Now that you’ve written those GDPR policy documents and tackled your corporate mountain of old data, you might be ready to leave the legal stuff to the lawyers and get back to marketing, comms and sales. But maybe you’ve read something about PECR and some people on LinkedIn are still insisting that b2b email marketing will be over in May 2018?
What Is PECR?
PECR is the Privacy & Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 which governs email marketing. As an EU Directive, the UK can choose how to interpret PECR. Crucially the UK allows businesses the freedom to email other businesses on business matters without consent. Most EU countries do not allow b2b email marketing without consent.
The EU wants to update PECR and upgrade it to a Regulation (the ePrivacy Regulation or ePR) which means that all EU nations must follow the rule to the letter and there is no flexibility on its interpretation. The European Parliament signalled its desire to update it before May 2018 and bring in the new ePrivacy Regulation on 25 May 2018. As this would bring the UK into line with the EU and likely outlaw the sale of all third party b2b mailing lists, Electric Marketing wrote to a number of government ministers and departments asking for more information.
Five weeks later, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has emailed a reply; The Rt Hon David Davis MP Minister For Exiting The European Union, passed my letter to them.
EU Plans To Update PECR
The Department For DCMS states that is pretty much impossible for the EU to stick to their timetable of introducing ePR, the update to PECR legislation in May 2018. It points out that while the European Parliament has agreed its policy, all 28 member states are yet to officially state their position on the proposal and the final text of the ePrivacy Regulation is yet to be agreed by the European Parliament, Council and Commission.
“Our stand is that the quality of the text must be prioritised over speed”
The email from the DDCMS says that the UK government is pushing for a workable timetable for implementation, which I take to mean a two year period for business to prepare for the new ePrivacy Regulation.
What Is The UK Government’s Position On The PECR Update?
The email goes on to say
“In relation to unsolicited communication (spam emails and unsolicited calls), the UK’s position is to ensure the provisions for marketing communication are aligned with the high standard set in our domestic regime (‘PECR’) without compromising our regulator’s ability to enforce against such communication. We also aim to tighten the definition of direct marketing communications to avoid users needing to consent every time they load a webpage with ads. Elsewhere, the UK’s position is to maintain the level of flexibility for Member States in the current law.”
I believe that means the UK’s position is to continue to allow b2b email marketing without consent. But I am quoting the email from the ministerial support team at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport verbatim so that you can come to your judgement.
When Will The New PECR Regulation (ePR) Come Into Force?
Perhaps more pertinent is the question of timing; the EU needs to agree a text and pass the update to PECR before the UK leaves the EU on 29th March 2019 for the updated Regulation to become part of the European (Withdrawal) Bill and to pass into domestic legislation. If the EU passes the Regulation, it is likely that there will be a period of implementation which may be two years as with GDPR. If the ePrivacy Regulation is not passed before the UK leaves the EU, we will have to see what sort of Brexit deal is struck with regard to implementing new EU laws in the UK post-Brexit.
What Is The Government’s Policy on Data Protection Post-Brexit?
For more information, read this Government publication Future Partnership.
Electric Marketing will keep a close watch on the progress of PECR throughout 2018 and into 2019.
Our view is that the implementation of PECR reform seems a way off yet. But beyond 2020, the future for business-to-business digital marketing is not certain.
GDPR Signals The Death Of The Opt-In Mailing List: How Can You Still Use B2B Email Marketing In 2018?
The new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules that if your mailing list is opt-in, consent to opt-in to receive marketing communications must be be “freely-given, specific, informed and unambiguous”.
It is no longer permitted to use mailing lists on the basis of the old opt-in wheeze of a series of double negatives to leave a box unticked agreeing to be contacted by “the company’s marketing partners”. The ICO’s (Information Commissioners Office) guidance on interpreting GDPR specifically rules out pre-ticked boxes and states that any third party using a mailing list must be named when the consent is given.
From May 2018 a mailing list can only be opt-in if a person has ticked a box next to a statement that specifically names your company. So your client list and any one who has signed up to receive info from your company on your website are opt-in lists. Third party opt-in lists are pretty much out after May 2018 and any company or list broker promoting opt-in mailing lists is not up to speed on GDPR.
The good news is that ICO guidance also states that
You don’t always need consent. If consent is too difficult look at whether another lawful basis is more appropriate.
Electric Marketing mailing lists are compiled and used on the lawful basis of “legitimate interest”. If you have a business interest in contacting a person, you may contact them without gaining their prior consent to do so. This applies across mailing, telemarketing and email, with some key restrictions.
