GDPR_XCM2018 is almost here and with it comes the GDPR in May. From then on brands won’t be able to do with data what they can’t explain to customers.

No one knows how big a deal the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be when it comes into force in 2018, but one thing that’s for sure is that awareness of it should no longer be an issue. The warnings of the massive forfeit of €20m or 4% of global turnover for breaking the new law have been common knowledge for some time now.

As the May deadline for compliance approaches, the main questions hanging over marketer’s heads are: are their measures sufficient enough? How proactive have their preparations been? And will the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) actually be capable of prosecuting anyone?

Because of this making sure to have the right attitude with the GDPR is important. Despite some brands being quite withdrawn about going public with what they are doing – which could be due to fear of drawing attention to themselves or believing it is the job of legal counsel – Marketing Week found some encouraging case studies from brands with a clear plan of action.

Director of online product and marketing at ITV, Steve Forde gave his key insight to brands on the GDPR commenting “If we can’t easily explain to [customers] what we’re doing with their data, then we shouldn’t be doing it”.

Graham White, Cancer Research UK director added “if you have got stringent processes, governance and controls for data already, GDPR should be less revolution than evolution”.

Cross-functional teams should already be in the process of determining policies, and if not, this needs to become a matter of urgency in the first five months of 2018.

Marketers should also be taking a direct interest in what the GDPR allows them to do with the makeup of their databases, and from there, train their teams accordingly. If you’re unsure of where to start with the GDPR this link will provide you with 12 key steps that you can take to prepare yourself for next year.

In the coming months this process should be made clearer by guidance from the ICO – to help get you on your way if you haven’t already started, follow this link to see a full checklist from the ICO.