Countdown To GDPR – Eight Days To Go. How To Deal With Low Response Rates To Emails Requesting Consent?

GDPR is almost here and the emails coming in asking for consent to send marketing emails after 25th May are overwhelming inboxes everywhere. “Consent fatigue”  © Information Commissioner’s Office is setting in.

Many companies have chosen to confirm consent to receive marketing emails before 25 May. But with reported response rates at below 10%, 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.  At this point it is worth remembering that

    1. GDPR starts next Friday. You still have one week to gather more consents.
    2. Re-mails work. Try sending a gentle follow up email along the lines of ‘you might have missed our last email’ to add a few more consents to your email database.

But if your campaign for consent to receive emails after 25th May remains disappointing, businesses marketing to other businesses can use an alternative lawful basis to process personal data (ie use email addresses for marketing); 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 should probably carry out and document their Legitimate Interests Assessment before next Friday.

Any mailing list or email list that you have bought from a mailing list company will 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 is not valid after 25th May.

Integrated security services provider First Response Group has taken over Robinsons M & E (RME) to create a £25m turnover group. RME is a Harrogate-based boiler, air conditioning and electrical installation firm that has recently completed contracts including a £1.3m care home for The Fisher Care Group and a £1.7m work for The University of Leeds via Sewell Construction and Henry Boot. FRG has eight branches nationwide and a turnover of £15m.

Transportation software engineering company RTS Solutions has been acquired by AIM-listed software developer Petards. Based in Leeds, RTS Solutions delivers web-based, real-time safety critical applications primarily for Network Rail and its Tier 1 contractors.

International private equity firm Cinven has announced that it is buying JLA, a leading critical asset supply and services business in the UK. Headquartered in Ripponden, JLA provides commercial laundry, catering and heating solutions to more than 25,000 SMEs. Founded in 1973, the company employs around 900 people, including roughly 300 engineers. HgCapital has made a five-fold return with its sale.

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 after 25 May, 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 after 25 May, 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 in April 2017 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 in last week wondering if the data he bought in 2012 was ‘GDPR compliant’, the answer is 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-2017 mailing lists.

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 contains company names such as Monarch Airlines, Allied Domecq and Consignia. Or 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.

 

EU Fire & Security has been sold to Newbury Investments, a Berkshire-based holding company with a turnover of roughly £600m. Founded 15 years ago, the fire alarm distributor is based in Rochdale, employs 25 people and turns over more than £12m.

UK digital signage business Onelan has been bought by US cybersecurity technology business Uniguest. Uniguest specialises in the secure operating system space, offering solutions to drive consumer engagement in the hospitality, office retail and community living industries. The deal will strengthen Onelan’s US presence with the support of Uniguest’s 180-strong team and 75-person call centre while in return broadening Uniguest’s product portfolio. Onelan will continue to operate from its Reading headquarters for the foreseeable future.

Arthur J. Gallagher has acquired Risk Services (NW), a regional insurance broker catering to corporate and commercial clients. The business will continue to operate from its current location in Chester overseen by Stephen Penketh, Regional MD for Gallagher’s North-West UK retail property/casualty brokerage operations.

Hill & Smith has acquired American safety products manufacturer Work Area Protection Corp (WAPCO) for £31m. Based in Shirley, Hill & Smith is a global provider of infrastructure products and galvanising services with a number of major road infrastructure contracts. WAPCO produces a wide range of products including variable message signs, smart work zone systems and traffic control products such as cones.

Property consultancies Hanson Chartered Surveyors and Walker Singleton have agreed to merge. The deal brings together 66 employees and over 160 years’ experience of developments across Yorkshire.

First Response Group acquires Robinsons M & E

Integrated security services provider First Response Group has taken over Robinsons M & E (RME) to create a £25m turnover group. RME is a Harrogate-based boiler, air conditioning and electrical installation firm that has recently completed contracts including a £1.3m care home for The Fisher Care Group and a £1.7m work for The University of Leeds via Sewell Construction and Henry Boot. FRG has eight branches nationwide and a turnover of £15m.

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Petards seals £1.5m deal for RTS Solutions

Transportation software engineering company RTS Solutions has been acquired by AIM-listed software developer Petards. Based in Leeds, RTS Solutions delivers web-based, real-time safety critical applications primarily for Network Rail and its Tier 1 contractors.

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HgCapital sells JLA to Cinven

International private equity firm Cinven has announced that it is buying JLA, a leading critical asset supply and services business in the UK. Headquartered in Ripponden, JLA provides commercial laundry, catering and heating solutions to more than 25,000 SMEs. Founded in 1973, the company employs around 900 people, including roughly 300 engineers. HgCapital has made a five-fold return with its sale.

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Newbury Investments acquires EU Fire & Security

EU Fire & Security has been sold to Newbury Investments, a Berkshire-based holding company with a turnover of roughly £600m. Founded 15 years ago, the fire alarm distributor is based in Rochdale, employs 25 people and turns over more than £12m.

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Uniguest buys UK digital signage business Onelan

UK digital signage business Onelan has been bought by US cybersecurity technology business Uniguest. Uniguest specialises in the secure operating system space, offering solutions to drive consumer engagement in the hospitality, office retail and community living industries. The deal will strengthen Onelan’s US presence with the support of Uniguest’s 180-strong team and 75-person call centre while in return broadening Uniguest’s product portfolio. Onelan will continue to operate from its Reading headquarters for the foreseeable future.

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Arthur J. Gallagher acquires Risk Services (NW)

Arthur J. Gallagher has acquired Risk Services (NW), a regional insurance broker catering to corporate and commercial clients. The business will continue to operate from its current location in Chester overseen by Stephen Penketh, Regional MD for Gallagher’s North-West UK retail property/casualty brokerage operations.

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Hill & Smith buys WAPCO for £31m

Hill & Smith has acquired American safety products manufacturer Work Area Protection Corp (WAPCO) for £31m. Based in Shirley, Hill & Smith is a global provider of infrastructure products and galvanising services with a number of major road infrastructure contracts. WAPCO produces a wide range of products including variable message signs, smart work zone systems and traffic control products such as cones.

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Yorkshire property consultancies agree merger

Property consultancies Hanson Chartered Surveyors and Walker Singleton have agreed to merge. The deal brings together 66 employees and over 160 years’ experience of developments across Yorkshire.

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Groupon takes over Vouchercloud and Giftcloud

Deals and discounts website Groupon has acquired Cloud Savings Company, the owner of Vouchercloud and Giftcloud. The deal, with an enterprise value of $65m, allows Groupon to expand its international online discount code and loyalty programs. Cloud Savings Company operates in 11 countries, primarily the UK, and has more than 5 million subscribers. Based in Bristol, the business employs more than 100 people.

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Lexon UK acquires 11 pharmacies with Vittoria takeover

Pharmaceutical wholesaler Lexon UK has purchased retail pharmacy chain Vittoria Healthcare. The deal adds 11 pharmacies to Lexon’s portfolio, allowing the wholesaler to extend its reach to the North West and Wales. With this acquisition the business now owns 67 pharmacies across the UK. Lexon supplies to over 1,800 independent pharmacies across the UK and Ireland.

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