B2B marketing to existing clients

Current UK regulations do not require ‘prior consent’ to be obtained by B2B marketers sending marketing communications to contacts with whom they have an ‘existing customer relationship’.

But what does this mean in practice? What is ‘prior consent’? How is this relationship defined in law and what are the qualifying factors?

Prior Consent

Prior consent means an individual you are sending a marketing email communication to, has previously opted-in to that channel – ie they have notified you, as the sender, that you have their permission to that email contact address for marketing communications purposes.

For B2B marketers, the strict ‘prior consent’ requirement does not apply when you are sending email marketing communications to contacts with whom you have an ‘existing customer relationship’.

How is an existing customer relationship defined?

There will be a qualifying ‘existing customer relationship’ if:

  • You have obtained an email address of an individual in the course of the sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that individual;
  • The direct marketing is in respect of your products or services and those products or services marketed are ‘similar’ to those previously provided (i.e. those that the individual would have expected you, the marketer, to provide);
  • The identity of the sender is clear;
  • The individual is given a clear opportunity to withdraw consent (ie an unsubscribe link) in all communications.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as general guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. For more information please visit http://www.ico.gov.uk

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