The General Data Protection Registration (GDPR) is likely to change the way many businesses collect and communicate with their customers very soon.
As stated on ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) website:
“Consent under the GDPR must be a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the individual’s wishes. There must be some form of clear affirmative action – or in other words, a positive opt-in – consent cannot be inferred from silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity. Consent must also be separate from other terms and conditions, and you will need to provide simple ways for people to withdraw consent”.
However, in our experience, some businesses communicate quite liberally using email marketing software with no evidence of explicit consent or purpose. When GDPR arrives in May 2018 real clarity is required when it comes to explaining to customers how their data will be used. This should take place during the sign-up process.
- You must be clear which business will be using the data and;
- Provide adequate information on how their data will be used.
Nowadays, many business websites include an email list signup form, separately or within the sales process and occasionally in the form of a pop-up window. It’s imperative that companies eradicate any pre-ticked boxes, use language that is clear and to the point, and declare any additional contact that might occur in the future.
Ultimately the bearing this may have on future sales and marketing strategies has yet to be measured but, for sure many businesses both big and small, email marketing campaigns will be impacted.
It’s critical that business owners and marketers start to develop a clear and engaging programme within their organisation to tackle emerging issues and ensure that any operations, compliance and sales gaps are known and measured. Understanding how you can you use consent to build trust and deliver authentic relationships with customers may give business to the opportunity to differentiate in the future.
In the coming months it will be vital to keep up to date with any changes for further information, see the ICO guidance on direct marketing
Nevertheless, It will be interesting to see who remains ahead of the curve and if marketing resources are shifted to alternative channels in the coming months. Now is the time to get thinking and for businesses to start developing real strategies that benefit and provide value to their customers.