Electric Marketing Blog

Why Targeting Your Marketing Campaign To Newly Appointed Managers Can Power Up Your Response Rates

Electric Marketing’s New Marketing Appointments service is 28 years old and we are preparing Marketing Appointments issue number 337 this month.

Why has this business list product lasted so long? Is it that amidst the supercharged technological change of the last 30 years, the old saying that a new broom sweeps clean still holds.

A new manager with a new job will likely kick off by hiring some new suppliers. Whether it’s a marketing manager looking to revitalise the advertising campaign (hires new ad agency) or an HR director looking to recruit new talent (uses new executive search firm), newly appointed managers work hard at making their mark.

And so by targeting a newly appointed manager, your sales pitch offering to solve a problem could come at the right time, leaving you well-placed to become a regular supplier of the new manager.

These targeted mailing lists of managers, directors and c-level contacts are ideal for emarketing, telemarketing and direct marketing. Electric Marketing is the only mailing list company offering New Appointments mailing lists.

We offer eight job titles

Why not try a campaign to newly-appointed managers in your target market? In our experience, these lists outperform standard mailing lists. But of course, they are much smaller than standard lists. They are best suited to ongoing business-to-business marketing campaigns.

We offer these lists on a subscription basis. You can sign up for a year and we’ll send you a new list of newly appointed managers every month.

We’ll be happy to send you one free issue from one of the New Appointments lists. Send us an email or make like it’s 1991 and phone us on 020 7419 7999.

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The Rules for Direct Marketing & eMail Marketing in the UK

Despite all the publicity generated by the introduction of GDPR, there is still a lot of confusion over the rules for using mailing lists and email lists for direct marketing in the UK. This brief guide aims to dispel a few myths and clarify what marketers can and cannot do in the post-GDPR UK.

Business-to-business marketing: the marketing of business services or business products to people at work.

You can send promotional emails to corporate email addresses. This includes personal corporate email addresses e.g. John.Smith@BigCompany.co.uk. You do not need consent or opt-ins to be able to do this. You should offer a way for individuals to opt out of receiving further emails from you. If an individual opts out you should not contact that person again.

You can send promotional mail to individuals at companies and other corporate bodies. Individual employees can opt out of receiving mail from you.

You can make live sales and marketing calls to companies that have not registered their phone number on the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS). You can check whether a number is registered on the CTPS for free here https://www.electricmarketing.co.uk/ctpschecker/

You must have specific consent to make marketing calls about claims management services. You need specific consent to make recorded marketing calls to any phone number.

Consumer marketing: the marketing of products and services to people in their homes or on personal numbers or to personal email addresses. This also applies to marketing to sole traders and partnerships.

You must have specific consent to send promotional emails to personal email addresses. However you may send emails about similar products to your previous customers as long as they have been given the chance to opt out.

You can send promotional mail to people in their homes as long as the names and addresses have been obtained fairly. Individuals can opt out of receiving mail from you.

You can make live sales and marketing calls to numbers that have not been registered with the Telephone Preference Service. People can opt out of receiving calls from you. You must have specific consent to make marketing calls about claims management services or pension schemes. You need specific consent to make recorded marketing calls to any phone number.

You must have specific consent to send promotional texts to personal numbers. However you may send texts about similar products to your previous customers as long as they have been given the chance to opt out.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is responsible for the regulation of data protection, freedom of information and privacy and electronic communications in the UK. The ICO’s guide to direct marketing can be seen here: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/marketing/

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How To Sign Off Your Business Marketing eMail

While the Information Commissioner’s Office has given b2b marketers guidance on interpreting GDPR, it is up to email and digital marketers to put the guidance into practice.

Electric Marketing and all readers of this blog know that we must inform data subjects that they are included on our mailing lists, that they must be given an opportunity to opt out and that we must make our (compliant) privacy policy easily available. But there is no standard template on how marketers communicate this. So far, we all agree that it goes right at the end of the email and definitely beneath the call to action.

How much detail should we include on our marketing emails? Should we make our statement easy to understand or confound the reader with a paragraph of techy legalese?

Companies are solving this problem in different ways, most of them reflecting the types of people who work in their industry.

This one is edgy and pithy and comes from a trendy content and ideas agency

We know you and thought you’d be interested to hear from us.

I found this one from the security industry

We are sending you this email as you have signed up to receive information from us in the past or we have very good reason to believe our content is entirely relevant.

I like the use of ‘very good reason to believe’ and ‘entirely’. It has a nice echo of a constable presenting evidence in court.

Here’s one from a media company; it is short and easy to read. If there was a link to their privacy policy on the email, it would tick all the boxes.

