Brexit -- It's Business As Usual For Email And GDPR Compliance

There is only one story playing out today in the EU, and only one real question EU email marketers will be pondering. Unfortunately, nobody can be entirely sure on what comes next because a Brexit vote in the UK puts us in uncharted waters.

However, it would be folly for UK email marketers to put off plans to ensure that lists are compliant with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) because no matter what happens, it is inevitable that any lists compiles within any part of the current EU will need to still be able to be used in the years to come. Regardless of whether the UK joins the European Economic Area (EEA) or draws up some other form of a free trade agreement, email lists will need to be compliant across the EU. This not only makes sense for the owner of the list but for the EU itself. It's highly unlikely that it would allow a member nation to leave and still have free trade with the EU free from providing the same data protection rules that apply elsewhere. 

So for the UK, it's business as usual while a new trade agreement with the EU is established. For the rest of the EU, email marketers are hardly going to draw up an email list where British identities are singled out for less protection because it is obviously far more straightforward to apply the GDPR across all EU and UK lists. So, it's business as usual for marketers in mainland Europe also.

That means the process of re-permissioning lists cannot be put off. The feedback I'm getting from British brands is that they are waiting for the UK regulator, the ICO, to give concrete guidelines on the new Regulation. The good news is that its huge fines do not come into being for nearly another two years, so there is still a considerable amount of time to get it right. The guiding principles will be all people you store information on must have given their free, unambiguous and informed consent for each use you put that data to. No mission creep of adding contacts to new lists for sister brands or new newsletters and no assuming that just because a b2b contact hasn't asked to come of a list they joined through a card drop at a conference, they still want to be contacted.

It will be tough, hard work, and lists will shrink. That was the case yesterday and it's still the case today. If you want to be emailing customers and prospects it's best to carry on drawing up a strategy to comply with GDPR regardless of this morning's shock referendum result.

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