Changes To EU Data Protection Rules Could Significantly Affect Brands

by T+B Blog Team on May 13, 2014

The upcoming amendments to European data protection regulations could have a dramatic impact on the way brands interact with consumers. From 2015, brands will need to provide customers with an “opt-in” option for marketing messages, which consumers appear quite reluctant to use.

The finding comes from a poll of 1,175 U.K. consumers, carried out by online researcher fast.MAP, agency Tangible, and data consultancy Opt-4, which suggests that marketers will need to be extra careful about the wording of their opt-in statements in order to promote data exchange.

The results, as reported by Marketing Week, imply that people would be less likely to opt in to receive marketing messages than to opt out. Just over half (51%) of the respondents said they would not opt out if automatically sent marketing emails, however just 29% of the sample said they would be willing to opt in to emails and other marketing material. Meanwhile, just 18% of consumers said they would opt in to receive emails from brands, stating they would only share their information with “carefully selected companies.”

The new law is due to be passed next year and will apply to all members of the European Union (EU) to provide consumers with greater control over their personal information. The U.K.’s Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has expressed concerns that the rules are not “business friendly” enough, warning that if the law passes in its current version it could cause trouble for companies dealing with one-to-one communications. In its March statement, however, the European Parliament said that the reform is “irreversible.” Brands are also at risk of incurring hefty fines if they don’t comply with the new EU legislation.

In order to win consumers’ consent to receive marketing messages, brands need to make sure they are aligned to customers’ individual needs, Nick Banbury, data strategy partner at Tangible, says.

What is your opinion on the changes to EU data protection laws?

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