Why are you contacting me? This email was sent to lists@electricmarketing.co.uk because we believe the content to be relevant to you in your professional or business capacity. We respect your privacy and you may unsubscribe at any time by clicking here.

This email from DXP, a techy phone system company, mangles the language but the technology is great.

To not receive further information regarding this click here. If you wish to read our privacy statement, click here.

It clicks through to a super tool where you can object to all the different Rights as defined by GDPR; Right to erasure, right to access, right to object to processing and right to restrict processing. Click the link for whatever it is that is riling you the most or if you are very cross, click all the links. But there is no link to their LIA. Shame! DXP continues with this statement which veers towards legalese but is pretty good.

We have processed your information based on our legitimate interest, and the legitimate interests of your place of work and owner of the domain we have contacted. You have been processed regarding work related matters and not a personal matter. Our legitimate interest does not in any way undermine your right to object, erasure, portability etc…

GDPR has not touched every company. These guys are still pushing out bland sales emails to 10,000 people with the warning that their message may contain ‘confidential information’. Really? Who puts ‘legally privileged info” in a marketing email?

This message is intended solely for the addressee and may contain confidential, proprietary or legally privileged information. If you have received this message in error, please notify us immediately by reply email and confirm that it has been removed and any hard copies made destroyed from your system. If you are not the named addressee this email and its contents must not be, copied, disclosed or otherwise used or distributed.

When I write a marketing email, the last thing I want is for the recipient to “remove and destroy” my email. I want you to forward it on to anyone who might be interested in buying mailing lists and spread the word that we’re open for business. This is out-of-touch, lazy email marketing. And it comes from a recruitment agency.

The ideal email sign off is one that keeps you within the law but does not encourage your data subject to unsubscribe. I’ll let you know when Electric Marketing uncovers the perfect formula.

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GDPR Six Months On: Business eMail Marketing Complies & Continues To Attract New Business For UK Corporates

The market for business mailing data and email marketing lists changed after May 2018. Marketing departments stepped back from buying cold email and mailing data for fear of tripping up over the new GDPR regulation.

But social media, blogs and vlogs do not pull in direct sales in quite the same way as email marketing. Marketing teams selling in to businesses are getting to know GDPR and looking beyond the scary headlines of last summer to discover that for b2b marketing, GDPR does not mean the end of great email marketing campaigns.

But there is a check list of key changes to run through before you hit send on an email marketing campaign to cold prospects.

1. As before, your business marketing email must contain an unsubscribe mechanism and if a prospect requests to be removed from your list, you must not email them again. Simply keep a file of the unsubscribed email addresses.

2. Emailing a bought in or cold email list means that you cannot contact sales prospects on the basis of consent for collecting and processing data: instead you must rely on the basis of legitimate interests. The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued guidelines which confirm that business-to-business direct marketing can be a legitimate interest. But a company must carry out a Legitimate Interests Assessment, make the Assessment available ie put it on your website and best practice dictates that you put a link to your assessment on your business marketing email. Or put a link to your company’s Privacy Policy which contains a link to your LIA: this is termed a ‘layered approach’ by the ICO. The layered approach means that you are not putting too many links into your marketing email and attracting the unwanted attention of email filters and blockers.

3. Your sales prospects have a Right To Be Informed that you hold their name on your mailing list. This can be incorporated into your statement at the end of your email which links to your Legitimate Interests Assessment or Privacy Policy. Electric Marketing’s sign off is currently

“As a GDPR compliant company, we would like to explain why you have received this email. We believe that you have a need for business marketing data within your business. We have identified your email address as being an appropriate point of contact within your organisation. This represents legitimate interest in line with the ICO’s guidance. Our Privacy Notice is available here

And finally, if your company is still worried by those scary headlines that we all read earlier this year about career-ending fines for non-compliance with GDPR, read the Information Commissioner’s blog where she states that issuing fines has been and always will be a last resort. If you slip up and are found to be non-compliant, the ICO will advise you of the changes that you need to make, maybe they will take enforcement action to commit your organisation to comply with GDPR. The ICO has the serial and wilful abusers of data protection in its sights. Companies which can show that they have made efforts to comply with GDPR are unlikely to be hit with financial penalties. 

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What Makes A B2B Mailing List GDPR Compliant?

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. It may seem obvious but the mailing list company itself must comply with the GDPR and must be registered with the ICO (every registered company has an ID issued by the ICO). GDPR compliance for marketing data companies insists that data must be stored in a secure environment.  Staff must be trained in the obligations GDPR places upon the company. The mailing list company must have a Data Protection Policy (internal company document), a Privacy Policy and a Legitimate Interests Assessment in place. If you cannot see the privacy policy and the Legitimate Interests Statement on the mailing list company’s website, you can ask to see them.

