If you own a business that operates in the public sector, you must be aware of the regulations governing marketing and advertising. Otherwise, you could unknowingly find yourself guilty of non-compliance and be on the receiving end of massive fines and penalties.
You don’t want to be fined hundreds of thousands of pounds for a mistake you didn’t know you were making.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, we’re going to look at some of the data protection regulations in B2G marketing that demand absolute compliance and how you can safely navigate regulatory requirements to maintain your place in the competitive public procurement market.
First, What Is B2G Marketing Compliance Relating to Data Protection?
The first thing to be aware of is that there are different regulations for different marketing media.
Legislation and regulation
Overall, B2G marketing is legislated by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008. They are both overseen by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Trading Standards.
There are also self-regulatory advertising codes of conduct:
1) UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion, and Direct Marketing (CAP Code)
CAP includes print ads ( posters, newspapers, magazines) and online ads (social media, paid ads, websites, email).
2) UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code)
BCAP includes TV and radio ads.
Both codes are overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which aims to ensure responsible advertising in all media. For example, claims made regarding services, goods and works must be supported by evidence. Take greenwashing for instance, when companies can make unsubstantiated claims regarding the environmental friendliness of their products or business practices.
In the public sector procurement context, this means marketers mustn’t puff up their client’s environmental credentials to attract buyers. It also means that if a company makes claims regarding the environmental aspect of social value, they must be verifiable.
Now, A Look At GDPR
GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation and its purpose is to ensure marketers follow guidelines for collecting and processing clients’ or customers’ personal data.
The UK GDPR, the Data Protection Act of 2018, and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) oversee the GDPR’s implementation and the proper use of personal data collection and processing for all UK citizens.
Where does the UK’s General Data Protection Regulation come from?
The UK’s General Data Protection Regulation is a variation of the EU GDPR.
In 2016, the European Union (EU) adopted the legal framework that came to be known as GDPR. The GDPR established data protection rules to ensure the security of sensitive personal data for all EU citizens. The new data processing rules were taken up by EU member states, including the UK.
Brexit changed that, however. The split from general data protection in EU countries enabled the government to amend national law so it’s more in line with the UK’s data protection requirements.
UK GDPR vs. EU GDPR
Both sets of general data protection rules are actually very similar. There aren’t too many differences in data processing and protection to distinguish one from the other. But here are a few.
There are differences regarding the applicability of the data protection rules.
For example, EU GDPR applies to any organisation that uses EU citizens’ personal data (including citizens’ personal data in 11 third countries and territories), even if they’re located well out of the EU.
The UK’s General Data Protection Regulation applies to UK-based citizens and organisations.
There are also some differences when it comes to monitoring data security measures and ensuring that marketing companies are compliant with the rules for personal data processing.
For example, the EU has National Supervisory Authorities in each member state monitoring compliance with GDPR. The UK’s data protection rules are monitored by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
How does GDPR relate to B2G marketing?
That’s a pretty good question because marketing relies on personal data to target the right audience.
Generally, marketing companies don’t need highly sensitive personal data (religious beliefs, political opinions, location data). Usually, a name and email address will do. However, marketers still have a legal obligation to implement appropriate safeguards to ensure that personal information is protected from all risks, including a data breach or unauthorised access.
There are seven data protection principles, let’s see how they relate to compliance marketing.
1) Lawfulness, fairness, transparency
- To be lawful, the personal data used for marketing must be given by consent, for example, registration for a newsletter or entering details for a gift, like an ebook.
- To be fair, personal data must be used in such a way that it works in the individual’s best interest, for example, receiving a monthly online magazine with personalised product suggestions.
- To be transparent, individuals must know why you need their personal data, how you’re going to use it, and for what purpose; for example, a survey on brand awareness.
2) Purpose limitation
- Data controllers can only use the data for the reason stated. They can’t sell survey information to a third party.
3) Data minimisation
- Data controllers must only collect and process personal data that is strictly necessary.
- The data collected must be correct and up to date. It’s the marketers’ (data controllers’) responsibility to double-check the information to ensure that it is accurate; for example, the online magazine that should go to Ms Brown in Brighton shouldn’t go to Ms Brown in Blackpool.
5) Storage limitation
- If you want to be compliant with ethical marketing standards, personal data must be deleted or destroyed after use. A data controller can’t hold on to it once Ms Brown in Brighton cancels her subscription.
