Make no bones about it Privacy and Consent are now the biggest buzzwords in Direct Marketing. Cut to frantic scenes in compliance and marketing departments across the UK trying to figure out what the best approach is to take...
Is it a question of damned if you do and damned if you don't?
But before we all start ripping up marketing techniques that have been tried and tested over the last twenty years (since Data Protection Act of 1998 and 2003's PECR), let's start with performing a simple test on how you treat marketing communications with prospects and customers by applying 'The Granny Test':
Put yourselves in the shoes of your granny and think how she would feel if she received the latest DM pack, email or phone-call as part of a direct-marketing campaign. You'll get one of two answers:
She's worried/concerned/surprised to hear from the brand
She understands the reason for contact and accept/ignores or declines the offer
Of course, eliciting answer No.2 means you've probably got the correct consent/opt-in whilst respecting her privacy. Anything else, means you have to go back down the mine and work out why your granny doesn't understand the reason for contact.
Best practice is no longer an aspiration but the absolute minimum for direct marketing post GDPR. GDPR sounds onerous (it is in terms of administration!) but does attempt to crystalise how everyone would prefer to be contacted via marketing channels. Compliance can no longer be seen as a barrier, but another way to enable better marketing results through fairer legal means.
From personal experience, recent conversations with client brands have resurfaced some age old questions around consent, opt-in and privacy. Actually it is now easier to answer those questions with a stricter ICO interpretation of data laws using GDPR.
One such dilemma is 'Should we use company name or brand name opt-in statement? On the face of it, the benefits of a company wide opt-in are obvious, offering multiple brand opt-ins and total communication flexibility. However caution must be urged - do your prospects/customers most commonly associate with the brand or the company? Apply the 'Granny Test' and you'll quickly get the answer you need! Under GDPR using a company opt-in to send marketing comms from a brand a prospect is unfamiliar with, is likely to suffer the wrath of the ICO as you will need to prove that the original opt-in consent scope is tight enough to allow this type of brand contact.
It seems only yesterday that pressure on companies to get serious about consent was at breaking point but looking back to 2015 the red flags were flying and highlighted (in no subtle terms) in a previous blog How to fix Direct Marketing Biggest Problem
2018 will be the year of reckoning for all those in the Direct Marketing game, so spend 2017 huddling together to solve your Consent / Privacy dilemmas, before the ICO (painfully) solves it for you.