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.

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How To End Your Business Marketing eMail in the Post-GDPR age

Have You Invested In an eMailing List which is GDPR Compliant?

Have you remembered to change your email sign offs and to put links to your privacy policy and legitimate interests assesment in your marketing emails?

After the deluge of permissioning emails around GDPR, many people are acutely aware of which emails they have signed up to receive and which requests for permission they denied or ignored.

This means that slack marketers can no longer rely on the short memory of a target by writing something like this:

“You are receiving this email as you have subscribed in the past to receive information about our events. If you wish to update your email preferences or unsubscribe, please click the link below”.

Yes this statement is doing the right thing by offering an unsubscribe but post-GDPR this sort of email sign off is increasingly being called out by targets.

A little white lie claiming that the prospect is receiving emails because they have ‘previously signed up’ or ‘enquired in the past’ when the marketer bought in an email list and the company has no previous relationship with the data subject does not enhance your campaign. In the post-GDPR age, very few people are falling for this anymore.

Transparency is one of the key principles of GDPR.  We suggest that you follow the ICO recommendations of adopting a ‘layered approach’ to giving data subjects information about privacy and legitimate interests. Somewhere on your marketing email, you should state the reason for contacting the company under the terms of legitimate interests and you should provide a link to your privacy policy, which in turn has a link to your legitimate interests assessment.

I have seen this at the bottom of a few emails this month:

“This email was sent to you as a corporate subscriber within the meaning of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. Your personal data are protected under the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018. If you would like to know how and why you have received this message, please visit our information page.”

(Unfortunately the information page link clicks through to something that is blocked by my office spamblock, but I’d like to think it is a link to a Privacy Policy and a Legitimate Interests Assessment.)

Electric Marketing is signing off its emails with this:

“As a GDPR compliant company, we would like to explain why you have received this email. We believe that you have a need for business marketing data within your business. We have identified your email address as being an appropriate point of contact within your organisation. This represents legitimate interest in line with the ICO’s guidance. Our Privacy Notice is available here

Like the new regulation, our statement is a bit clunky but as we all get used to what GDPR means for business-to-business marketing, this will no doubt become shorter and snappier over time.

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GDPR: Do I Need Consent To Send B2B Marketing eMails?

Before the introduction of GDPR in May 2018, many companies emailed everyone on their client and prospect databases with a polite request (with a helping of desperate pleading) for consent from the data subjects to receive marketing emails.  But with reported response rates at below 10% and with “consent fatigue” running high well before the deadline, any company which sent an email threatening that the recipient would ‘never hear from us again’ is now looking at a much diminished marketing database.

But businesses marketing to other businesses do not have to rely on consent as a lawful basis to process personal data (ie use email addresses for marketing) . B2B marketers can use an alternative basis to process personal data; legitimate interests.

You can send business-to-business marketing emails on the basis that you have a Legitimate Interest in doing so. Before using Legitimate Interests as a reason for data processing and email marketing, you will need to carry out a Legitimate Interests Assessment.

LIA is a three part test assessing the purpose and necessity of your use of personal data and a test balancing your interest against the interests, rights and freedoms of the person whose data you are processing. After you have documented your LIA, you must then update your Privacy Policy to show that you are relying on Legitimate Interests as a basis for processing personal data.

Your third responsibility is to communicate that you are using Legitimate Interests to the data subject. We believe that this can be done by putting a statement at the end of every marketing email that you send stating something along the lines of

“As a GDPR compliant company, we would like to explain why you have received this email. We believe that you have a need for business-to-business marketing data within your business. From our research, or from information that you have provided, we have identified your email address as being an appropriate point of contact within your organisation. This represents legitimate interest in line with the ICO’s guidance.”

You can read the ICO’s guidance on Legitimate Interests.

All B2B marketers who are using bought-in email lists in eMarketing campaigns must carry out and document their Legitimate Interests Assessment.

Any mailing list or email list that you have bought from a mailing list company can only be used on the basis of Legitimate Interests after 25 May 2018. Consent is now only valid if the company using the data was mentioned at the time of data collection. Unless your mailing list was researched on your behalf and your company name was mentioned to the data subject, consent (or third-party opt-in) is not valid under the terms of GDPR.



This blog was first published on 17th May 2018 (pre-GDPR) and was updated on 14th August 2018.

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GDPR: Getting Your Mailing Lists Up-To-Date To Comply With GDPR

There has been a fair bit of scaremongering (and some unseemly profiteering on the back of scaremongering) surrounding GDPR.

If you are looking at files of old email addresses and wondering if you can continue to send business marketing emails, Electric Marketing’s data cleansing services can help you tidy up your b2b mailing lists and remove the records that are incorrect.

