It’s been three months since GDPR came into effect, yet organisations are still sending out marketing emails to individuals who have not opted-in. ‘Legitimate interest’, the loophole that businesses everywhere are using to continue outbound marketing, has been a saviour for marketing teams. Unbeknownst to many, however, that loophole is about to be closed for good.
Sitting alongside the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR, a new business acronym, PECR, will crack down on the ambiguity surrounding legitimate interest and provide an update on website cookie laws. PECR, which stands for the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, is expected to come into force in early 2019, and will prevent marketers from legally being allowed to contact any individual without prior consent. Simple as that.
Needless to say, when this new European Directive comes into effect, the implications for businesses across Europe will be huge, with marketing as we know it effectively ceasing to exist. Similar to GDPR, non-compliant companies will risk both a £500,000 fine as well as reputational damage – no small price to pay for any organisation.
The Changing Face of Marcomms
PECR is not simply a clampdown on unsolicited email communication, however, with the impending legislation being applied just as much to calls and text messages. In fact, all marketing by electronic means will be affected, with PECR also introducing more stringent rules around data privacy and security. According to the ICO, the only industries likely to be exempt from PECR are national security companies and law enforcement — so yes, HMRC will still be able to chase you for tax contributions regardless of whether or not you opted in.With this in mind, what will the marketing landscape look like next year?
Invest in Inbound
So, although outbound marketing in Europe will come with greater restrictions than it has before, marketers do have other options. Inbound marketing practices such as PR, social media, blogging, PPC and SEO will likely provide a saving grace for marketers who still need to demonstrate their business value and ability to generate leads.The fact is, these legislations put the buyer in control of the whole seller-buyer relationship. With 94% B2B buyers researching online first, it is becoming more about searchability, recommendations and intelligent algorithms and tools.