourselves and assigned a person/team to manage the plan

47%

An external expert/consultant

37%

External technologies/solutions

16%

Existing technology/automation platform compliance plug-ins and resources

16%

Other

5%

How have the changes impacted your customer relationships? (Select top three.)

Heightened awareness around data and security issues

65%

Increased trust

43%

Increased expectations for personalization improvements in exchange for customer data

36%

More engaged customers

26%

Increased irritation by extra steps and opt-in requirements

24%

Less engaged customers

6%

In what areas are you planning to (or have you already) implemented changes to the customer experience? (Select all that apply.)

How and where consent is obtained

56%

The tools used to collect customer data

53%

Customer data utilization plans and processes

49%

Frequency of communications/touchpoints

32%

No changes specific to the experience will be/
have been made

155

Other

4%

 

Source: CMO Council GDPR Impact and Opportunity Report

The Chief Marketing Officer Council is the only global network of executives specifically dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide range of global industries. The CMO Council’s 10,500-plus members control more than $500 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide, covering multiple industries, segments and markets.

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