Is anybody out there? Outbound marketing in a post-GDPR world
‘Could GDPR kill email marketing?’ some websites asked, ‘Email marketing is dead?!’ others decried. Some even feared for the future of sales and marketing as professions, following the GDPR.
In fact, the world didn’t end on the 25th May for us marketers, just like it didn’t end on the eve of the millennium, the predictions of Nostradamus or any of the other dates we’re told line up perfectly with the Mayan calendar.
But you wouldn’t have thought so – businesses panicked, consumers’ inboxes got flooded with more unwanted emails, and in all likelihood, businesses lost more subscribers, despite sending them emails designed to secure them for the long-term.
As the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) points out: ‘Many of the GDPR’s main concepts and principles are much the same as those in the current Data Protection Act (DPA).’ So, it’s possible that a lot of the activities around re-opting subscribers back in, as the Guardian points out, may have been not only not necessary, but potentially illegal itself.
The reality is that you don’t need to seek consent under GDPR, and you don’t anyone to opt in to your businesses’ marketing emails. Sure, it’s one way of doing it, but it’s not the only way – it’s just one of the SIX grounds.
Introducing Legitimate Interest, the hero of the day
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) points to article 6(1)F of the GDPR:
‘Processing will be lawful if it is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of Personal Data, in particular where the data subject is a child.’
Put in a simpler way: provided that you have contacts leads for whom your goods or services are of interest, you have considered and determined that the impact of your campaign is likely to be minimal on the recipients, AND you provide an opportunity to opt out of further communications, you are free to continue as you were.
If you’re still a bit confused as to where you stand, here is a good guide from the ICO on whether you can consider the use of legitimate interest for your campaign.
Hallejujah! Direct Marketing is alive and kicking after all!
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