Electric Marketing Blog
Proposed EU Regulation on Data Protection will affect all businesses using mailing or email lists to prospect for new customers
We’ve been lobbying against the proposed new EU data protection legislation for getting on for two years now.
Earlier in 2014 the EU Parliament agreed a piece of draconian legislation that would outlaw list broking, insist on written consent for all marketing communications sent to a named person, with no distinction between b2b and b2c, and effectively finish off personalised marketing to anyone other than your recent customers. If that legislation were enacted it would mean the end of direct marketing as we know it. We will return to the days of writing to Dear Marketing Manager or Dear Stationery Buyer.
Following this vote there have been some alarmist blogs placed on the DMA’s website which have stirred the small business community into panic. Here’s one from June
However the reality is that the EU is still debating what form the legislation will take and what that legislation will be. The European Parliament has voted for this legislation but that does not mean that it will become law.
The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers have now all drafted three different versions of the proposed data protection regulation. The European Parliament draft is by far the most damaging for anyone who uses mailing or email lists to prospect for new customers. The three bodies will enter into negotiations as to which elements of each version will become EU law.
There are two types of EU legislation;
1. EU Regulation which obliges all countries to enact the legislation without amendment
2. EU Directive which has to be debated and passed through the UK Parliament at Westminster and to which amendments can be made.
The current UK Government is pushing for the laws to become a Directive, which will give UK MPs some leeway to alter the legislation as it applies to the UK.
It should be borne in mind that the UK amended the last similar piece of EU legislation (a Directive) with the Electronic Communications Act specifically allowing the sending of B2B emails in the UK without the sender first obtaining consent.
The UK coalition government opposes the proposals and is lobbying for them to be a Directive at the very worst. Unfortunately the Labour party is currently in favour of the proposals and has not replied to any of our letters on the subject.
As things stand we have at least two years until the law is changed.
If your company buys in data to use to prospect for new customers, please write to your MP, explaining what the proposed legislation will mean for you. Also write to Simon Hughes MP who is in charge of the UK negotiation with the EU. The more letters MPs receive, the more attention will be paid to the issue and it becomes less likely that the UK sleepwalks into agreeing to legislation that is damaging for business.
The time to write to your MEP has passed as the vote has happened and most UK MEPs (bar UKIP) voted in favour of the new draconian data laws. But it is always worth explaining to an MEP the consequences of their vote and the effect it will have on your business, our industry and the wider economy.Leave a Reply
Trigger Marketing for B2B Marketers: Tie Your Marketing Communications Into Key Events In A Company’s Life
As anyone who has ever done cold-calling and appointment setting will tell you, it is difficult to penetrate the mind-set of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. How can you sell into a company which is embedded with another supplier? Sometimes you just get lucky and your cold call hits the buyer when there is trouble with the existing supplier – a price rise, a delayed job – and the buyer is in the mood to make a change.
You can increase your new business success rate by contacting companies when they are likely to be hiring new suppliers.
We’ve identified a company merger or acquisition as being a key moment in a corporate’s life for hiring new suppliers.
When a company buys or merges with another company, it triggers a change in its purchasing habits. It may buy in services to help it cope with the challenge of merging or absorbing the new corporation. The company may not have all the experience it needs to deal with new issues the merger is throwing up. This is when it looks to outsource and when, by being in the right place at the right time, you can win business.
As well as being timely, you can make your communication relevant to the prospect. You can grab their interest in the first line by talking about their company’s situation. Instead of presenting your excellent credentials, you can explain how your company’s expertise can help them; either by removing a problem from their in-tray or by taking their business forward.
Electric Marketing tracks merger and acquisition activity in M&A News. M&A News isn’t just a list of mergers and acquisitions; it gives you contact details for the key personnel in the companies involved so that you can make your pitch at a time when the company is in a state of flux and momentous change.
M&A News focuses on the people who are likely to be buying in services: chief executive, marketing director, HR director, finance director, IT director and legal director. At just £145 for 12 datafiles, one every month for a year, it is the cheapest information for trigger marketing campaigns available. See M&A News for details.
There’s more about trigger marketing on Electric Marketing’s websiteLeave a Reply
Yes they are all big brands with a solid British heritage, but they are no longer in British hands. All of these brands have received major investment from Asia and are majority Asian-owned.
If you can see a business opportunity targeting companies with overseas parent companies, Electric Marketing now offers mailing lists with email addresses sorted by nationality of parent company.
We have lists of companies operating in the UK owned by Chinese, French, German, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Scandinavian, South Korean and US companies. The lists don’t just feature British brands but brands from those countries with a market presence in the UK such as EDF (France), BMW (Germany), Honda (Japan) and Samsung (South Korea),
We don’t believe any other UK mailing list company offers this as a selection criteria.
The mailing lists are ideal for any company focusing its marketing efforts on multinational corporations; from international marketing and advertising agencies to multilingual market research teams, from translation agencies, international relocation agents and business language training schools to companies offering legal advice on visa and immigration issues.
As with all Electric Marketing mailing lists, all data has been checked within the last 4 months by calling the companies and checking that the information we have is spelt correctly and is up-to-date.
