We’ve posted before about the lack of clarity regarding B2B marketing and the GDPR; it’s been a thorn in our side for many months. But, after months in limbo, we’re delighted to say that in December the DMA issued a statement, which appears to reassure those of us involved in direct marketing that common sense has prevailed and it is business as usual!
The distinction between personal and business-related data has been clarified. It has been recognised that there is a clear delineation between B2C and B2B audiences. We wholeheartedly agree that intrusive marketing on a personal, B2C level is unwarranted and unwanted and legislation is required to deal with this unsavoury element of direct marketing. However, we are grateful that B2B direct marketing has now been recognised as a legitimate approach. Direct marketing agencies can continue to market to employees of corporate organisations by email, telephone, direct mail or sms as long as they offer an opt out.
To quote the DMA:
“The only difference between B2C and B2B marketers now is in connection with email and text marketing to employees of corporate organisations. When dealing with sole traders or partnerships, the rules governing B2C marketing will apply to B2B marketers so the general position for email and sms will be that you will need opt-in consent. For telephone and direct mail, you need to offer an opt-out.
When dealing with employees of corporates, that is limited companies, LLPs, partnerships in Scotland and government departments, the rules for telephone and direct mail are the same, opt-out.
However, when emailing or texting, you do not need the prior consent/opt-in from the individual. You can therefore send them a marketing email/text as long as you provide an easy way to opt-out of future communications from you.
For any B2B marketing communications, regardless of channel, the content must be about products and/or services that are relevant to the recipients’ job role.
This situation will not change under GDPR.”
All of this comes with a caveat; what the future of B2B marketing and the GDPR will really look like depends on what shape the ICO consent guidance takes and what the revised ePrivacy Directive looks like.
Watch this space!