We’re nearly 18 months removed from the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). After all of the panic leading up to GDPR enforcement, we can safely say that the marketing world has not grinded to a halt due to compliance challenges.

But after Google was fined $57 million for violations earlier this year, previously theoretical GDPR compliance concerns became all too real. And for marketers, the pressure to adapt is mounting.

Because third-party data plays such a crucial role in B2B marketing, you can’t afford to maintain the status quo. As GDPR enforcement ramps up, compliance will depend in large part on the evolution of your third-party data usage.

GDPR Compliance Remains a Struggle

Marketers in the United States alone spend over $19 billion per year on third-party data. With so much money going into obtaining personal data, the world’s most valuable resource, the lack of GDPR compliance may come as a surprise.

Studies have shown that just 20% of companies in the U.S., U.K., and EU are fully GDPR compliant. While over 50% say they’re in the implementation phase, there are still 30% of companies who haven’t taken any steps toward GDPR compliance.

While enforcement has already begun, we’re still a long way off of widespread compliance penalties. Thousands of non-compliance complaints are filed each month and we’re just now seeing an uptick in penalties. But you can’t wait until penalization is in full swing before you make a change.

About 80% of marketers are at least somewhat worried about their third-party data usage because of GDPR enforcement. And ultimately, you’re left with two options to quiet those concerns—eliminate your use of third-party data altogether or find providers that can maintain data privacy.

Using Third-Party Intent Data Without Sacrificing Compliance

At the core, so much of GDPR compliance is based on customer consent. The frameworks around opt-in and opt-out systems have become so much stricter due to GDPR and it has to be clear where data is stored, which data represents personally identifiable information, and who exactly can access the data.

When you’re working with a third-party intent data provider, you aren’t in control of how GDPR compliance is addressed. Asking the right questions is essential. But there are still plenty of providers who do the bare minimum with cookie notifications and opt-out processes and remain non-compliant.

Unfortunately, this lack of certainty has led many marketers to limit their use of third-party data in many marketing processes. For example, you might limit third-party data targeting on digital advertising platforms, relying on your first-party data to keep you away from GDPR compliance concerns entirely. The problem is that this leaves you with the same challenges that led you to find a third-party data provider in the first place.

Instead of adapting to GDPR in ways that hurt your marketing performance, your best approach will be to find a data provider that will help you maintain compliance.

Proper use of third-party intent data presents an opportunity to build trust with your customers. Because GDPR puts your prospects and customers in greater control of their data, they can be sure that your marketing messages are respecting their information. And as a result, you avoid compliance penalties while also being able to target accounts more efficiently, personalize content effectively, and improve the overall timing of your communications.

Now, there’s just one question left to answer—how do you find an intent data provider that has already adapted to the current state of GDPR compliance?

The first step is fully understanding how a provider collects, stores, and distributes information. If you want to get started, check out our primer on the subject, Demystifying B2B Purchase Intent Data.