Direct marketing and data protection in B2B

B2B marketing with high efficiency

25 May marks the fifth anniversary of the introduction of the GDPR. After a two-year transition period and three years of entry into force, many companies are still uncertain about how marketers can promote their own marketing in compliance with the GDPR and find new customers. We show you how to comply with the GDPR and still successfully convince many new customers.


What does the GDPR mean for B2B marketing?

The significantly stronger regulation of data storage and the processing of customer-related data has caused uncertainty since the introduction of the GDPR. This applies both to companies that target end customers and to companies that focus on the B2B segment.

This article deals with the framework conditions and rules for companies operating in the B2B sector. As a B2B data specialist, we have developed concepts and systems for GDPR-compliant data management and offer our customers products and solutions that all comply with the GDPR. If you would like to acquire new customers in a DSGVO-compliant manner, then take a look at our Address-Shop over.


B2B direct marketing is easier than many companies think

With direct marketing you can systematically develop new customers or even entire customer groups. Via the corresponding service providers, you can call up addresses and mailing lists that correspond to your predefined selection specifications and individual target groups, taking into account the German Data Protection Act (DSGVO). In this way, you receive a large number of B2B addresses to contact potential customers directly and efficiently.

With direct marketing, you benefit from the following elements:

  • You will receive verified and optimally prepared data.
  • The data records can be selected according to different criteria.
  • Mailing lists and addresses with different focuses.
  • Easy direct contact to potential customers with presumably high interest.

A prerequisite for successful direct marketing is that both your company and the service provider take the GDPR into account in the process.


Which regulations of the GDPR are particularly relevant for the B2B sector?

Basically, a distinction is made between the storage and processing of data. The following requirements apply to the processing of personal data and are listed in Art. 6 (1) DSGVO. In order to be allowed to process personal data as a company, the following must apply an of the following conditions must be met:

  • You have given consent for them to process the personal data, e.g. through a double opt-in.
  • You are in a contractual relationship or need to process personal data in order to fulfil pre-contractual or contractual measures, e.g. to prepare an offer.
  • The processing is made necessary by another legal basis, e.g. the safeguarding of invoices for 10 years.
  • The processing of personal data is in the public interest or is vital for the data subject.

Another condition for GDPR compliant data processing is under letter f of Article 6 and forms the essential legal basis for direct marketing:

Art. 6 para. 1 lit. f DSGVO explicitly clarifies that the processing of data is lawful if it is "necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests of the controller or of a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require the protection of personal data ... " and mentions in recital 47 GDPR the purposes of direct marketing explicitly as a legitimate interest.


This is how data protection-compliant data processing succeeds

After you have clarified the conditions regarding DSGVO-compliant data processing, you should, when storing personal data, comply with the information obligation in accordance with Article 14 GDPR respectively Article 13 DSGVO (if the personal data was collected directly from the data subject). This means that you are obliged to inform the person whose personal data you want to store in your CRM system.

You must inform your customers when personal data is processed.

In everyday life, this means that you do not, for example, import mailing lists directly into your CRM system, but only record the response received to your marketing campaign. In this case, you must inform the responders in advance about the storage in your CRM system. The communication channel must be chosen according to the consent given. In this case, we recommend a cross-media call-to-action to obtain a digital double opt-in.


Direct marketing is allowed! How are you allowed to address potential buyers?

Efficient customer approach via e-mail marketing

Email marketing does not require any significant investment in production and postage and is very popular for this reason. However, this form of addressing customers explicitly requires an opt-in, even in the B2B sector. You may not send an email to a person without consent - regardless of whether it is a private person or a person in a professional environment (UWG §7 para. 2 sentence 1).

Address prospects directly through telemarketing

In principle, the performance of telemarketing in the B2B area is also still permitted, but requires the following legal basis: you can presume a presumed interest.
This is only possible if the services are specific to the industry or profession. Offers that are similar to private offers do not fulfil this requirement. A blanket assessment must be avoided at all costs. We recommend checking this condition on a case-by-case basis.

Furthermore, the called party must be informed about their data protection rights, in particular their right to object. This could, for example, be pointed out in the telephone call.

In contrast to this, addressing by mailing as explained above is possible without any problems. Mailings have the advantage that they are personal and generate special attention due to the rarity factor. In contrast, there is a kind of digital fatigue due to frequent newsletter and email floods. In the face of this digital omnipresence, mailings enable haptic experiences, ensure attention and offer their recipients a lasting customer experience.


Conclusion: GDPR and B2B marketing are not mutually exclusive

If you as a company want to win new customers in B2B, the consideration of DGSVO regulations is unavoidable. Nevertheless, direct marketing offers enormous potential to approach customers in different ways. Through direct marketing measures, you can effectively increase the number of your customers and also address a broad target group with targeted marketing campaigns.

For more information we can download the detailed DSGVO guide from DDV (fee required for non-members).

Here you will find the FAQ and further information on the DSGVO-compliant handling of B2B data.

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Author Michael Färbinger

Senior Key Account Manager

My clients optimise their Sales, dialogue and marketing campaigns with precise B2B target group selections, market and database analyses. 

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