Unlike many marketing people I’ve spoken to, I’ve been a long-time fan of the GDPR rules that came into force last year. The rules brought with them larger fines which encouraged many firms I know to pay attention to and take seriously data protection rules for the first time. As a result many businesses came out of 2018 with smaller databases but much better customer experiences than they went in. Marketers in particular were incentivised to grow the value of the content that they sent out so that customers would want to opt-in to receiving them.
So I welcome the news of a new ePrivacy Regulation to replace the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations due in the middle of next year. This one deals with how personal information is used to contact customers and prospects and will impact B2B marketers more than B2C (the principal target for GDPR).
On the current timeline from summer 2020, B2B marketers will need opt-in to e-mail, text, and telephone business contacts and prospects. Cookies are likely to be controlled and blocked at browser level to prevent tracking of internet users.
This is good news for good data protection practice and customer experience and B2B marketing should embrace it. Like GDPR, the regulation is a welcome opportunity for marketers to re-establish direct relations with their customers and prospects. Good B2B marketing is relationship-based and marketers would do well to remember that. If a customer does not want our communications, we have no relationship. The rights of the customer are and should be king and technology should not be allowed to erode that. Customer profiling without proper consent is simply not fair. Nor is the murky sharing of customer data with secondary organisations. It’s time that the marketing profession properly cleaned up its act.
The only downside in my view is that we are looking at another data protection change quite soon after the last one. I can’t help thinking that it would have been better to deliver two changes at the same time.
Dave is an experienced global B2B Chief Marketing Officer / Marketing Director with an established reputation for delivering commercial results in start-up, mid-tier, and blue-chip businesses across technology, and business services and professional services sectors.
Dave has worked for major brands such as Telefonica O2, EY, and Barclays and held posts from Chief Marketing Officer to Director of Online, has run his own business, and managed a P&L for a major corporate. He is chair and co-founder of the Business Marketing Club (www.businessmarketingclub.org.uk) - a network of B2B marketers. In 2019, he was named one of the top 100 B2B European marketing leaders (https://www.hottopics.ht/34199/top-100-b2b-european-marketing-leaders-2019/). He is a graduate of Cambridge University, a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Chartered Marketer and holds a MBA with Imperial College, London. Dave is a keen cyclist and adventure traveller, is married, and lives in Buckinghamshire. You can read his blogs at www.DaveStevensNow.com.