B2B Marketing in a Post-GDPR World

GDPR Kicking in

Marketers in almost every business, in any industry, across the world, have had their realities upside-down. Coming into effect just 3 months ago, The EU’s new GDPR legislation has thrown everyone for a loop.


Marketers are now scrambling to simultaneously ensure their marketing techniques fall within these new regulations, (the high stakes of failing to comply were widely covered), while also attempting to save their customer and prospect databases that are now fading due to the privacy hype.

The bottom line is that for most B2B businesses is a complete revolution of how data is collected, stored, and processed. This is far from just an IT or a legal issue. Arguably, this new regulation has the greatest impact on marketing and sales.

Targeted Marketing is already taking a hit

While consumer marketing is certainly affected by these new laws, it pales in comparison to the changes B2B marketers must now make.
B2B companies are already limited in the number of truly effective marketing channels in their arsenal. Targeted marketing, which has previously proved to be almost twice as effective as non-targeted advertising efforts, has suffered the most significant setback under GDPR.

Email Marketing:
One study found B2B companies spend 60% of their marketing budget on this top direct marketing channel, previously predicted to become a $22b industry by 2025.
However, due to GDPR regulation that now requires active and specific consent, email marketers stand to lose up to 80% of their marketing lists. The reason? Previously captured emails with pre-ticked boxes and generic consent just don’t cut it anymore, and people just aren’t signing back up. This channel may suffer a tremendous loss – and it’s not the only one.

Referral Programs:
Often times, as a promotional strategy, companies will grant special offers to individuals if they refer another person or company to their business.

Under GDPR, it is now considered illegal to gather personal info, like email addresses, without the explicit consent of that party. For this reason, referral programs are facing an incredible threat. A channel that once offered up to a 400% increase in likelihood of purchase, is now spiraling out of usefulness for B2B marketers.

Digital marketing: Digital marketing encompasses everything from content marketing to paid advertisements. These strategically created marketing pieces are then blasted across content recommendation platforms such as Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

GDPR has explicitly placed a ban on automated decision-making without a specific user consent. This means that companies can no longer apply algorithms to analyze previously gathered personal info to drive targeted marketing initiatives . As a result, European companies are projected to lose €66 billion in sales.

With so many channels under fire from GDPR, the question remains; where should B2B marketers focus their efforts?


Stayed tuned for Part 2 that answers this question!