Now that we are all getting used to GDPR, you have probably seen mailing lists advertised with the reassuring words “GDPR Compliant Data”. But what does it mean for b2b mailing list data to be GDPR compliant?
- The mailing list has to be current and up-to-date. The new General Data Protection Regulation does not define ‘current’. Electric Marketing is taking the view that our mailing lists, verified by telephone two or three times a year, qualify as being current.
- If the mailing list contains personal information, and names and company email addresses which contain a person’s name do count as personal information, every person on the list must be informed that they are on the mailing list and be informed of the extent of the information held by the data owner. This is not the same as consent, but a mailing list owner should contact the data subject and give them the opportunity to opt out. Unlike consumer marketing where consent is required, business-to-business marketing remains an opt-out regime.
- Data must have been collected lawfully ie data must not be stolen and must have been collected for the purpose it is being used for eg data subjects should not be told that their email address will be used for research purposes only to be sent sales and marketing emails.
So now you know what to expect of a reputable mailing list supplier. My next blog covers the steps that you, the user of bought-in b2b email lists, must take when running a GDPR compliant email marketing campaign.
Competition for good staff is hotting up as the UK unemployment rates fall. The UK’s largest companies are alive to the notion that one reward package will not fit all employees; different people at different life stages will value different rewards and benefits.
Whether staff prefer a higher salary or extra paid holiday, gym membership or subsidised lunches, a flexible reward scheme is essential for staff retention and effective succession planning.
Reward or compensation and benefits used to sit in the HR manager’s in tray but now almost all of the UK’s largest employers have a dedicated reward manager on the HR team.
The mailing list features full contact details, including email addresses, of 500 reward managers, working in UK companies with more than 500 employees.
There is just one contact per company, so you will receive a file of 500 reward managers in 500 companies.
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.
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.
There has been a fair bit of low-level grumbling about the Apprenticeship Levy from the big beasts of UK plc.
Payable by any company with an annual wages bill of £3m+, the Apprenticeship Levy has joined Brexit as the go to excuse for a CEO offering a sticky profits warning to shareholders.
But many companies have embraced the the change; they are not just taking on apprentices, they have developed formal apprenticeship programmes and had their in-house programmes accredited as apprenticeship training providers.
These companies running in-house schemes feature on our new lists of Apprenticeship Levy Employers. With every apprentice contracted to spend 20% of their time in off-the-job training, these companies seem likely to spend their Apprenticeship Levy funds buying in training.
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.
Top 5 Tips To Get Best Value From Your Marketing Lists
It’s, ahem, 25 years since I sold the first subscriptions to Marketing Appointments to a handful of advertising and design agencies. You don’t need to know everything I’ve learned about mailing lists, business data and marketing information. But knowing how to get the best value from our marketing lists, that is useful. Here’s five points for b2b marketers that can’t be said often enough.
- The best performing list is one that contains companies with a similar profile to your current client list. If you buy a mailing list and it contains the names of people and companies with whom you are already doing business, this is a good sign. Don’t waste your time grumbling that 3 people on the list of 100 names are already clients, get on with contacting the other 97 in the happy knowledge that these are good prospects.
- Social media is great but unless your tweets and FB posts are being read by your target audience, it won’t bring in the sales. Use mailing lists to identify your target readership, find those prospects on Twitter and LinkedIn and communicate with them directly. Follow people on Twitter and get yourself noticed by writing some interesting tweets. Most Tweeters receive an email each time they attract a new follower, which puts your company name in their inbox, just by clicking the ‘follow’ button.
- In times of mass emailing clogging up the executive inbox, you need to stay on good terms with your prospects and clients. Figure out how often people can bear to hear from you. Think of something new to say or a new way of saying your old message. Bashing out the same copy to the same people every week wins you no fans, just a whole bunch of unsubscribes.
- Many executives have their inbox security set to ‘very high’ to screen out unwanted emails. Email sent to these people will bounce back to you as ‘identified as spam’ or ’email unavailable’. Put these email addresses in a separate file and write an email specifically formulated to get a very low spam score and to get past their spam filter. Keep it short, keep links to a minimum and keep it text only. See here for more tips on keeping your e-shots out of the filters’ way.
- ReMail. You have bought a list from Electric Marketing. Don’t just use it once, get your money’s worth and email it again. You can send an initial email, follow it up a fortnight or month later, look the person up on social media and make contact, write a letter, send a brochure or pick up the phone. You’ve got the data, use it while it’s current. ReMailing works.
‘How often can I use the mailing list?’ can be the first question a new client asks Electric Marketing.
We don’t restrict the use of our mailing lists: it’s your marketing campaign, you are running the show. But to get the best value from an email list and to be able to use it over and over, we recommend that you limit emailing your cold prospects to once a month.
Business-to-business email marketers must be alive to their ‘unsubscribe’ rate. UK law states that you can send emails to business people on business matters but if they ask you not to contact them again or ‘unsubscribe’, you must not email that person again. Each ‘unsubscribe’ is a prospect that you cannot email again. Ever.
To get best value from your email marketing list, keep the unsubscribes to a minimum so that your list of 1,000 marketing managers does not deteriorate to 900 email addresses after the first week.
One of the top reasons people give for requesting to be removed from the Electric Marketing database, is that they receive too many emails. If a prospect feels that your emails are filling up their inbox, they will seek out your unsubscribe button and launch themselves off your email list.
In tests, we have found that an email campaign to a fresh list of cold prospects can expect an unsubscribe rate of 0.5%. Email that same list one month later and we receive the same unsubscribe rate. But email the same list two weeks later and the second email generated 1% of unsubscribe notices and we note, more strident language. By emailing twice a month, so 24 times in one year, your email list shrinks at twice the rate.
‘People don’t unsubscribe because they do not want to hear from you, they unsubscribe because they know what you are offering.’
If your email marketing serves to remind businesses that you are still eager to do business with them, it is likely that you don’t have anything different to offer from last week. You wouldn’t write to a business every week saying pretty much the same thing, why treat email differently on the basis that it is cheap to do so? We recommend that you email your cold prospects no more than once a month for up to a year. After a year of emails, it is likely that you will have to reach out to them by phone, post or social media and admit defeat on email. A quick phone call might reveal that they are not the right person in the company to make the decision.
No busy decision maker reads every email that arrives instantly. Time management best practice dictates that successful business people filter emails into what is urgent and to be dealt with immediately, then maybe emails to be filed and then emails that are interesting and to read later. Realistically no senior decision maker will place an approach from a new supplier in the ‘must read now’ file. Your first email should aim to be in the ‘read and consider later’ file. Give your prospect time to read your email. It is probably best not to badger them with emails twice a week until they ask you to stop.
For email lists of busy decision makers in large companies see our page of email lists of directors and decision makers