With GDPR in full-force, the need is high for marketing leaders to understand how it affects day-to-day operations.
We know there are many questions about the regulation and we’ve addressed several in the recent webinar we hosted, Demand Generation in the Age of Data Privacy & GDPR, with SiriusDecisions’ Senior Director of EMEA Research, Isabel Montesdeoca, and our Head of Global Marketing, Michelle Cirocco.
One specific question from the audience focused on email marketing under GDPR.
Q: How is GDPR going to affect email marketing? Do we need to send an email asking for permission to contact clients?
Email marketing with GDPR can sometimes feel like the chicken or the egg situation, which one comes first? For starters, no, you cannot send an email to ask for permission to contact clients because you need permission to send an email to begin with.
Now, let’s break down the word “client” since it can be used in a couple different ways.
Specific to prospects, you must obtain an opt-in, which is an explicit consent for on-going communication. This consent gives you the right to store the individual’s data and process their information in order to send them future emails about related topics. In this case, you need to use inbound activities to obtain consent or some type of telecommunication, and ultimately, have a meaningful conversation delivering value, which would encourage the individual to opt-in.
Existing customers are also clients and you do not need the opt-in to send them an email. However, any email communication must be related to the services they have purchased. You don’t need any extra permission in this situation.
If the email communication pertains to an unrelated product or service (even if it may be similar to one they have already invested in) then it would be considered as opt-out. Opt-out means that you do not have permission to communicate with this individual on this topic.
So, if a customer has already purchased a service from you, another opt-in is required to upsell them.
Here’s the bottom line:
You must obtain opt-in when prospecting, even if you’re marketing something different to a current customer.
Be mindful of the “letter of the law”: opt-in does not pertain to only marketing automation tools, it also applies to anyone reaching out to a prospect in an unsolicited manner without their consent or legitimate interest.
Televerde can partner with you to ensure demand generation success under GDPR, however, we are not posed to give legal advice. For specifics on how these practices affect your company, please seek legal counsel.