Without doubt, marketing your product or service in the current business world is a minefield.
There are those that bombard their targets with ‘war-dialed’ automated telephone calls, unsolicited emails and even postal junk mail.
Others buy lists from reputable sources and undertake a more personable and friendly approach.
Yet others still, try to draw information from their networks and contacts and aim to undertake a warmer introduction to their wares. We try to fall into this group….
Problem with Marketing
Marketing is an essential part of building and growing your business. Years of abuse, under weak legislation, has made us all sick of spam and nuisance phone calls. So, Social networks became key in growing audiences and contacts, which is now becoming a wall of ads, suggested content, fake news and trolls.
Add to this mix, the new General Data Protection Regulation, which will soon be encapsulated in a new UK Data Protection Act and becomes enforceable in May 2018. This set of laws will severely affect what many businesses use as a basis for their sales funnel.
It all tends to centre around the appropriate ‘consent’ you have to use personal data for the purpose you want to use it for. If you collected a person’s name and email address for sending them gardening tips, then you cannot use that same consent to send them cooking recipes. If you’re too vague in saying what you’re planning to do with the information, then you are not open and transparent. If someone who receives a communication they didn’t expect or want, then they can complain to the regulator. BOOM!
So what if you run down a list of attendees at a seminar and connect with them on LinkedIn – is that ok? Did the attendees consent to that list being shared and used for that purpose? Whose problem is that?
Another one, what if you go to your Chamber of Commerce and find a list of members with contact details – can you use that to contact them? If not, what is their purpose? Who needs to take action? We did this in trying to raise awareness of GDPR in our business community and upset a few people… we stopped.
And the answer is…
Truth is, there is no guidance on any of this, yet. Those that have tested the waters trying to clean their contact lists have fallen fowl of the ICOs scrutiny, even under the current Data Protection Rules – and still no help to say what is an acceptable approach to becoming legal.
Suffice to say, all will try, many will fail and some will excel… but how will they do it?