Outbound Marketing Evolves in Response to Data Regulations




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Tim Gouw | unsplash

If something is a good thing, we want more of it. We push it to the max and then some.

Outbound marketing is a good thing. No, it’s a great thing. It’s so great, we do a whole lot of it. Marketers sent an average of 306 billion emails a day in 2020, according to Statista. Outbound marketing expands awareness, fills funnels and builds databases of people who might buy our products someday. 

A great thing pushed too far, however, becomes a bad thing. 

We pushed email marketing so far that over 20 states have introduced or passed statutes and bills designed to exert more control over unsolicited digital interactions, privacy, spam and wrongful disclosure. The goal is to put the individual in control of what data they share, how that data is used, and what type and from whom they receive digital communications. California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) and Virginia’s HB 2307 Consumer Data Protection Act are representative of the laws being adopted around the country. And while U.S. laws aren’t currently the most restrictive in the world, they are moving in the direction of Canada’s CASL and the EU’s GDPR.

The new laws require individuals to give explicit permission to receive your email and digital interactions. We are not talking about routine communications between customers and their business parties. Rather, unsolicited emails from companies you do not know or are not doing business with which promote products, services or offers that are not relevant to you.

Under the laws, individuals who live in these jurisdictions have the right to file a complaint about any email or digital interaction they feel violates a law or for which they not did give expressed consent. As in the case of California CPRA, many regulations require brands to obtain explicit permission from individuals before companies can collect and use their data for digital ads and interactions. At any time, individuals can request a company delete the data it has on them, even if they gave prior consent. Companies must comply and prove compliance.

How Outbound Marketing Is Shifting

Have you noticed how websites and landing pages require you provide consent before signing up for a webinar, access promoted content or navigate their website? These digital ‘front doors’ provide the opportunities for businesses to secure explicit consent. 

The impact of these regulations is forcing a rethink of outbound marketing strategies and investment mix. Progressive companies have gotten ahead of compliance by implementing privacy/spam policies to comply with the most stringent legislation across the regions they do business in. Some of the changes to their marketing strategy and investment mix include:

  • Build branded communities into long-term assets.
  • Invest in customer marketing as an expansion strategy.
  • Include proof of compliance clauses in marketing and sales agency contracts.
  • Shift from push- to pull-marketing with highly tailored, cross-channel engagement. 
  • Expand reach through ecosystems of partners, alliances, industry associations etc. 
  • Implement a publisher model that aligns syndicated content with micro-moments. 
  • Restart direct mail, customer councils/communities, commissioned studies, etc.

The impact is significant for any brands that have wrapped the bulk of their demand generation around email and equipping sales development reps with purchased or scraped phone numbers and email addresses. In the future, these tactics will lead to violations of which the price tag can be steep – just look at the penalties for GDPR and Canada’s CASL. 

Related Article: Data Privacy Regulations: Marketing Symptom, Setback and Solution

Redesigning Marketing: Let Go of Those Old, Bad Habits

To start redesigning demand generation, shift your mindset from “knocking on a prospect’s door” to “having the buyer invite you in when they see you on the street.” It isn’t as hard as folks claim. What is hard is letting go of decades-old habits.

Flip the marketing model on its head. Instead of thinking about TOFU, MOFU and BOFU campaigns, identify what buyers’ target outcomes are for each journey stage and what they look for to achieve them.

The five steps to redesigning marketing are:

  1. Develop deep, rich customer journey insights and value definition
  2. Identify actionable key micro-moments for each persona/target segment.
  3. Align content, assets, programs and channels to micro-moments
  4. Make engagement sticky through value-based community relationships.
  5. Optimize engagement with precision marketing and buyer-driven omnichannel technology 

We’ve been saying the customer is in charge for over a decade now. Beyond defining their journey and experience expectations, customers have wanted to control their data for a long time.

The growing number of privacy and anti-spam legislation speeds up the need to ground marketing from the customer’s perspective. The real win, beyond regulatory compliance, is that first-person databases enable customer-insight-led engagement, a much more effective marketing model. First-party data will become a balance sheet asset and competitive differentiator. Second- and third-party data will lose value as their implied consent model does not comply with the growing body of law. 

Remember, it’s not about you knocking on doors. A(u)nti Spam and Uncle Privacy want the buyer to invite you into their house. The path to get there is through communities and content for which buyers will grant you explicit consent to interact. 

Related Article: Now You See Me, Now You Don’t: Navigating the Cookie-less World

Christine Crandell is President of New Business Strategies, a customer alignment consulting firm. She is a recognized practitioner, speaker and author with clients in high technology, services and discrete manufacturing that are driving growth by becoming customer-centric.





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Outbound Marketing Evolves in Response to Data Regulations

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