See how many contacts we have for each country or region and order your lists on these pages. There is no extra charge for using this marker as a selection criteria.
Are you interested in companies from other nations? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put your chosen country at the top of our research list and get back to you within the week with a quote.Leave a Reply
For 30 years the UK Government has pursued a policy of attracting inward investment. From the Nissan factory in Sunderland to the new owners of Land Rover (Indian car maker Tata Motors) and owners of Ribena and Lucozade (Japanese Suntory), overseas companies have invested heavily in UK manufacturing.
In recent years House of Fraser has sold an 89% stake to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower before coming back under UK ownership, while high streets host overseas retailers Muji and Uniqlo (Japan), Zara and Mango (Spain) and H&M (Sweden). Wind back to the 1980s and the high street looked quite different.
Each company that comes to the UK to do business brings its own culture, language and ways of working. If your company offers services to overseas companies in the UK or if you can offer a particular understanding of a nation’s culture and sensibility, you might want to target companies by the nationality of their parent company.
This week, we’re adding a new marker to our mailing and email lists; you can now select companies by country of origin. So far we can offer companies who originate from or whose parent company is based in Japan
But we’ll be adding India, China, South Africa, Brazil and USA plus any other country of origin for which there is client demand. Just email Robert at electricmarketing.co.uk with the nation which interests you.
These lists are ideal for business language schools, translation services, visa and immigration lawyers, international relocation advisers and M&A advisers or any company that wishes to target companies whose parent company is not based in the UK.
If you are using these mailing lists, it is best not to specify a turnover band or number of employees limit. Mostly these companies do not publish annual sales for the UK only or give details of employee numbers country by country. Their annual reports feature Europe-wide or even worldwide sales figures which we don’t record.
Suffice to say that if a Japanese, US, Chinese or Indian company is in the UK, it is a big company with budget to spend and worthy of your marketing team’s attention.Leave a Reply
Spot the odd one out: SW SE NW NE WC EC
A young graduate was given the job of appointment setting for the marketing director who wanted to ‘touch base with our London clients’ and have a few lunches in Soho. The Cambridge graduate selects a list of London clients using these postcodes and gets down to making the phone calls. He makes four appointments and proudly hands the marketing director the lunching schedule.
“Newcastle! Why am I spending Thursday afternoon in Newcastle!” yells the director.
Rest of team sniggers; the trainee assumed that if London has postcodes for South West, North West and South East, it also has one for North East London. It doesn’t – NE1 is the postcode for central Newcastle.
If you’ve put the time in selecting your mailing lists by postcode, you probably have a postcode map of your local area in your head. But if not, here’s a link to the Electric Marketing postcode map, for you to bookmark www.electricmarketing.co.uk/map.html
Selecting mailing lists by postcode may seem laborious and nerdy, but it does save time and budget if you are buying data for a campaign inviting people to an event. Admit to yourself that however triumphant your breakfast seminar, few executives from Exeter will make the trip to Manchester for breakfast. So don’t bother mailing or emailing them. Save your budget, look at the postcode map and only invite companies from within a certain radius. You don’t need to get into numbered postcode districts for business marketing – that really is nerdy – using the first letters of the postcode is usually enough. You won’t send out as many invitations, but your response rate will be more impressive and you will save budget on data, print and postage or ebroadcasting.
For (almost impartial) advice on buying and selecting mailing lists, see our guide How To Buy Mailing Lists For Email & Telemarketing Campaigns
I have always accepted the industry standard that business-to-business data decays at a rate of 30% a year and good sceptic that I am, assumed that the data industry was talking this up to encourage repeat orders.
Last week, we were pricing a list research project for a client and we happened to put this to the test.
We took a data file from June 2013, ran the exact same search again, compared the two files and found that 50% of the records had changed. Whether this was companies moving offices, email address changes, new phone numbers and most often, people switching jobs, we found that over the course of a year, this file of Electric Marketing data had decayed at a rate of 50%. Can’t be right (there’s that sceptic again), so we tested another, larger file of data. Same result. We tested a third file. Same result.
Why are we so far off the industry standard?
Theory One: the industry standard has not been tested since before the dawn of email. Email addresses are changed more frequently than postal addresses and these are pushing the rate of decay up from 30% to 50%. This was my first thought but I reckon that our more profit-focused competitors will have tested their rate of data decay within the last 12 years and I assume found no change in the rate of 30% data decay.
Theory Two: The focus of Electric Marketing email data is on large, dynamic businesses where staff are promoted and switch jobs more frequently; where merger and acquisition activity makes for more office moves, company name changes and email address changes. Dynamic companies where change is frequent make good sales prospects as they are receptive to new ideas and changing suppliers.
Theory Three: 30% is an industry average which would include all the micro-businesses employing under 5 people. They are characterised by people setting up a business and running it for 30 years until they retire; change in these businesses runs at a slower pace – they may still be dynamic businesses but the contact details for the MD are likely to remain static for longer periods. These small businesses are not included on Electric Marketing’s datafile.
