What GDPR Means for Email Marketing


SmartFocus,a responsive messaging platform, has produced a white paper, IMPROVING CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT, Through Time-Based Email Targeting,that will help any marketer who sends out emails contend with the new European data rules.

SmartFocus analysed 1.4 billion marketing emails, based on aggregated, anonymized data from major UK-based retailers. The findings shed new light on the best times to contact different categories of customer (age and gender) and how to minimize the number of people unsubscribing from email newsletters and other marketing.


When are the best times to email your customers? Which days and hours of the day are they most likely to open and read your marketing? Does the age and gender of your customers influence when they’re more likely to engage with your business?

With less than three months before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes UK law, these questions are more important than ever. The GDPR will introduce stricter rules about how businesses use consumers’ personal data. Under the new rules, which are due to apply in in the UK from May 25, consumers in the European Union (EU) must give explicit consent for businesses to use their personal data.

Consumers must “opt in” to receive marketing messages (newsletters, special ofers, email and SMS text messages). If a business has been slapdash in obtaining permission to send individuals marketing information and process their personal information, they may need to ask their permission again, or risk breaking the GDPR.

Businesses that relied on pre-ticked boxes on forms or “goldfish bowls” of business cards at
conferences for getting consumers’ consent to receive marketing, are likely to breach the GDPR. That could mean being fined up to four per cent of annual global turnover, or €20 million (about £18 million). Plus, there’s the hard to quantify cost of damage to their company’s reputation if the fine is reported in the media. The stakes are higher.
Companies’ databases of customer details are likely to shrink when the GDPR starts. How can marketers do more with less, by minimizing the number of consumers who unsubscribe from marketing communication? How can they better engage with those remaining on the list?

In an age where single percentage points make the diference between profit and loss for a
retailer or any major brand name, how can marketers improve their most important marketing tool: the email marketing campaign?



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