There are no restrictions on postal mailing. Direct marketing with envelopes and stamps is swinging back into fashion. It is expensive compared to email marketing but compares well with other forms of digital advertising.
Business-to-business telemarketing is restricted to companies which have not added themselves to the CTPS register. All Electric Marketing lists do contain the phone numbers of CTPS registered companies and they are marked up as CTPS. You can buy mailing lists excluding CTPS registered companies. It is worth noting that companies must renew their registration each year so a company’s CTPS status can change over time. You can check a company’s status by putting their phone number into our free CTPS Checker.
Email marketing for business-to-business marketing is restricted by your own list of individuals who have unsubscribed from receiving emails from your company. This is a key point of difference between consumer email marketing which definitely does require consent. The reason for the difference is that email marketing is governed by a different EU directive, known as the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). PECR states that it is permitted to send emails offering business services to business people at their business email addresses, but if they ask you to stop emailing them, then you must remove them from your list and must not email them again.
So the opt-in mailing list is dead. But email marketing for business-to-business communications lives on.
Happy New Year!
List focuses on client companies with dedicated events budgets
Google “events managers” and get the names of thousands of people working in events. If you are selling to events managers, it looks as if you have a wide target market and hitting your sales figures will be stress-free.
But start contacting those events managers and find that it is one of those job titles that carries different responsibilities depending on the industry sector. Large hotels have events managers but they focus on selling the hotel as a venue to wedding organisers and training companies. Travel companies have events managers and their role is to target groups of people travelling to an event such as an international football match. All large venues, whether sports stadium or arts complex host events and the person running this is the events manager.
Those events managers do not buy in any services; their focus is revenue, sales and client servicing. Much like yours in fact.
If you are researching a mailing list of events managers, you are probably looking for a person who buys in event services; the person who chooses the venue, the caterers, the AV supplier, print, furniture, flowers, travel, hotels and all the extras that contribute to a successful event.
Electric Marketing‘s new list of events managers focuses on corporate event managers. We have weeded out the events managers working in venues, marketing agencies and trade organisations. We have excluded the charity sector and companies which organise events as their main source of revenue.
Our list of 400 events managers features companies with a turnover of over £30m. It is a targeted list that aims to bring you new business by focusing on the right sort of events managers which, as ever, are the types with a budget to spend.
Why Email Marketing is Still Key to the B2B Marketer’s Skill Set
The under-21s are an entrepreneurial lot; revelling in their command of new technology, they blog, vlog and Snapchat, they roll their eyes at Facebook (it’s where old people go online) and only check their emails if they are expecting something.
But they are keen to make money out of technology: they dream of bringing a killer app to market and riding into the top ten of the App Store.
How to achieve this? By blogging, vlogging and persuading other (more influential) bloggers and vloggers to write up the app.
Sending an email to a mailing list of ripe targets for the app is not on their to-do list.
Email marketing is targeted, fast and effective and it is falling out of favour with the new generation of marketers. Our 20somethings have grown up on mobiles and social media and cannot see that companies still require vast numbers of employees to spend time sat at their desk regularly checking and dealing with business emails. Sending an email gets your message in front of the decision maker in the company you are targeting.
Email marketing does require more planning than bashing out a blog; write the email, check the email for spelling, grammar and broken links, send it to some test email addresses to see if it contains a word that triggers filters and make sure that it does not lose its formatting on a mobile screen, test that your unsubscribe mechanism works. And finally choose who to send it to; use your existing client list, your list of leads and prospects or buy in a mailing list of executives in your target market.
If you are selling into businesses, email marketing remains the most direct and cost effective marketing tool in your arsenal. The 40something target for your killer business app is more likely to be reading his emails than reading this blog.
Microsoft announced a leap in profits last month attributing the rise to its relaunch of LinkedIn.
Since Microsoft bought LinkedIn in 2016, the corporate social media site has been flooded with innovative new functions. Microsoft has focused on the site’s main user-base – recruiters and jobseekers, and sales and marketing people. It offers packages of paid-for extras and add-ons for each of these target markets and promotes them relentlessly, largely by on-screen prompts and email.
I have been on the receiving end of a few comments on the lines of
“Can’t believe Electric Marketing is still going, now that we’re all using LinkedIn”
“Who buys email marketing lists these days?”.
