New regulations about using people's data come in on May 25th
An important piece of data protection legislation comes into force on May 25th this year. It is called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and is meant to clarify and amend the existing data protection regulations from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
In a nutshell, it means that people have a right to be informed when they submit any data (for example signing up for a newsletter on a website), what it is being used for, not having it given to any other organisation without consent, and the right to be removed from the database.
Ross MacRae, of creative database BikiniLists, has done plenty of research into how the GDPR will affect businesses: “I’ve spent the last year looking into how this will affect BikiniLists and our clients. I’ve consulted the ICO, I’ve spoken to my MEP, I’ve read countless GDPR articles and spoken to many customers and prospects...There’s a lot of fake news and mis-information out there.”
He suggests that the GDPR will not really affect those businesses who already use best practice when it comes to acquiring and using customer data. Ross continues, “Essentially there is little difference between the existing guidelines and GDPR.”
Here is an extract from the ICO’s own GDPR Direct Marketing Checklist:
Business-to-business, companies and corporate bodies
- Can email or text corporate bodies
- Good practice to offer opt out
- Individual employees of corporate bodies can opt out
The important phrases here are : "B2B", "Corporate Bodies" and "OPT OUT".
So am I allowed to send email campaigns to potential customers or not?
As a Freelancer or a Limited Company you may send email marketing campaigns and/or direct emails to people at companies as long as:
1. You offer a mechanism to opt out and stop if they do - No change there : )
2. You are promoting goods or services relevant to their industry. - No change there : )
3. You are attempting to make a sale. Not propagandising. - No change there either : )
The change to the existing legislation is that you can’t send marketing emails to individuals (and now sole traders count as individuals), without getting their prior consent. So for B2C marketing you need to make clear how their data is being used, and make sure they can remove themselves from this marketing, which includes all sorts of promotions, from emails, to direct mails and telephone sales as well as face-to-face interactions – for example when you buy something you are often asked for your email now.
Further information and guidance is available from the ICO: https://ico.org.uk
Julian Jackson is Wandsworth Chamber’s blogger, whose interests encompass technology, cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the environment, as well as photography and film. His portfolio is here:
https://julianj.journoportfolio.com www.brightgreenpr.co.uk www.bitcoin-consultancy.co.uk