Business-to-business (B2B) direct marketing to many people is just email marketing; but what impact will the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), effective from 25th May, have on your campaigns? This article the second of three and provides observations and practical tips about maintaining contact with your existing customers and new contacts in order to develop and keep your database compliant after GDPR takes effect. PLEASE NOTE THIS ARTICLE IS NOT INTENDED TO BE DEFINITIVE ABOUT GDPR ITSELF. The regulating body, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), have lots of GDPR guidance on their website. _________________________________________________________________________________ As stated in Part 1 the key issue for marketers is consent, which has to be freely given and proven that it was given. If requested by the ICO to show how you acquire and manage your customer and contact data used for marketing purposes, best practice would be showing how you are completing a ‘double opt-in’ process (see below). This is where the recipient confirms their email address and, if appropriate, any specific areas of interests. Continuing to just provide an ‘opt-out’ link at the end of an email may well not be enough to ensure compliance. Among the tasks needed to help complete this activity should include:
- Awareness of your business’s overall approach to GDPR compliance – not just the marketing-related issues and the contact data collection and updating and usage outlined here.
- Co-ordination with other departments – your business may have more than one customer or contact within the same organisation you are providing services too.
- Explaining to your customers and contacts why you are getting in touch – your business will not be the only one doing this, in fact you may have received similar communications yourself.
- Small businesses/sole traders that do not have a separate business email address will also be subject to the new GDPR – ‘double opt-in’ is required i.e. express consent to electronically market to.
- Non-personal addresses such as ‘Info@abc…’ are not covered by GDPR, but in reality, probably not best practice or a great deal of use from a marketing perspective.
- Explaining the process to customer-facing personnel
- Why it is required and providing some call guidelines
- Emphasise the need to send the confirmation email as soon as possible after the ‘phone call