How social media storms, Brexit and GDPR are impacting marketers’ efforts

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Social media is giving consumers more power to effect change over brands, while marketers feel as though there is more pressure on brands to ‘behave ethically and provide a role model for society’.

That is the verdict from a new study conducted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), who polled more than 100 members on challenges and opportunities facing marketers in 2017.

When it came to handling whatever social media could throw at them, one in five (21%) respondents said they would find a full-on Twitter meltdown difficult to handle, while almost half (49%) say their organisation is not getting the most out of their social media.

This publication has already examined previous issues the CIM has raised over ad-blocking and whether it will affect marketers’ creativity going forward, yet the key focus of this report was around Brexit; more than half (55%) of respondents said it was their top concern, alongside recession (47%), with almost one in five (19%) saying they were looking at incorporating more of a ‘brand Britain’ approach into their marketing.

With that in mind, seven in 10 respondents said they were concerned about factors outside of their control, such as data breaches or tax issues impacting on the brand. As a result, an overwhelming 95% said marketers should be more involved and carry greater influence with the broader business in order to protect brand reputation.

For those thinking ‘well, they would say that’, another concern rears its head in the form of the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). May 25 2018 is the date when it all goes live, and given the huge importance around data utilisation for marketers, it’s a key consideration. Half (50%) of marketers polled admitted they did not fully understand what it means for their business, while only 11% of businesses surveyed have systems in place to ensure GDPR compliance.

“It is concerning to see that GDPR has not been fully considered, given the wide-reaching impact this will have on business areas which deal with data – marketers’ natural habitat”, said Chris Daly, CIM chief executive. “Given the concerns that emerged from consumers last year over how businesses collect and use customer data, marketers must make sure they are prepared and ready for GDPR sooner rather than later.

“By staying on the right side of the incoming legislation, marketers are best placed to safeguard not only their business’ reputation, but also its finances,” Daly added.

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