SMP members anticipate GDPR to have impact on the mailing industry – but admit to feeling unprepared

SMP members anticipate GDPR to have impact on the mailing industry – but admit to feeling unprepared

Concerns have been raised about how unprepared our members feel ahead of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force next year, our Strategic Mailing Partnership (SMP) study has revealed.

Surveying our members, nearly two thirds said they knew they would be jointly legally liable, however, 96 per cent admitted to not feeling fully prepared ahead of 25 May 2018, when the Regulation will apply in the UK.

The survey of our full membership asked about the preparedness of mailing houses for the implementation. It found:

  • 91 per cent think the implementation will have a direct financial impact on their business – one in five think that impact will be significant
  • 52 per cent of those surveyed processing data on behalf of clients
  • Only four per cent believe they are fully prepared for the changes with 48 per cent saying they are quite prepared and 48 per cent saying not prepared at all.
  • 83 per cent of those who responded believed they definitely, or maybe, would need extra support in preparing their business while seven in ten felt communication from the EU and Information Commissioner was not clear
  • 100 per cent believe it will have an impact on their business – a third saying a significant impact.

However, our survey also found that while there were serious concerns about the challenges, there are also potential opportunities.

A number of those who responded to the survey believed there could be a positive impact which benefited reputable mailing houses. One said “we already carry out the cost of compliance but compete against cowboys” while another believed “more cautious mailers” could increase their spend on direct mail using the postal service and that “print should benefit”.

Judith Donovan CBE, Chair of the SMP, said: “GDPR is a significant moment for the industry with more burdens, more regulation and more joint liability between mailing houses and clients. While I am not surprised by these results, they are very worrying as they reveal my members are aware of their legal liabilities in theory but unsure what they need to do in practice.

“Given the crucial role played by the mailing house sector in the direct mail industry, there is no doubt this is an urgent issue to be addressed and the SMP will now be working to organise practical help and support so that the industry can find solutions that means they can survive the dramatic changes that are coming.”

The SMP surveyed its full membership between 7 April and 25 April 2017.