GDPR blog image - Feb 17

GDPR: Massive impact or not much changed?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be enforceable as of the 25th May 2018. Lots has been written and speculated about the new rules, and there’s a great deal of confusion too. We spoke with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to get a better picture – here’s what we found.

What will change?

The short answer for most B2B marketers, is not a lot. The major difference the GDPR will bring into play is for those B2B marketers that communicate with sole traders and partnerships. You won’t be able to send ‘opt-out’ email or text marketing messages to sole traders or partnerships because they will be treated as individuals – not as a business.

So, if you wanted to send a marketing email or text to a sole trader you’d need their express consent – obtained in a clear way. The onus would be on the company doing the marketing to prove that consent was obtained. We’re awaiting guidance from the ICO as to what acceptable proof might look like.

What about other types of companies?

There will be little that changes when emailing or texting marketing messages to other companies, for instance: a corporate, a limited company, a LLP, partnerships in Scotland, or a government body. While you will not need their consent in the same way as you would from a sole trader, you must provide a clear and easy way for an individual employee of these companies to opt-out of future communications.

I don’t use email or SMS marketing – what about me?

If you are using telemarketing or direct mail to market to sole traders, partnerships, corporates, limited companies, LLPs, and government bodies you do not need to obtain prior consent. You must however make it possible for a recipient to decline future marketing messages.

In all cases, it is at least good practice (even required by law) for the company to identify themselves, not disguise their identity or contact details, and to provide a way for the recipient to get in touch or opt-out of further messages, for example, a return address or a Freephone number.

What’s more, as with any direct marketing campaign, it’s the quality of the data that makes the difference. If you’re using cheap and cheerful data of questionable origin, not only might it be non-compliant it could do your marketing more harm than good.

How can I find out more?

The GDPR page on our website has more on this topic, feel free to browse it for more information. Alternately, we’d be pleased to answer any questions or to alleviate any concerns you have about the GDPR – give us a call on 0117 947 6090.