But plenty of b2b marketers still buy email lists because while social media has its place, it also has its limits. Yes, you can make contact with a sales prospect on LinkedIn by inviting them to connect with you. And if they do not reply you can use the InMail service. If the prospect ignores your message, LinkedIn cannot get you any further. To persist in chasing that prospect now, you need a phone number, or an email address.
It can take 12 emails, phone calls and other contacts before a business person buys from a new supplier. You can reach out to a prospect over and over using email marketing, direct mail and telemarketing. And you can only start that process by having your prospect’s full contact details to hand.
LinkedIn understands this; it promotes its own products to its users by email. But it guards those email addresses closely; LinkedIn is mainly concerned with its profits, not yours.
Electric Marketing’s mailing lists come with full contact details. Our postal and email lists are sold on the basis of multiple use. If you have a list of leads and prospects that you have found on LinkedIn, our List Research Service can research their email addresses and full contact details for you. 25 years of experience in business-to-business marketing has taught us that re-mailing and regular emails, can build a client base and bring you sales.
GDPR sure has been a long time coming. We’ve been worrying about the effects of the new Data Protection legislation from Europe since 2011. We are now a year away from the deadline of 25 May 2018 to comply. And Brexit won’t save us.
For consumer marketers there are big changes but for b2b marketing, changes need to be made but they are not too onerous. And if you already comply with current legislation, you will find yourself with a pretty short to-do list for GDPR.
Electric Marketing has prepared this guide to GDPR for b2b marketing. It focuses on what is relevant for b2b marketing.
The key change is that a company must show itself to be compliant with the rules. Write a policy document which sets out how you comply with the rules. Our guide puts the eight key issues into simple language that your policy document must cover.
There is a lot of misinformation out there about how email marketing will be affected by the new rules. This is certainly true for consumer marketing but b2b email marketing is not governed by GDPR, it is covered by the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR).
Until PECR is updated, the rules for b2b email marketing remain as they are ie you may send an email to a person’s business email address about business matters without first gaining their permission. Your email must have an opt-out mechanism. If the person opts out, you must not email them again. This is known as an ‘opt-out regime’.
What About Consent?
If you are using data for the sole purpose of b2b direct marketing, you do not need the prospect’s consent to do so. GDPR gives six reasons for lawfully processing data ie using emailing lists. Read them here on the Information Commissioner’s website.
B2B marketing does not rely on consent as the reason for data processing. Your policy document will say that you are processing data for the reason that the GDPR calls “legitimate interest” ie you have a legitimate business interest in emailing the person at their business email address.
Worried About PECR (Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulation 2003)?
The EU has an ambition to update the rules of PECR in May 2018 and has drafted legislation. The draft legislation appears to allow the UK to retain its opt-out regime for b2b marketing and while this could change, it seems unlikely. It is also possible that the EU’s timetable for updating PECR may slip beyond May 2018.
So PECR is as yet unknowable but if the EU’s timetable for the legislation slips just ten months to beyond March 2019, the UK’s Great Repeal Bill may not include the PECR update. To read more about the likely effects of the PECR update, look at solicitors Bird & Bird’s take on PECR here.
Following the events of last summer, the Pound crashed against the US Dollar to a 30 year low. The UK’s manufactured goods and services are falling in price for shoppers in the EU and across the world.
It follows that UK companies which export are set for a few years of strong sales growth. With growth comes new opportunities for b2b marketers to sell into these exporters as they gear up for expansion by investing in recruitment and training, marketing, market research into international markets, IT, international financial services and many other corporate services.
While many UK corporates are now drawing up plans to increase their exports, there are some companies which are ahead of the game. Electric Marketing has compiled new b2b mailing lists of companies which grew their exports by more than 10% last year. These companies are already showing strong sales growth and the new economic environment of a low pound and Brexit can only improve their prospects.
B2B marketers can buy data on fast-growing exporters in the knowledge that these target companies have insulated themselves against the chilly effects of Brexit and whatever the UK economy has in store for us.
In May 2016, Companies House reported that there were 3,725,232 companies registered in the UK. Though many will be dormant, non-trading or too small to buy your goods and services, business marketers must decide on the best corporate targets and take aim. Electric Marketing has long offered targeted mailing lists by job title, industry sector, company size and postcode.
This week we add a new mailing list selection, companies experiencing a high growth rate. We think these companies are excellent targets for your new business campaigns. Each one demonstrating an annual growth rate of 10% and above, they are likely to be fizzing with new ideas, have ambitious plans and be willing to invest in their business to push it to meet its full potential.
