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Monday, 5 November 2018 by Peter Bell

Change everything you know about Database Marketing

Everything has changed... nothing has changed...


When you were first schooled in digital marketing, GDPR was not even a twinkle in the eye of the ICO regulator. Therefore much of your mindset is possibly entrenched in an outdated mode of marketing thinking. Which is why, to some extent, weve seen a proliferation of GDPR Gurus come to save us from the big bad ICO.

But in a way, the fundamentals of marketing consent and consumer privacy have not shifted that much at all, especially for those ethical marketers. Its just that now we have strict rules which means marketers that sail too close to the wind in terms of what they think they can get away now risk their company being liquidated under the weight of a 4% turnover fine by the ICO. If you were ever in doubt about how to market to consumers fairly, you cant go too far wrong by applying the Granny Test.

Over the past few months, weve experienced a seismic shift of Trumpian proportions in the marketing space with one-off events such as:


  • Repermission emails landing in inboxes of bewildered consumers everywhere
  • Massive consumer database deletions
  • 3rd party marketing databases all but shrivelled up


However, now the digital dust has settled on a cleaner marketing landscape, its time to look long-term on how to integrate, or even better embrace the underlying principles of GDPR.

Here is a handy checklist to structure your new GDPR friendly marketing thinking - its out with the old and in with the new:


Maybe you can come up with some more changes to add to the list. Or perhaps you disagree?

Let me know in the comments below...

Friday, 27 April 2018 by Peter Bell

We need to talk about 'Repermissioning Emails' before it's too late!

Repermissioning is where:

"brands seek to gain new marketing consent from their database because they believe their existing consent may fall foul of the new definition of lawful consent under GDPR."


Repermissionsing wasnt even a thing a few months ago and now consumers are being bombarded with emails (can you see the irony here?) asking them to re-opt-in to brand marketing communications they think theyre already opted in to.

Confused? Yes, you should be because marketers are in a terrible pickle about what to do and what not to do under GDPR consent guidelines.

This lack of absolute clarity has resulted in a plethora of marketing jargon being spewed at unsuspecting customers through the power of email. 15 of the best and baddest examples of repermission emails are brilliantly put together by Ben Davis @herrhuld 

I am sure this is an unintended consequence of GDPR and the ICOs interpretations in creating a catch 22 where brands ask for permission to send emails in an email they have permission to send. The intricacies about why this could be necessary is lost on consumers who havent the foggiest idea what its all about.

Here are five examples of why marketers feel a repermissioning email must be sent:

  • 3rd party consent - gained through a 3rd party where you are unsure that consent was unambiguous and freely given.
  • Non-explicit consent - the style, wording, channel and reason for opt-in is not explicit enough for a consumer to make an informed decision
  • Bundled consent - gained through an opt-in which was used for non-marketing purposes where the consumer could be unaware of resulting marketing communications
  • Old consent - by its very nature, people may have forgotten if they consented and it may be difficult for either the brand or the customer to prove either way.
  • Legitimate interest consent - whereas before this would be a common sense judgement now under GDPR, legitimate interest is a test that must be passed before you can market to customers fairly using legitimate interest as your opt-in statement. 

The worry is that as this problem is primarily a marketers one, consumers will fail to respond in the numbers necessary (think 5-10% response) which means repermissioning (unless absolutely necessary, see 5 examples above) is a GIGANTIC risk to any organisation that wants to continue marketing to their database.

At least 90% of 1st party data is at risk of being obsolete 

through email repermissioning


On the 25th May, many in direct marketing will be waking up the fact that they can only see 10% of their database to market to! Imagine trying to catch a ball using a single finger instead of both hands?

Therefore post repremissioning, brands need to think about ways to repopulate and grow their database quickly through...

  • Site overlay with data capture
  • Push notifications through site and app
  • Opt-in ads - via sign-up sites 

 ... to withstand the looming danger of 2018 becoming the annus horribilis of data marketing.

Thursday, 15 February 2018 by Peter Bell

It's time for Direct Marketing to adopt a Data Privacy Seal

GDPR: Data Privacy Seal
With the imminent arrival of GDPR and consumer concern about their data at an all time high isnt it time for the marketing industry to produce a Data Privacy Seal? 

The current situation is unsustainable, chiefly because of:

  • Bewildering array of opt-in/out-out design on webforms
  • Bewildering array of super long privacy policies which are often indeciphereable
  • Bewildering array of interpretations of what constitutes safe data handling

No wonder consumers are bewildered when marketing experts are still struggling to get their head around this. Understanding GDPR is one thing, implementing it is another.

This time is now for the industry to come together to produce a uniform standard consumer facing brand to safe collection, processing and storing of consumer data.

An industry created Data Privacy Badge means it could be added to all webforms (anywhere where data is collected). This will give:

  • Confidence to consumers their data wont be sold and will be used properly in line with GDPR. 
  • Confidence to marketers that they are collecting and using data properly
  • Confidence to the ICO that companies are seeking to comply and prefer to use a widely agreed version rather than try to interpret meanings from GDPR

The online advertising industry adopted the widely recognised AdChoices (for Personalisation) programme years ago, the direct marketing industry (which cant exist without data) version is long overdue.

The direct marketing world can only function with the permission of its audience, Today that permission can be rescinded at any point more easily than ever. The answer is to gain long term trust from consumers all over again.

A Data Privacy badge backed by an agreed set of rules means a UK wide Privacy Policy can be adopted by all companies collecting data which the public can actually understand and trust. Stop and imagine that for a second - a standard Privacy Policy that all companies can link to and which everyone understands AND more importantly everyone TRUSTS!)

GDPR should only be seen as a kick start to the process of making consumers feel safe when using their data to infinity and beyond...