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FEATURE18 December 2018

Review 2018: the impact of GDPR

Features GDPR Trends UK

This was the year that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) finally kicked in. We asked our contributors what its impact had been so far on market research.

It’s a good thing…

Andy Brown, CEO, Kantar Media
GDPR is one of the best things that could have happened to market research. It has not only put clear blue water in between market research and other data solutions, but also placed a greater emphasis on the provenance of data and transparency for consumers, both of which have always sat at the heart of market research.

Andrew O’Connell, managing director UK, Research Now SSI
It has forced everyone to examine the sources of their data and highlighted the importance of quality data over some more ‘suspect’ sources. It has raised the bar for transparency and trust in market research.

Crawford Hollingworth, founder, The Behavioural Architects
What came out of the GDPR hoohah was the marked improvements in the consent forms we write for our participants, and our more careful handling of their data. It has made us better researchers. We chose to re-frame GDPR as something joyful. Everyone at TBA is now a ‘data superhero'.

Lewis Reeves, chief executive, Viga
Our industry is naturally permission-based so GDPR has been a positive force overall – making us more conscious of the responsible use of data and filtering out any of the shadier practices. 

Matt Lynch, chief strategy officer, Big Sofa
From my perspective it’s been positive; it’s not just sharpened up how we explain what we do with data, it’s led to more focus on how long it’s useful for and how people in an organisation might engage with it over time.

It’s not necessarily a good thing…

Peter Totman, head of qualitative, Jigsaw
Made conducting research more onerous; made the lives of researchers more miserable – enough reason to vote Brexit all on its own.

Nick Baker, managing director, Morar HPI
It has driven a huge amount of work on all sides which has detracted from core BAU business issues and so while extremely valuable for customers and all of us alike, it’s put other things on the back burner.

It’s not had an impact…

Ryan Howard, head of analytics, Simpson Carpenter
Other industries scrambled to make sense of principles, which thanks to self-regulation, were commonplace in market research. Because of this, GDPR does not affect us materially today but has levelled the future playing field and perhaps, one could argue, tipped it in favour of discrete and transparent methodologies like survey research. The Wild West of data has been tamed. Yee haw.

Adele Gritten, managing director, Future Thinking
In all honesty, this has had negligible impact on us so far. Only a handful of research participants have wanted clarification on the legitimacy of the research projects for which they were selected, citing GDPR. There has been no research participant backlash and no heightened concerns or an increase in volume of queries from consumers about how we use the data they provide us with.

Ben Hogg, managing director EMEA and APAC, Lucid
The new GDPR regulations have definitely been less impactful on the research industry than the marketing industry. If you’re a researcher and a member of an association with all the associated codes and guidelines then GPDR has just legislated what you should be doing anyway, by treating your data collection transparently. RIP conference delegate lists…

Will Ullstein, commercial director, YouGov
It has not had a major impact yet other than a compliance burden and walled gardens becoming more powerful. We don’t see GDPR as a barrier, instead we see it as a gateway.

It’s been good at concentrating the mind…

Greg Clayton, managing director, Kadence International
There’s no doubt GDPR has had far ranging impact on a number of industries. For companies like ours that work in multiple markets in and out of the EU, it has meant that we’ve needed to pay particular attention to how we handle data – but credible players in the MR industry should have been doing these things anyway. Kadence has used it as an opportunity to standardise and streamline our processes, which has no negatives.

Sabine Stork, founding partner, Thinktank
I expected there to be a major upheaval but from our perspective in a qual agency so far, it’s all been a bit Y2K…a lot of fuss about formalising what is in essence good practice!