LONDON: One in three marketing campaigns in the UK is now focused on securing the necessary permission to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force next year, a study suggests.

According to a data audit conducted by data cleansing specialist W8DATA, only 25% of existing customer data meets GDPR requirements, Campaign reported.

And as the GDPR implementation date nears, marketers are downgrading campaigns aimed at brand building and at acquiring or retaining customers in favour of ensuring they have a documented permission trail that will enable them to continue to use the data they currently have.

“It’s unsurprising that repermissioning campaigns are rocketing as marketers are waking up to the realisation that much of their data will be useless come May 2018,” said Dave Lee, director at W8DATA.

He added that this should not be a one-off process and that marketers should continue to check the quality of the information they hold.

“The fact that two-thirds of organisations are currently failing to regularly review their data speaks volumes, and, under GDPR, is something that is going to have to change,” Lee stated.

Tanya Joseph, the woman behind the award-winning This Girl Can campaign, suggested that smart marketers would take the opportunity to engage with their customer base.

“Who needs hundreds of thousands of names if only a small percentage of them are even interested in your products or brand?” she asked. “Wouldn’t it be better to engage with fewer people if they are the ones most likely to buy? It would certainly yield a better ROI.”

Some businesses are opting for an alternative approach, however. Last month, pub-owner Wetherspoon took the radical step of deleting its mailing list and the data it held on 700,000 customers and said it would instead promote offers via its website and social media pages.

“We felt, on balance, that we would rather not hold even email addresses for customers,” a spokesman explained. “The less customer information we have, which now is almost none, then the less risk associated with data.”

Data sourced from Campaign, Marketing Week; additional content by WARC staff