UK Data Protection Bill: will marketers sink or swim?

Upcoming regulatory changes in the UK present marketers with a potentially daunting data management challenge, but steps can be taken to stay ahead of the curve and improve customer engagement while complying with the new rules.

Magith Noohukhan, head evangelist at Braze, explores what changes marketers should implement to make the most of the data they have and stay on the right side of any new UK data privacy regulations that come into force.

Marketers’ reliance on data has grown over the years. The introduction of GDPR in 2016 and Google’s announcement of the third-party cookie phase-out by the second half of 2024 added a new layer to marketers’ data struggles – a data management one. Marketers have now had seven years to adapt and find ways to use the data they collect efficiently while remaining compliant. But have they?

Research from the Braze Customer Engagement Review shows that data management remains a big issue for marketers, with 36 per cent of surveyed respondents ranking collecting, integrating, managing and accessing data as their top challenge associated with customer engagement. And it will only get worse if changes are not made to the way data is managed and used.

This challenge is likely to become even more complex with the upcoming regulatory changes in the UK. It currently appears that in the next year, the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (the DPDI) will make its way through Parliament and become law, replacing the UK GDPR (enacted in January 2021).

The DPDI is intended to introduce a simple, clear and business-friendly framework for data privacy in the UK, and some of its proposed changes include focus on fewer requests for consent and relaxed opt-in options for marketing communications. This is good news for marketers struggling with the cumbersome UK GDPR regulations. However, the bill also includes an increase in the penalty cap for data misuse, so you, as marketers, need to be savvier with how you collect and use customers data.

Therefore, what can you do to make the most of the data you have and help avoid falling foul of the new regulations?


Conduct a data audit 

As the report highlights, one of the biggest challenges for marketers is collecting, integrating, managing and accessing data effectively. Conducting a thorough data audit to identify what data is being collected, how it is being collected and why you’re doing so can ensure the data you have translates into revenue-driving consumer experiences. An audit will help your team be more intentional about the data they collect and allow you to map your collection strategy to concrete use cases and goals. 

Understanding what data can be collected, and through which channels, can help with avoiding the mass accumulation of data you have no use for. This, in turn, reduces costs associated with data management and results in teams with the right data that can be used effectively and without over-complication.


Build a robust data management strategy

As a second step, think about building a robust data management strategy that includes policies and procedures for data collection, storage, processing and deletion. The strategy should also include training for employees on data privacy and security. As part of your data management strategy, you should ensure compliance with the latest regulations and obtain explicit consent from your customers before collecting any data. This will help build customers’ trust and supports compliance with data privacy laws.

Building a zero-party data strategy to get direct feedback from your consumers is not only key to driving brilliant engagement, but also you are getting explicit consent from your customers. 

There are many ways to build such a strategy – either by bringing the right talent in-house or hiring it through a partner agency. A strategy should include internal policies with clear processes and accountability in case of emergencies. This could be side-stepped by finding the right technology partner that takes on data management aspects.


Align marketing, product and data teams

Data management doesnt end with technology; your teams need to effectively use the data they are collecting. It’s important to align marketing, product and data teams to avoid data silos that introduce opportunities for errors, serve as a barrier to real-time messaging and create a lot more work. Data scientists and marketing talent should work together to ensure that data is being used to its full potential.

Navigating the upcoming regulatory changes in the UK while managing customer data effectively can easily become a daunting task. By conducting a data audit and building a robust data management strategy, you can begin to navigate these challenges. This will allow you to collect data intentionally, comply with regulations and use data to its full potential. And by aligning marketing, product and data teams, marketing teams can stay ahead of the curve and continue to drive successful customer engagement strategies. By doing so, they will not only comply with the new regulations but also create exceptional consumer experiences that will drive both growth and success for their brands.

Magith Noohukhan

Head evangelist