Theory Four: The changes to our data included all the new managers and directors we had added to the data file over the year. Our cycle of updating and researching new names is more aggressive than other data providers.
So the bad news is that if you bought a file of data from Electric Marketing in summer 2013, half of it is probably incorrect. And this likely applies to any data you hold on large businesses.
If you’d like to fix this, Electric Marketing offers 50% discount on any list which you have bought within the last 12 months. But if you are reading this thinking about buying new data, consider our LeadStream service where we alert you to changes in email addresses on your datafile and send you new contacts that we’ve added to your datafile every month. See http://www.electricmarketing.co.uk/leadstream.htmlLeave a Reply
It is not hard to find a business which has had a bad experience of buying an email list. And there are plenty of bloggers who preach building your own email list organically by getting people to sign up on your website. This is good eMarketing practice but building a sizeable list of clients, prospects and interested parties can take years.
If you aren’t sure whether buying an email list is right for your company, ask yourself if your business fits into any of these categories.
Your business is a new start up with a handful of happy customers and you want to find more customers. Quickly.
Your business is an established business which has surplus stock or unexpected spare capacity to take on new work.
Your business is looking at expanding into new markets eg a conference company runs events on HR issues is moving sideways into conferences on health & safety. The company sells places at the new conference to its existing client base of HR managers and wants to tell health & safety managers about the conference too. The company buys list of email addresses of health and safety managers.
Your business has ambitious growth targets and wants to expand. Companies which use email marketing lists include Google, IBM, HP, Oracle, Dell, Fujitsu.
Email lists and mailing lists are essential for businesses which want to attract new customers. For a small business or a start up, email marketing is the cheapest way to tell more people about your business.
You need not buy a million email addresses and overload yourself and your email server. Email marketing, like direct marketing* can be done in small, manageable chunks. A good email list provider will not insist that you buy the entire list at once. You can start out with a campaign to 500 or 1,000 email addresses. Take it steady while you learn what sort of emails work for your business and your marketplace.
If you have not bought email lists before, read our handy guide to the basics of sourcing an email list from a reliable company and avoiding the email list cowboys.
*for younger readers, direct marketing was widely practised in the last century and involved marketing using leaflets, envelopes and postage stamps.
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The European Parliament has voted to adopt the less business-friendly version of the Data Protection Regulation, proposed by the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) in the November 2013 report.Leave a Reply
The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers have now all drafted different versions of the proposed data protection regulation.
Europe’s Justice and Home Affairs ministers failed to reach an agreement on the draft legislation at their Council meeting in December 2013.
The Greek government has taken the chair of the Presidency of the EU Council and hopes to thrash out an agreement on the wording of the new legislation by summer 2014. If this happens it is possible that the new regulations could be agreed in 2014 and become law in 2017.
What impact will these changes have on your business? See http://www.electricmarketing.co.uk/EUdata.htmlLeave a Reply
We wrote to a variety of MEPs, MPs, government ministers, other politicians and business organisations.
Here are summaries of their responses:
Charles Tannock MEP, Conservative – no response yet
Claude Moraes MEP, Labour – no response yet
Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Liberal Democrat – I am seeking to create an instrument with standards that are workable, realistic and enforceable by being user-friendly for citizens, allowing reasonable business to proceed, focused on outcomes rather than on process and tick-box exercise, and tough in sanctions on companies which practise deception or otherwise cheat the customer.
Dr Syed Kamall MEP, Conservative – The regulations must protect the privacy of citizens without putting too much of a burden on small and medium sized businesses. There is still a long way to go but we are optimistic a good result can be achieved.
Gerard Batten MEP, UK Independence Party – All legislation affecting citizens of the UK should be made at Westminster. I will therefore be voting against these regulations.
Jean Lambert MEP, Green – no response yet
Mary Honeyball MEP, Labour – I do not sit on the committees considering this matter. [BUT SHE DOES GET TO VOTE ON IT]
Marina Yannakoudakis MEP, Conservative – The regulations must protect the privacy of citizens without putting too much of a burden on small and medium sized businesses. There is still a long way to go but we are optimistic a good result can be achieved.
David Cameron, Prime Minister – It’s the responsibility of the Business Secretary, so I’ve passed your letter to Vince Cable.
Vince Cable, Business Secretary – Letter passed to the Ministry of Justice.
Lord McNally, Justice Minister, Liberal Democrat – We want to protect the civil liberties of individuals while allowing for economic growth and innovation. The UK benefits of the proposals are outweighed by the costs of additional administrative and compliance measures they introduce. The regulations in their current form could have a net cost to the UK economy of £100m-£360m per annum. The Government’s position is to negotiate for EU legislation that does not impose disproportionate burdens on business, including the direct marketing industry.
Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Opposition – Your comments have been noted.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London – I have no input to this. Try writing to the Direct Marketing Association.
Chuka Umunna, Shadow Business Secretary – no response yet
Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister – no response yet
Institute of Directors – We are working on forming a policy position around the incoming legislation.
Federation of Small Businesses – We agree that the new rules will have a devastating effect on the direct marketing industry and are working hard to have them changed.Leave a Reply