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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) had an impact on all sectors and businesses sizes. The regulation implemented on the 25th of May 2018 has changed the way in which many organization operate. Better measures are now in place to protect customers’ data and ensure their privacy. Organizations that rely on customer data to perform their activities have to be extra careful with their business activities. A special case is the impact of GDPR in Market Research activities where clients are contacted using outbound techniques (phone, e-mail, text) to capture their feedback.

GDPR in Market Research

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaced the 22-year-old EU Data Protection Directive. Data privacy laws across Europe have been streamlined and are now also applicable to all organizations dealing with European citizens. Interviews and surveys activities that are used to collect consumer, market or employee research has also to be made compliant with the updated regulations. Any Market Research agency that consumer data in any way and through any source are impacted by GDPR regulations.

GDPR has multiple key elements to be addressed but there are three that are impacting mostly to the Market Research industry: personal data in contact’s list, agreement to be contacted, and management of data collected.

1. The impact of GDPR in Market Research contact list

Market Research contact list is composed of personal data of multiple subjects. Personal data is any type of information related to a person that can be used directly or indirectly identify them. This includes name and surnames, phone numbers, e-mails, photo, bank details, postal information and much more. GDPR impacts on the information made available to the market research team. The old ‘need-to-know basis’ becomes more and more relevant as information should be restricted and removed according to the purpose of each market research campaign. All this translate into smaller databases with relevant information.

2. The impact of GDPR in the predisposition to answer

From now on contact list must be composed of people who have actively opted-in and are happy to be contacted for Market Research purposes. Alternatively, you can argue that there is a legitimate interest for the contacts within the list to be contacted. In order to do so, a documented research as to be performed by your team to demonstrate that legitimate interest. Check the ICO website for further information about how to perform a Legitimate Impact Assessment (LIA).

As described previously, lists will be smaller and composed of people genuinely interested in being contacted. Using a list of pre-approved respondents will impact on the predisposition to answer research questions and in turn, increase the return on investment. Furthermore, the success rate of each campaign can exponentially increase when the data quality does. Ultimately, market researcher phone campaigns will be easier for researchers and data quality of a higher standard.

3. The impact of GDPR on the feedback collected

The quality of the feedback collected can be positively impacted by the GDPR regulation. People who are willing to share their experience and provide information would supply your team with more in detail descriptions. Respondents should be informed as always of the purpose of the research and for how long the data will be kept. If the responses are collected anonymously, this should be guaranteed. Alternatively, respondents should be informed of their right of being forgotten.

Finally, you should continue to follow basic data protection hygiene. Therefore, maintain files security with personal data (password protecting, restricting devices held on etc) and minimise the amount of personal data held by removing it from all systems according to data protection regulation.

To conclude, Arema Connect supports Market Research projects and outbound campaigns following the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If you want more information about our services to organizations or you want to partner with us, please contact us.