A DPO’s Guide to GDPR & Email Marketing Consent

In the aftermath of the Covid 19 pandemic, there remains a significant gap between businesses and their customers – making direct marketing more critical than ever in cultivating lucrative B2B and B2C connections.

The word “direct marketing” refers to any advertising or marketing aimed at individuals. It includes emails, texts, phone calls, posts, and direct messages on social media. These tactics promote an organization’s services and goods or its purposes and principles. But, it does not apply to service messages for administrative or customer services. Due to the broad definition of direct marketing, most organizations are likely to engage in it.

Data protection services have progressed from an afterthought to a fundamental need for any organization that processes personal data. It has been like that since the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulations (EU GDPR) in 2016.

Now that the United Kingdom has opted to leave the European Union, it must follow new data protection laws. The organization that manages the personal data of UK individuals must follow the General data protection regulation and the Data Protection Act of 2018.

Data protection laws seek to offer individuals better privacy rights by allowing them a variety of autonomy. It includes the right to know how organizations use their data and access the processed information about them. In some instances, to also have it deleted.

Data protection rules also attempt to guarantee that corporations secure the personal data that they process.

In addition to the rights of persons, the UK GDPR and DPA impose extra limits and requirements on their use of personal data. The following seven basic principles are heeding the guidelines:

  • Transparency and fairness in the law
  • Limitation of purpose
  • Minimization of data
  • Accuracy
  • Storage constraint
  • Integrity and discretion
  • Accountability

Although showing compliance with these principles would almost certainly require significant time and financial expenditure, the cost of non-compliance will almost certainly be far more difficult to stomach.

The Price of Non-Compliance

The GDPR in the United Kingdom has a two-tiered penalty scheme. 

For a less significant violation of the UK GDPR, you might face a punishment of up to €10 million or 2% of your annual sales. 

In the case of a more significant offense, the fine could reach up to €20 million, or 4% of your annual turnover. 

Fines for data breaches are on the upper end of the scale, but extra expenses incurred by post-breach remediation and litigation if the data subjects affected take legal action.

Failure to comply might also earn your company a reputation for mishandling its clients’ personal information, which can be challenging to overcome. Businesses, on the other hand, can improve their reputation. Corporations protect their employees’ and clients’ data by complying and preventing any enforcement actions or penalties.

What Impact does GDPR have on Marketing?

There are novel and intriguing ways that direct marketing functions. But there are clear limits established by UK data protection legislation. These rules limit how one can guarantee individuals’ data protection rights maintenance.

Personal data is similar to any other process where direct marketing must show compliance with the UK GDPR. Moreover, there must be an excellent law-abiding motivation to process anyone’s data. You must ensure that you are securely protecting your data and delete it after you have completed processing it. Additionally, it is crucial to comply with individual rights by providing them autonomy by informing them and enabling them to submit rights requests.  

GDPR-Compliant Email Marketing

According to a study done by the Data and Marketing Association (DMA) in 2021, email is the most popular channel used by businesses to promote to their customers, and with good reason. According to similar research on customer opinions, more than 70% of consumers believe that email is the best channel for organizations to reach them. The value of email marketing to organizations is thus enormous, with marketers expecting a £38 return on investment for every £1 spent on email marketing!

GDPR marketing checklist

The following questions can help you to evaluate if you are working under the designated rules for direct marketing set by the UK GDPR, DPA, and PECR:

  • Are you sending messages to B2B or B2C?
  • If you chose B2B, have you conducted LIA, an assessment to demonstrate that your processing does not favor any rights or interests?
  • Have you attained valid consent if it is B2B?
  • Are you keeping a record of every consent?
  • Is there a simple way for users to revoke or withdraw their consent to your marketing messages?
  • Are you satisfied that the recipients are already active prospects or customers, that the products/services promoted are relevant, and that they have been allowed to opt-out if you rely on soft opt-in?

The Last word

In short, the GDPR requires firms to be transparent and honest so that consumers are better informed. Moreover, to give them a better say over what happens to their data. 

It is dependent on companies taking the appropriate procedures to ensure compliance with the rule.

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