B2B Marketers Are Protecting Data Because Their Customers Expect Them To

August 14, 2018

The GDPR is a concern – in fact it’s a big concern for CMOs worldwide – and it’s causing 6 in 10 B2B marketers to change their approach to privacy, according to a Demandbase study conducted by Demand Metric. However, it’s not the main reason why B2B companies protect customer and prospect, according to survey respondents.

The survey, fielded a month after the GDPR went into effect, found that customer expectations are the most common reason why companies value the protection of customer and prospect data, cited by almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents.

To be fair, close to as many respondents (71%) said that legal responsibilities fuel their protection of customer and prospect data, and many (61%) also said that government legislation makes them value that protection.

But it’s nonetheless encouraging to see that B2B marketers recognize that customers expect their data to be valued and protected. Moreover, roughly half understand that data protection results in benefits to the customer (51%), though fewer (44%) say that organizational benefits are driving them to value the protection of customer and prospect data. (Not losing customers due to a lack of data security could be considered a benefit…)

GDPR Compliance Still A Work in Progress

Separately, the survey found that most marketers are yet to fully comply with the GDPR requirements. Just 1 in 3 (32%) said they were fully compliant as of the time the survey was fielded, with another 15% having implemented their plan but remaining short of full compliance.

Compliance isn’t just an in-house issue: 8 in 10 respondents expressed at least some level of concern that their marketing technology vendors might expose them to legal risks were they not GDPR compliant.

While there are challenges presented by GDPR, it is interesting to note that separate research found regulation of personal/audience data to be considered the smallest challenge facing B2B marketers in terms of their data-driven marketing.

In other results concerning the GDPR, the Demandbase survey found that:

  • Participants are far more likely to be investing in technology (74%) than legal (40%) or staffing/resources (39%) to improve their approach to data privacy;
  • Understanding GDPR guidelines and restrictions is their top GDPR-related challenge, followed by data management and obtaining consent from users; and
  • Marketers are split in their approach to obtaining consent, with almost equal shares asking everyone to re-consent (35%), taking a country-by-country approach (35%) and not refreshing their customer email lists (30%) at all.

About the Data: The results are based on responses from 227 marketers, 49% of whom are mostly or entirely B2B and 34% who are a mix of B2B/B2C (the remaining 17% are mostly or entirely B2C). Participants come from a range of industries and company sizes, with 70% located in North America.

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