Date published

Oct 24, 2017

What right-thinking brand would seriously speak like this to a customer?

A week or so ago, I posted about GDPR, but didn’t cover the impact for email marketing. As we’re an integrated marketing agency in the business of customer relationship management, I’m about to remedy that, now.

Remember the key principle behind GDPR? It’s to make sure that personal data is treated with respect, and bad practices of old are consigned to the wastebin. Lest ARMAGEDDON-LEVEL FINES come into play.

Which is a good thing for the world in general, right? Or, at least, the 28 countries taking part.

The impact on your email marketing can be split into 2 main watchwords: consent and content.

Welcome to the Age of Consent

GDPR and the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulation (commonly known as PECR) demand that all of your B2C email recipients have actively opted in. Clear, unequivocal consent.

There’s a very contentious line in GDPR, which refers to only using email communication for ‘legitimate interests’, but never actually defines them. Play it safe, and make sure your comms plans are not only transparent, but relevant.

If you’re going to send them offers based on their preferences, customers have to know this at the point of signing up. If you’re planning on sending them news, or research emails, they need to know at the point of signing up.

And no passive signing up, either.

No ‘untick if you don’t want to receive this’. It’s got to be actively chosen by informed people. Which again, has to be a good thing.

To demonstrate informed consent, you need to record:

  • All of the captured personal data
  • The method that consent was gained by
  • What the user was told would be done with their data, exactly.

At some point in the future, it’s not unrealistic to expect sign-up portals to submit time-stamped screen grabs with every submission.

“But I’ve got all this data… and I don’t have this opt-in consent. What’s a person to do?!”

Re-permission campaigns: “Please sir/madam, may I have some more?”

If you have less-than-immaculate email data, and don’t want to delete it all, re-permission activity should be imminently on your agenda.

Contact your recipient base, be honest and open about the communications you’re offering, and give them a very clear route to opt IN or opt out.

You’ll wind up with better quality data, however it goes.

Value-adds. Make better, more thoughtful content

GDPR insists that the act of opting out must be mechanically really easy. But that doesn’t mean that you have to make it an easy decision.

Starting with your impending Re-permission campaign, you need to offer something of real value to the recipients.

That may include best practice tips, blogs, active communities. Something that you would actually want to opt into when you’re not wearing your marketing head.

Think as a customer: if something isn’t helpful, engaging, or that marketing buzzword du jour, ‘delightful’, would you give it the keys to your inbox?

Good content drives legit consent.

Speak to your CRM agencies, integrated agencies and in-house teams as soon as you can about existing data, re-permission, and a customer-sympathetic strategy going forward.

It’s a new era that will be driven by high quality, well targeted communications and bright ideas. Not misleading tick boxes.