What are the new rules and how will they affect your new business strategy?

You’re probably reading this because you’ve heard about GDPR, and you’re not totally sure how it will affect your agency’s business development strategy and lead generation.

Well, we’ve scoured over 40 articles, reports and official documents, and we’ve got to say, when it comes to B2B prospecting, it’s not 100% black and white. The fact that the official line has already shifted over the last year means we’ll have to keep an eye on things as 2018 rolls around. Even B2B Marketing says “with fewer than 12 months to go until it is enacted there is still much interpretation and advice to be provided by regulators.”

Nevertheless, here’s the picture as we see it today.









What is GDPR?

GDPR (General data protection regulation) comes into play on 25th May 2018 and is essentially an update to previous data protection laws which are now deemed to be out of date in our digital world. There will be tighter restrictions and more transparency required regarding how companies use and store people’s personal data.

  • GDPR will apply to and protect all EU & UK citizens (regardless of Brexit).
  • Organisations are responsible for protecting data from hackers.
  • Fines for data breaches will be up to €20m or 4% of global turnover, whichever is higher.

GDPR sets out six lawful grounds on which you can use people’s personal data:

  • Consent
  • Contractual
  • Legal obligation
  • Vital interests
  • Public task
  • Legitimate interests
When it comes to B2C, brands will have to confirm that consumers have given unambiguous consent to be contacted.

Brands will no longer be able to hide data consent within lengthy T&Cs or provide an opt-out tick box. Instead they will have to get specific and unambiguous consent.

How will this affect agency new business, lead generation and marketing?

The good news is that B2B direct marketing, undertaken in a targeted manner, will still be allowed. If you feel someone should have a legitimate interest in what you are contacting them about (based on their job title for example), GDPR does not restrict you from reaching out to them or cold calling them. Your agency new business team can continue to contact and market to employees of corporate organisations by email, telephone and direct mail as long as they offer an opt out.

The official line from the Direct Marketing Association:

“When dealing with employees of corporates (limited companies, LLPs, partnerships in Scotland and government departments) the rules for telephone and direct mail are the same, opt-out. 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.”

The most important actions for all agencies relating to their own new business activities:
  1. Be more targeted! One to one comms, made relevant to a particular individual will be the safest approach. Not to mention also giving your agency a better chance of cutting through and showing the brand why you would be a great match for them.
  1. If anyone asks to not be contacted again, by phone or email, this must be clearly logged and respected. If you engage with a new business agency, you will need to supply them with this list.
  1. Cleanse your data. If you send mass marketing emails from your agency, ensure these are only going to relevant contacts.
  1. If you would like to add a prospect to your database for broader/less specific marketing (eg. your newsletter) – ask them. Asking verbally is fine. Just make sure you record their positive response in your CRM system.
  1. Don’t have a CRM system? If you undertake new business outreach or marketing for your agency, it’s time to look into how you will log anyone who gives permission for future contact, and more importantly, who requests no more contact. The solution could be an excel or an online platform. It is your responsibility to ensure the contact details you hold for clients and prospects are kept safe.
  1. Improve the quality of your marketing and be wary of sending out poor quality comms. Once someone has asked to unsubscribe, you won’t be allowed a second chance to pro-actively engage with them via any channel.
  1. Make sure any mass marketing emails have a clear unsubscribe option.
Examples of how brands are tackling GDPR:

The lifeboat charity RNLI has recently shifted all of its direct marketing to a model whereby it only contacts individuals if they have expressly given permission for the charity to do so. That is in contrast to the standard ‘opt-out’ system used in the charity industry where anyone that has engaged with or donated to the charity is automatically added to their database unless they expressly opt out.

The RNLI says this strategy shift will have a significant impact on its ability to fundraise, predicting that it will result in a £35.6m loss of income over the next five years.

Despite this, the charity sees the move as a future-proofing strategy, as they found that direct marketing wasn’t appealing to the younger consumers critical to its future. The charity will now move its marketing spend away from DM to focus on other channels including digital, social media and content.

In a similar vein, Wetherspoons recently deleted it’s database of 70,000 consumer email addresses.

“We felt, on balance, that we would rather not hold even email addresses for customers. The less customer information we have, which now is almost none, then the less risk associated with data.”

Similar to the RNLI, Wetherspoons will instead communicate all promotions and brand news via social media, where explicit consent has already been given and recorded by each platform.

These dramatic actions show that brands are taking the new legislation seriously, and B2B SMEs should be equally cautious.

What next?

If you’d like to speak to The Future Factory about how we carry out bespoke and highly targeted lead generation and help our clients win millions of pounds of new business every year, please contact johanna.mossling@thefuturefactory.co.uk

If you’d be interested in a 1 hour workshop on New Business & Marketing Data Best Practice, please contact harry.mccreanor@thefuturefactory.co.uk

And lastly if you’d be interested in attending one of our training courses on Agency Marketing Strategy and Implementation, please contact kimi.gilbert@thefuturefactory.co.uk

Please note that this blog cannot be considered legal advice. We would advise you to seek out certified legal advice prior to GDPR becoming UK law.