Brexit: Marketing industry figures react to EU exit

Jun 24, 2016 | Content marketing, Regulation

The shock result of the EU referendum has left the UK marketing industry asking: What Next? We have gathered some of the key quotes from people in the sector on how UK leaving the EU could change digital marketing in the UK. Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA: “The EU referendum results are in and […]

The shock result of the EU referendum has left the UK marketing industry asking: What Next? We have gathered some of the key quotes from people in the sector on how UK leaving the EU could change digital marketing in the UK.


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Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA:

“The EU referendum results are in and the UK has decided to leave the European Union (EU). The transition away from the institutions of Europe we have been working with for the past 40 years will take time. How long exactly will depend on our nation’s politicians to confirm the finer details of our departure from the EU.
“Although the final consequences of Brexit remain unknown, UK companies trading with EU citizens must continue to respect their rights. The DMA Code remains the best guide for UK marketers to ensure they are putting the customer at the heart of their organisation, building relationships based on trust that benefit both the business and the customer. The UK wants to continue trading with the EU, so our data protection law will need to be broadly equivalent to existing legislation and strike the right balance between the right to privacy and economic growth.
“The UK is a world leader in digital and data-driven business, driving both the job market and economic growth. To continue to lead in this global industry we need to sustain our recruitment of talented developers, creatives and data analysts. We have a wealth of talent and STEM skills in the UK already, but need to ensure our industry has the talent it needs in the future.”
Aftab Afzal, SVP & GM EMEA at NSFOCUS IB:
“Brexit will have impact on the industry as a whole. However it is too early to speculate on this being positive or negative. The coming weeks and months will be a telling time. Cyber security is a global challenge and not EU specific. With the vote being so close, the unrest will translate into some increased cyber attacks and organisations at the forefront should take extra caution. As many cyber security vendors report dollar revenues, currency market volatility could see some prices increased.
I do not foresee any big changes short term in cross border collaboration in cyber security. Longer term, the vendors with global research teams who contribute to intelligence communities will play a bigger role in cooperation, as cyber security has always been a global issue.
GDPR is just one of many compliance drivers that ensure sensitive and personal data is handled with care. Compliance is born from best practices and when or if the UK mandates a new data policy, the main tenants of GDPR will no doubt be considered as the Government has to ensure the public safety, both physically and virtually.”
Daniel Reilly, co-founder at Ruler Analytics, said:
“Here at Ruler Analytics we are disappointed in the vote to leave the EU. However, the digital marketing sector is one of the most resilient and growing sectors of recent times. Whilst there are a number of negatives to leaving the EU there are also many positives for an industry that has no borders.
“We certainly don’t think this change will affect the ability to recruit skilled labour from abroad, nor do we believe this will cause a shortage of jobs within a constantly developing and evolving market place. We are a serviced-based financial economy, which is driven by a great infrastructure of both education and training, and this has allowed us to be at the forefront of digital, and will continue to do so for many years to come.”
Dietrich Benjes, VP of strategic accounts and alliances EMEA at Varonis:
“The UK has been the biggest single market for tech in the EU, so many tech companies have their EU HQ’s here or at least a very strong presence. Now that the UK has voted out, the economic ramifications are already being felt and will carry on being felt regardless of the sector. However, I think there is a very strong and compelling case to remain and further invest in the UK. It’s now down to the government to engage with business and communicate the strength of that case. As long as companies in the UK continue to do business with those in the EU, and they will, then GDPR will still need to be addressed. And regardless of the regulation, the impetus for it – the need to ensure that sensitive information, personal information is secure – remains.”
Andy Green, technical specialist at Varonis:
“UK voters have decided to escape the EU, so that means they’ll be free of the GDPR, right? Not really. As many observers have pointed out, the GDPR applies even to companies or “data controllers” outside the EU. This is the extra-territoriality nature of this data law (see article 3). So if UK-based web sites collect personal data from, say, a Dutch or French person, the GDPR still applies! And for UK companies with subsidiaries (and therefore data controllers) within the EU, and which try to get out of the GDPR by outsourcing processing to the UK, the GDPR, again, would still apply.
Why? Under the GDPR, the UK would have to be an “approved country” (with adequate data protection) in order for EU personal data to be transferred out of the zone. In other words, the UK local data laws would have to be up to snuff and at the same level as the GDPR.
UK companies doing business in the UK, collecting only personal data of UK citizens, will be covered by the current Data Protection Act, which is basically the EU Data Protection Directive (DPD), the law of land in the EU now. The UK’s local data laws are and will likely be in the future close to the current GDPR. In short, large UK-based multinationals will still have to deal directly with the GDPR, and local UK companies will be under a GDPR-like local data law.”
David Jinks, ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research:
‘Many of ParcelHero’s SME business customers voted for Brexit and we understand entirely why they have done so. However, we are concerned for our customers about the possibility of increased costs in sending parcels to the EU and also receiving items from the Union.’
‘ParcelHero regularly ships to those countries that are in Europe but not in the EU, such as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. Parcels sent to these countries face customs delays, red tape and tariffs of between 5-9% on average. We hope that the UK will not find itself with similar customs charges and paperwork. It is our hope that negotiations between the UK Government and Brussels will ensure that the EU will not impose new tariffs on British good shipped into the EU; and that similarly the UK Government will not seek to impose tit-for-tat tariffs in return.’
‘ParcelHero does not foresee any price rises for its popular EU services while the UK’s future relationship is hammered out; and it will seek to protect its customers from any increased costs in the long term. It’s very much business as usual and we trust that Britain will not face new trade tariffs and border delays following these negotiations; which would be very much against the interest of EU countries and businesses; as well as UK SMEs.’
Matt Hunt, CEO of Apadmi Enterprise:
“The UK and EU are markets that have continued to offer tech businesses huge growth potential and the international business community has been overwhelmingly supportive of our industry.
“Technology does not observe boundaries and we have been lucky to enjoy an inspiring array of tech from the UK, Europe and even further afield, which we have been able to access and use for the benefit of our customers. The UK tech industry has been in a strong position and the only limitations we’ve faced to do business has been our own ability.
“With the impending Brexit, there is now a high level of risk and uncertainty over our future and questions are being asked as to how will we be able to build on our success and further grow without the support of the EU.”

Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA:

“The EU referendum results are in and the UK has decided to leave the European Union (EU). The transition away from the institutions of Europe we have been working with for the past 40 years will take time. How long exactly will depend on our nation’s politicians to confirm the finer details of our departure from the EU.
“Although the final consequences of Brexit remain unknown, UK companies trading with EU citizens must continue to respect their rights. The DMA Code remains the best guide for UK marketers to ensure they are putting the customer at the heart of their organisation, building relationships based on trust that benefit both the business and the customer. The UK wants to continue trading with the EU, so our data protection law will need to be broadly equivalent to existing legislation and strike the right balance between the right to privacy and economic growth.
“The UK is a world leader in digital and data-driven business, driving both the job market and economic growth. To continue to lead in this global industry we need to sustain our recruitment of talented developers, creatives and data analysts. We have a wealth of talent and STEM skills in the UK already, but need to ensure our industry has the talent it needs in the future.

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