6) Integrity and confidentiality
- Protect personal data from unauthorised use, accidental loss, and intentional leaks.
- Proper data protection measures must be in place to ensure data is safe from potential risks, including malware and hackers.
- It’s imperative that data remains confidential; it doesn’t go further than the data controller or other people who need it.
- Marketers or data controllers are accountable for the proper use of the data and can be held liable for any ethical marketing issues, including misuse or theft. Part of this includes logging consent to prove GDPR compliance regarding data privacy regulations.
- A broader view includes staff training in the proper handling of private personal information and regular evaluation of data protection measures to ensure they’re still compliant with the UK GDPR.
Why Is Compliance Important In B2G Marketing?
The easy answer is that non-compliance results in penalties, like GDPR fines. However, that’s not all there is to it.
Complying with general data protection rules and marketing regulations generally means that you already operate ethically, with integrity, and respect your target audience’s personal data. It helps engender trust, which does wonders for your reputation as a company that respects data privacy laws.
A good reputation for personal data protection is invaluable in the highly regulated B2G market.
Update personal data relating to citizens’ fundamental rights
Regulations, as a rule, don’t change frequently. However, ongoing digital developments and advancements in AI technology and system automation can render some data processing regulations obsolete and create a need for new regulations faster than you can say, “We’ve got compliance waxed.”
The flexibility to adapt to these rapid changes and ensure your data protection policy still protects your target market’s fundamental rights indicates that you’re ready for whatever the future holds.
What Is Compliance Communication & Why Is It Important For Data Protection?
So, we know why marketing compliance in data processing is important, but how can we communicate it to the marketing team?
The solution is compliance communication and it’s just as essential in B2G marketing as the marketing strategy.
The reason is simple: If you can’t effectively communicate general data protection regulations governing the B2G marketplace, the odds are someone will, at some point, do or not do something that places your company in contravention of the regulations.
It’s a sticky situation, which can get stickier if it’s not remedied as soon as possible.
It’s far better to avoid the stickiness with a proper compliance communication plan.
How to create an effective compliance communication plan
The first thing to bear in mind is that all relevant employees must be aware of the data protection law.
However, a blanket email with vague data privacy information that is sent to the whole company is probably the least effective thing to do.
Emails can get lost in crowded inboxes, the subject line might not be compelling enough to warrant further reading, employees might read the email but the information flitters away when something more important than sensitive data arises.
Just like a proper marketing strategy, you must tailor the message to the audience; for example, marketing strategists must understand the importance of data security law and what it means when the company fails to comply with data protection rules.
Sharing is caring
Then you must turn your attention to how you’re going to share your GDPR compliance strategy with your B2G marketers. Remember people process data differently, so it’s a good idea to use several communication channels.
You could use team or company WhatsApp groups, internal email, awareness posters in the break room, team meetings, training sessions, a printed guide or PDF, etc. The important thing is that you use clear and plain language to convey the importance of data protection law, as well as the importance of your company’s approach to processing personal data.
A quick tip: Watch out for communication saturation, which is entirely counterproductive. GDPR compliance and the appropriate security measures to protect personal data are too important to risk flooding the marketing team.
Another quick tip: Stay on top of data protection compliance updates and amendments. Outdated compliance information raises ethical issues in marketing and places your company at risk of non-compliance, and you don’t want to get stuck in that stickiness.
Especially when the stickiness results in fines of millions of pounds. According to UK general data protection law, companies guilty of a minor data breach or other violation are fined up to £8,700,000 or 2% of the company’s annual revenue, whichever is higher.
Companies guilty of a far more extensive data breach or other violation are fined up to £17,500,000 or 4% of the company’s annual revenue, whichever is higher.
Compliance Is Guaranteed With Cadence Marketing
Navigating the General Data Protection Regulation can be tricky for B2G marketers. After all, it’s difficult enough to make a name for yourself in public sector procurement, but to have so many regulations for managing personal data – and keeping it safe – can be overwhelming.
You need a B2G marketing specialist with experience in the handling of sensitive information by your side. Someone to ensure the appropriate safeguards are in place and that there is a regular and systematic monitoring plan in progress.
Cadence Marketing has been in the business for nearly 40 years and has witnessed many changes as the requirements for data protection compliance have evolved to accommodate revolutionary new technology and procurement processes.
Contact us to book a free consultation and we’ll show you how our experience and expertise can help you navigate the intricacies of general data protection regulation and steer your company towards success.