If you are unlucky enough to come to the attention of the ICO, the fact that you have taken steps to comply with the regulation that data must be up-to-date will stand you in good stead. The new regulation is clear that companies which fall foul of the new rules will be given guidance to put things right.

What the regulation does not specify is how up-to-date must your b2b data be? It does not define a time-frame for ‘up-to-date’. Given that data on large companies decays at a rate of 50% in each 12 months, Electric Marketing is working on the assumption that data that is more than a year old probably falls into the not up-to-date category. Our tests show that half of the records sold 12 months ago will now be incorrect in some way, be it a new postcode, changed phone number, new email address or change of person’s name or job title.

But the client who called Electric Marketing wondering if the data he bought in 2012 is ‘GDPR compliant’, the answer was a firm no, as you need to update it. However if you have kept your data up-to-date by calling the companies or verifying the data in some way, then yes you can still use your pre-2018 mailing lists. But you must comply with the new rules and use the mailing lists on the basis of legitimate interests.

If you have not kept your data files up-to-date consider using a data suppression file such as Electric Marketing’s Leavers Database to get rid of the egregious errors. It will be tricky to convince the ICO that your data is up-to-date if it includes defunct companies such as Monarch Airlines, Allied Domecq or Consignia. Or old London phone numbers beginning 0171.

If your data update process extends to suppressing the unsubscribes and removing the emails which bounce back, be aware that some servers do not automatically reject email addresses that are no longer valid. Your emails may be being forwarded and read by the replacement managing director. On the other hand they may be sitting unread on the target company’s email server, ready for an officious DPO to report you to the ICO for sending promotional emails to an email address that has been out of use for 2 years.

I feel I may have drifted into scaremongering myself there. But the new General Data Protection Regulation is insistent that data is current and it is a risk to store and use marketing data that has not been maintained.



This is blog was published on 15th May (pre-GDPR) and edited on 14th August 2018 (post GDPR).

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How Can You Continue To Use Your Bought-In Mailing Lists After GDPR?

If you buy business mailing lists and email lists, you can be forgiven for thinking that you can no longer use them since the arrival of GDPR on 25th May 2018, when the new General Data Protection Regulation came into force. Much has been written decrying this Data Protection Regulation update as the end of cold email marketing.  And it does herald some big changes, most notably the tightening up of how people consent to their personal data being used. But this does not rule out cold b2b email marketing or using bought-in business mailing lists to generate sales.

Since 25th May, for consent to be used as a lawful basis to process data (ie send b2b marketing emails) a person must actively consent for their data to be processed and used and the name of the company using the data must be mentioned at the time consent is given.  This means that mailing list companies can no longer sell data that is “fully opted-in”. To opt in, people have to opt in directly with the company using the data. Unless your company name was mentioned when the person’s email address was collected, you can no longer rely on consent as a reason to process personal data.

But consent is not the only reason to process personal data. There are six lawful bases for processing data in the Data Protection legislation. You need to show compliance with one reason. The most useful for business-to-business direct marketers and email marketers is known as Legitimate Interests.

Legitimate interests might be your own interests, or the interests of the third party receiving the data, or a combination of the two.

Latest guidance from the Information Commissioner says that legitimate interests may be the most appropriate basis when:

“the processing is not required by law but is of a clear benefit to you or others; there’s a limited privacy impact on the individual; the individual should reasonably expect you to use their data in that way; and you cannot, or do not want to, give the individual full upfront control (i.e. consent) or bother them with disruptive consent requests when they are unlikely to object to the processing.”

Crucially for marketers, direct marketing is described in the GDPR as an activity that may indicate a legitimate interest.

We’ve put together a guide on the simple steps you need to take to use legitimate interests as your reason to continue processing data and to continue using bought-in mailing lists for your email marketing.

Principally you need to carry out a simple legitimate interests assessment and document this assessment. Then update your Privacy Policy to state that you are relying on Legitimate Interests as a lawful basis on which to process personal data. And finally communicate that you are using Legitimate Interests to the people whose data you are processing.

Electric Marketing’s guide details how to do the legitimate interests assessment. And as an example we’ve put our own Legitimate Interests Assessment on our website.

Legitimate Interests is not a new concept and in fact, Electric Marketing has never relied on consent as a basis for collecting and processing data. What is new is that GDPR requires us all to document how we are using data and to communicate this to users and data subjects. Which on balance, seems quite reasonable.

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Smart Companies Focus On Total Reward Packages For Employees

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.

Electric Marketing has taken a break from GDPR to research a new mailing list of reward managers in the UK’s largest companies.

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.

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