B2B Email Marketing European Legislation
Celsius International, 2012
B2B Email Marketing European Legislation White Paper
Across Europe today, the sending of electronic communications is regulated by Article 13 of the 2003 European Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications. However, for email marketing specifically, the “country of reception” principle applies – this means that the law of the country of the recipient of an email applies, even when the sender is situated abroad. Since at national level laws on data protection vary widely, this makes planning and executing crossborder email campaigns covering a number of European countries very complex.
Another challenge faces B2B marketers specifically - laws on B2B email marketing are often vague, with many grey areas where it’s difficult to find clear direction. Some countries have now specifically stated that (the often stricter) B2C regulations apply to B2B email marketing. In addition, some countries will have rules about message content, others consider whether an opt-in is necessary on the basis of the volume of the campaign and some also require an opt-in for “generic”, firstname.lastname@example.org email addresses!
The following table (see pdf) aims to summarise the main items of interest to a B2B marketer wishing to run cross-border European email campaigns: Informed consent:
When collecting data, the data controller has to inform the subject of a variety of items: the types of data being processed, the purpose of the processing, the specific recipients in the event of a data transfer, the rights to withdraw consent, etc. Informed consent means that the data subject has to give firm, unambiguous consent (ticking a box, for example) for his or her data to be collected, processed, stored and transferred. Opt-in:
This is where it is compulsory for the recipient of an email marketing campaign to have given prior consent to receiving direct marketing messages via their email address. For many countries (like Germany), the sender of the email has to be able to provide an objective evidence that he received the consent of the recipient. In those cases it is recommended to obtain a “double opt-in” – collect the data consent via telephone and confirm with a click on an email for example.Opt-out:
In this instance, a prior opt-in is not necessary, but the identity of the sender must be clear and the email must provide a valid address to which opt-out requests can be sent. Soft opt-in:
In most countries a “soft opt-in” is available when the recipient’s email address has been collected in the context of a sale of a product or a service and the company uses the email address for direct marketing of similar products or services. A clear and easy optout facility must be included in all such communications. Compulsory unsubscribe link:
Although some countries do not specifically require this (and these countries are now very few in number), it is good practice to always include an opt-out facility in every marketing communication sent via email.
To access the pdf click, B2B Email Marketing European Legislation