Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

85% of SMEs understand GDPR but still not meeting its legal requirements

A new survey has revealed that 85 per cent of the small- to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK are familiar with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), but more than half are still not cleaning their data and therefore not adhering to the GDPR’s legal requirements. 

The survey of 1,110 SMEs, conducted in June by marketing data and insight company REaD Group, also found that only 40 per cent hold their customer and prospect data in a CRM or other database: a surprisingly low figure given that businesses need to maintain contact with their customers for sales and marketing purposes, and never more so than over the past 15 months. Twenty-five per cent of those with a CRM indicated they did not run data cleaning or update processes: this rose to 61 per cent of SMEs overall. The GDPR requires all customer data to be clean and up-to-date in order to be compliant and legal.

Positively, the survey revealed that awareness of GDPR is high: 85 per cent of all SMEs said they were familiar with the GDPR, regardless of whether they had customer data in a CRM or other database. Of those with a CRM or database, only six per cent were not familiar, meaning that the majority of those who hold customer or prospect data are familiar with the regulations governing the storage of that data. Eighty per cent of all respondents were aware that GDPR requires data to be kept clean and accurate or be deleted: although this still leaves one-fifth of SMEs who were not. 
Direct mail remains a popular form of marketing with 42 per cent of all respondents confirming they use physical mailing for communicating with and/or marketing to their customers. Sixty per cent of SMEs with a CRM carry out physical mailings, while 30 per cent of those without a CRM also carry out physical mailings: it is likely that these communications are not well-targeted.

“It was positive to see that awareness of the GDPR and the requirement to keep data clean and accurate (or else delete it) was so high amongst the UK’s SMEs, which would indicate that the GDPR has firmly embedded itself,” commented Scott Logie, Customer Engagement Director at REaD Group. “And while the majority of SMEs with a CRM or other database were aware of the need to clean and update or delete their data, there is still a significant proportion who must ensure they run the necessary cleaning or updating processes required by the GDPR.

“We were also intrigued by the fact that only 40 per cent of SMEs hold their data in a CRM or other database. Irrespective of the format it is held in, centralising the customer data a company holds into a CRM or database is important, because it makes the storage, management and upkeep so much easier and, as a result, any marketing processes so much more efficient and effective too.” 


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