B2B escapes brush with death after EU opt-in U-turn

EU buildingBusiness to business marketers who have been spending the past week or so wondering if they will still have a company come May 2018, can breathe a collective sigh of relief; fears that the ePrivacy Directive update would effectively put them out of business have proved unfounded.
Over the Christmas period, it was revealed that the European Commission was being decidedly unfestive by planning to make all B2B electronic marketing opt-in only; a measure the DMA warned would have dire consequences for the sector.
The changes, which Brussels plans to have completed before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May 2018, would have meant that any marketer wanting to email corporate employees would require opt-in consent, a huge challenge for the marketing industry, the DMA insisted.
But now Brussels has published its “official text” which drops this measure like stone, instead it states that B2B marketers must ensure corporate employees are able to easily object to receiving direct marketing. However, consent will still be needed to send electronic marketing to consumers.
It is also being changed from a “directive”, which enables member states to decide which parts to adopt, to a “regulation”, which applies equally to all countries in the EU.
However, member states will need to create their own domestic legislation allowing voice-to-voice unsolicited telemarketing calls. If they do not then opt-in consent would be needed. The DMA insists it will be lobbying to ensure that the UK maintains its opt-out approach to telemarketing.
DMA managing director Rachel Aldighieri said: “If the [original proposals] had gone ahead, these alterations to the law could have had a profound and negative effect on the UK economy, so we welcome the announcement from the European Commission. The DMA will continue to lobby the EU Parliament and Council to ensure that these rules for B2B marketers are maintained in the final text. We will be working closely with our European partners at Fedma to achieve this and continue to protect the B2B marketing sector that is so vitally important to the UK economy.”
Once the final text is published, the EU Council of Ministers and the EU Parliament will have their chance to review the text and could make amendments.

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