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What the new GDPR means – Part One: B2B Marketing

March 24, 2016

In our recent blog we discussed the impending change to the Data protection Laws. The new General Data Protection Regulation was agreed on December 15th 2015. The DMA anticipates it will be published in the EU Journal before May or June and once the published will be law across the EU.  A two year implementation phase will then begin, and so the law will be enforceable by May or June 2018. The new law states that you need permission from an individual to process their information.  If an email address is personally identifiable ie. [email protected] then you need permission to process it. Sending an email clearly involves processing their details and therefore requires express permission. The regulation is far from toothless and the ICO has the power to fine companies up to 4% of their GDP. So companies need to use this two year period to gain permission before it's too late. I’m concentrating on business to business emails in this blog and part two will consider personal emails.



Business emails: What you should be doing now


The new regulations are going to be a huge cultural shift for companies marketing to other businesses. Business emails such as [email protected] were exempt in the UK from the previous legislation: The Electronic Communications Act 2003. This meant that you could continue to email them on an 'opt-out' basis unlike personal emails like Gmail and Hotmail that required an express 'opt-in'. Since then, business to business emailing has been a bit of a free for all with some companies batching and blasting without permission. In two years’ time the new law will apply to non-generic business emails and you'll need their permission to 'process' them. So this two years’ grace period gives you time to take action and some ideas of what you can do are:

  1. Sort out your subscription options:It’s time to make sure your website encourages visitors to subscribe to your emails. If you don’t have one already you will need a subscription option on your website. And visitors to your website shouldn’t need to go looking for it. Using a subscription tool like Padiact will help attract subscribers especially if combined with a strong give away such as an offer or free guide.
  2. Involve the sales people: Sales people and marketing teams don’t always see eye to eye but now is the time to collaborate. Your account managers, when speaking to clients and prospects, should encourage them to sign up and send them a link to your subscription form to secure their consent. It’s in their interest that their contacts can continue to receive your company’s marketing.
  3. Send an email campaign: You effectively have two years left to contact these people by email and so every email should carry a prominent subscription link. By using the right tone of voice you can explain to your audience that you would like to continue emailing them and asking them to click through to a pre-populated subscription form.
  4. Stop relying too heavily on bought-in lists: Email is a relatively cost effective method of marketing compared with other channels and carries a very high ROI. To continue using it you will need to focus on your data strategy more than you may have done in the past. Using the next two years to build a quality, opt-in, organic database will pay dividends in the long term.
  5. Use other marketing channels: Consider adding subscription links to your social media bios, tweet the link and add it into all other types of marketing you’re doing to maximise subscribers.
  6. Produce emails people will want to subscribe to: Finally, use this time to assess the value of your communications. Would people actually want to subscribe to your emails? The best way to reach new audiences and build subscriber lists is to regularly email great content and be a thought leader in your field. This should be one of the positives of the new legislation; to force more B2B email marketers to up their game and produce great emails they can be proud to share.

Posted by Jenni Malley
General, Topical email

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