A number of clients have asked us about current data protection laws, but also the new GDPR regulations and the impact they will have on business to business (B2B) email marketing.
As it stands, the current data protection regulations on sending emails to organisations don’t apply, although you must still identify yourself and provide a valid address for responses.
Be warned, from 25th of May 2018 the new GDPR rules could start to impact B2B email marketing. And, just to be clear for those thinking that Brexit could solve the problem. The Government has already stated that the decision to leave the EU will not alter the commencement of GDPR.
Check out specific guidance from the ICO on electronic marketing https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-pecr/electronic-and-telephone-marketing/electronic-mail-marketing/
Get into good habits and implement change now
Regardless of regulation, it is good practise to ensure you keep track of those that have ‘opted out’ of receiving emails. Ensure you have the right mechanisms in place in your email distribution and CRM. If you do buy new or updated data lists check them against your existing records. If you are carrying out B2B integrated marketing campaigns this not only makes good sense, but also protects your organisation’s reputation.
How could GPDR impact B2B email marketing?
GDPR could change the way B2B marketers operate. For example, if you are targeting smaller businesses then sole traders and some partnerships could be treated as individuals. In this case you should only email them if they have given specific consent, or if they have bought similar products or services from you previously and didn’t opt out when given the chance.
You can email organisations for example (a company, Scottish partnership, limited liability partnership or government body), but make sure you are screening contacts against your ‘opt out’ lists and maintaining ‘opt outs’ on your CRM.
How will this change in the future?
In the future, you might need to consider data protection implications if you are emailing employees in an organisation who as the ICO states ‘have a ‘personal’ corporate email address such as email@example.com
Finally, please remember that the GDPR legislation is being updated and amended. We won’t fully understand the impact until the GDPR regulation rolls out next year. One thing is certain, the ICO has far greater powers than ever before and can now be proactive in its approach to policing the regulation.
For further information, see the ICO guidance on direct marketing – https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/marketing/