Obtaining permission to send marketing communications to your customers is a legal requirement, and for many organisations, a commercial necessity. Ensuring compliance while optimising permission rates and getting the right ‘tone of voice’ can be a difficult balancing act.
This balance faces further pressure as regulation tightens. The fast-approaching EU General Data Protection Regulation (due to be implemented on 25 May 2018) presents a stricter definition of Consent, enhances the privacy rights of individuals and requires organisations to be more transparent about their use of personal data.
While final guidance from the UK Regulator surrounding Consent under the GDPR is still awaited, testing the wording of permission statements, evaluating which channels are most important and assessing the impact of opt-in is crucial.
This is why Opt-4, in partnership with DQM GRC, developed a unique research tool: Permission Max, to enable organisations to test different statements. Our online research panel provides invaluable feedback on what consumers like and dislike, how a different editorial tone can really make a difference and most crucially what consent rates are likely to be.
What do our tests reveal about consumer attitudes?
There is a growing degree of cynicism about permission statements, a feeling that regardless of what action the consumer may or may not take, organisations will do as they please with their data. This cynicism is particularly evident when it comes to data-sharing, where there is a high level of distrust about who data might be passed to.
We’ve found that getting the ‘tone of voice’ right makes a difference: offering assurances around the use and protection of consumer’s data can optimise your consent rates.
Consumers express a strong dislike of opt-out boxes, sensing they are designed in some way to trick them – forgetting to tick a box leads to a deluge of communications they didn’t want to receive.
In what is no doubt music to the ears of the ICO, opt-in boxes are widely preferred as a more upfront and trustworthy approach. Interestingly for some people (perhaps due to their lingering familiarity with opt-out boxes), there is concern that opt-in boxes don’t provide a clear opportunity to demonstrate a desire to ‘opt-out’ of all communications by ticking a box. But you can’t please everyone!
Does opt-in decimate consent rates?
The short answer is no; it suppresses them, but not necessarily to the degree you might suspect. Our research is showing positive opt-in results, especially for email communications – as long as you get the wording right.
Unsurprisingly, the under 30s are more likely to give their consent. However, we are also seeing that women (despite research showing them to be less cynical) are less likely than men to agree to marketing communications.
Is Consent your only option?
In Article 47 of the GDPR it states; the processing of Personal Data for direct marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for a legitimate interest. Opt-4 has been at the forefront of an initiative to produce industry guidance on the use of Legitimate Interests, a draft of which is currently with the ICO for their review and comment.
Copyright Opt-4 / Data Protection Network
The information provided and the opinions expressed in this article represent the views of Opt-4 Ltd and/or the Data Protection Network. They do not constitute legal advice and cannot be construed as offering comprehensive guidance to the Data Protection Act 1998 or other statutory measures.