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GDPR for Business: Does GDPR Mean the End of Outbound Marketing?

Lee Lummis

  • 11 Sep

Sales, Inbound, GDPR

GDPR for Business- Does GDPR mean the end of outbound marketing.pngInbound marketing has been nipping at the heels of outbound marketing's interruptive tactics for years. In so many tangible ways, it has surpassed it: for cost, reliability, and brand trust, most importantly.

Here at Luminate Digital, we’ve come to think that for the European marketplace, the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, set to become law in 25 May 2018) might not just give inbound marketing an even bigger lead on outbound - it may have killed it off.

To be sure, we want to examine if there is a sound GDPR outbound practice available.

In our latest instalment of the GDPR Business series, we investigate three central pieces of GDPR and examine the relationship with outbound and inbound marketing tactics.

The Increased Costs of Opting In

The primary focus of the new regulation out of Brussels concerns the rights of the individual. That means that it’s the right of the consumer to be protected, to opt in or opt out, and even to explicitly ask data controllers and processors to forget about them.

As a result, companies need to recognise what lawful conditions they need to adhere to when they determine their compliance policy.

The Impact of Consent

Outbound marketing has long been the home of direct marketing and (in some digital formats), the data purchase list. In effect, it was something that has been allowed to thrive under the jurisdiction of the Data Protection Act, a UK-only regulation that forced EU lobbyists to act.

A good illustration of why outbound is dated lies with purchased data lists. The advent of GDPR has presented a rapidly closing window for the viability of this intrusively collected contact information. That’s because these contacts haven’t even opted into their specific communication from your company and often not consented to a specific contact method, instead, they may have accidentally agreed to a general marketing consent.

GDPR will prevent this by forcing companies to have explicit consent and have this consent recorded. The consent must be gathered via a double opt-in process and the consent only applies to the specific contact method, so bye bye calling someone who has consented to emails or vice versa.

By contrast, inbound marketing has always been on the right side of these regulations. In order for outbound marketers to comply with the regulations, it is reasonable to assume that the costs of gathering this consent are going to significantly increase. It is also difficult to envisage such a tough consent process that does not rely on some form of inbound marketing in the first place.

It is going to be interesting to see how outbound marketers can respond to the challenge of collecting and evidencing the new consent thresholds.

The End of Business Cards?

Ever done any event marketing? Lots of firms have.

Often at events or networking days, the standard process would be to collect as many business cards as possible, add these to your CRM and then start contacting these companies. GDPR will prevent this due to the requirement to have evidenced consent to contact a data subject by a particular method. A business card does not equal consent to email or call.

Under GDPR, you need to be able to prove that consent was given by the name on that card. You may know they want to talk, they may want to talk. But unless you’ve got the trail marked out to confirm that they want to hear from you, it’s all for nought.

Why GDPR Impacts ALL Marketing

With outbound marketing and GDPR, perception is influencing reality.

On the whole, both inbound and outbound approaches are affected profoundly by this approach in terms of how they market. But for outbound, the significance of the business model is greater. Data lists, as we talked about earlier, will only be viable in the current forms until May 2018.  

To do outbound effectively going forward, you will need to precede this with inbound marketing tactics to obtain the relevant consent.  

Don’t misunderstand - you can still collect data; you just need to sharpen your mechanisms to control and process it. Many companies who rely solely on inbound marketing are still going to have to review their processes so GDPR will change all marketing. That said, the changes to inbound are much less both in terms of process and costs.

The end of Outbound?

Where there is a will there is a way, so we don’t expect outbound marketing to disappear overnight. While we believe in inbound, it would be silly to rule out outbound marketing tactics altogether.

So long as direct marketers change their philosophy and find effective ways to comply with the new regulation, outbound can still exist. However, for proponents of inbound marketing like ourselves we view GDPR as an opportunity and not the restriction it could be viewed by many.

As for what your business can do in the face of GDPR, take the first steps by downloading the official GDPR Toolkit for Businesses today.

Download your all-in-one toolkit to prepare for the upcoming GDPR changes.

Prefer to speak to someone? Book a free consultation regarding inbound marketing, growth-driven web design and GDPR with one of our in-house experts today.

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