As they meet fresh challenges thrown up by their high growth rate, they rapidly staff up, skill up and buy in expertise from consultants and advisers. These companies make timely purchasing decisions.
Crucially, they are less likely to have long term relationships and loyalties to current suppliers and are more receptive to new partners and fresh proposals. Change is key to building a business and adapting to their fast-moving working environment.
The mailing lists show a bias to tech firms and around one third of the companies are technology driven, some in cutting edge areas such as cloud computing, fintech and online trading platforms.
If you would like to be involved with these bright stars of the UK’s corporate universe, full contact details (postal address, email address and phone numbers) are available to buy for your email marketing, telemarketing or mailing campaigns.
Summer of sport has begun with European Football, next week it’s Wimbledon and the Rio Olympics starts on 5 August. Hundreds of companies have paid to sponsor the events, the teams and the players.
But if you haven’t paid to be an official sponsor, beware of trying to associate your brand with sporting events. Firstly, the sporting event brands themselves police sponsorship very closely; the chicken shop in Stratford that rebranded itself Olympic Chicken in 2012 was short-lived.
Secondly, avoid tortuous connections in your email marketing. The eshot that begun ‘With Valentines Day fast-approaching, now is the perfect time to buy a new toner cartridge’ was mocked and swiftly deleted. Not many b2b companies can claim a real connection to a big sporting event so it might be best to leave that to consumer brands. This is the time to be in takeaway pizzas and big TVs.
Electric Marketing was asked for mailing lists of the companies who are official sponsors of international sporting events. It follows that if there is a sponsorship budget for the European Football, there must be a big marketing and promotions budget surrounding it. If you can make this work for you, we now have lists of sports sponsors.
There are different levels of corporate sponsorship; the ten global sponsors of the UEFA 2016 football championship are Adidas, Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, Continental Tyres, Hisense (Chinese electronics giant), Hyundai-Kia, McDonald’s, Orange, SOCAR and Turkish Airlines.
Although national teams are not permitted to display sponsors’ logos on their shirts, Vauxhall sponsors England, Northern Ireland and Wales national teams. The England team have an official supermarket sponsor (Lidl), their suits come from sponsors Marks & Spencer and Panini is the official sticker provider. There are many more companies involved in sponsoring the teams in the Euro 16 Football and still more in the Rio Olympics.
These sponsors will have allocated big budgets to be spent during these events and have a very limited time in which to spend them. The right approach at the right time could see a small chunk of that budget heading your way.
To access the mailing lists of companies actively involved in the business side of this summer’s sports, see our website page dedicated to mailing lists of UK sports sponsors.
We’ve compiled a new mailing list of companies signed up to pay their staff the Living Wage and who support the Living Wage Foundation. Signalling a commitment to employee wellbeing and a progressive HR vision, the companies on this mailing list are more likely to invest in HR, people development, learning and internal communications to cement a reputation as an ethical employer.
What does it mean to sign up to the Living Wage?
All UK companies are obliged to pay workers aged 25 and above the National Living Wage, an hourly rate of £7.20 (The rate for workers aged 21-24 is £6.70 per hour, and for 18-20 year olds it is £5.30 per hour). The Living Wage Foundation has set a higher wage, the Living Wage which is calculated so that anyone with a job is not living in poverty. The companies who sign up to the Living Wage Foundation commit to pay all their staff aged 18 and over (including contractors), a minimum of £8.25 an hour (£9.40 in London). Financially, it is a big commitment but the campaign has attracted companies large and small; Aviva, Barclays, Burberry, Channel 4, ClearChannel, GSK, ITV, KPMG, Legal & General, Linklaters and Santander are significant supporters of the Living Wage Foundation which campaigns against in-work poverty.
Why sign up to the Living Wage?
These companies are highlighting their commitment to be fair employers who care about the lives of their staff outside the workplace. Membership of the Living Wage Foundation is more than a component of a recruitment and retention strategy; organisations are seeking to distance themselves from rival corporates who look to be out to make profits at any cost and some maybe making amends for past corporate misdemeanours (there’s a fair few banks on the mailing list).
Why Might You Be Interested In Marketing To Living Wage Employers?
Unwilling to buy on price and not hiring the cheapest option, serious about CSR (corporate social responsibility) and wanting to be seen as ethical corporates who try to ‘do the right thing’: we think these companies are great b2b marketing prospects, and not just for HR and training companies. If your product offering has an ethical slant, why not consider a targeted email marketing campaign to the Living Wage Employers. Just as they are fair employers, they are more likely to be fair business partners too.