US Marketers Should Not Ignore EU Privacy Laws—Even If They Don’t Market in the EU

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Posted: May 26, 2011 | Modern Marketing

Last week, Marketo released a new white paper on EU Privacy Laws, which received some fantastic feedback from many of our customers and prospects. However, it seemed a majority of those who took notice of the paper’s release were those already based outside of the U.S. or who otherwise had a multinational presence.

It occurred to me that a possible reason many B2B marketers in the U.S. are not paying attention to these laws is because they don’t sell a product in the EU.  Unfortunately, that does not mean they won’t be breaking any laws.

How could I be breaking a law if I don’t market to people in the EU?

If anyone in an EU country visit your website, you need to comply.  This holds true even if you do not sell products in Europe or explicitly market to those in EU countries.

What tools do marketers use that drop cookies?

Many tools you may be using now utilize cookies for tracking.  If you are doing any online advertising, or using any web analytics tools or marketing automation solutions, you should dig deeper to see if you are complying.  The reason is that these tools have not necessarily come up with solutions to adhere to the new privacy laws.  Many companies have put in temporary solutions or are waiting until more countries in the EU create their privacy laws so that they can be sure to comply fully.  This doesn’t mean you are going to get in trouble, as the EU has stated they are not going to impose penalties immediately, but you should be aware of the laws and have a plan to ensure that your company and the solutions it uses complies in a timely fashion.

Does this mean that I can’t use cookies to track any more?

No, it just means you need to obtain explicit consent from users in the EU.  Last week I wrote a blog post on ways to obtain explicit consent in order to comply with the EU privacy changes.

Why else should I care about the new laws?

Privacy is a topic that should be important to all marketers.  Our director of Privacy, Josh Aberant, believes that the way a company handles its customers’ and prospects’ privacy will soon become a competitive differentiator.  Next week he will post on this topic specifically.  (To be notified of this post, you can subscribe to our Modern B2B Marketing blog by clicking the link in the upper right corner of your screen.)

Where can I learn more about the new laws?

There are many great sites that can help you learn about online privacy. Some of the best include:

You also may want to check out our white paper, which digs deep into the topic of EU Privacy Laws and how they affect marketers.

 

Maria specializes in Inbound Marketing for Marketo, leading efforts in adoption of social media channels for brand awareness and demand generation. She has worked in marketing for over ten years, and specifically in online marketing including social media, search marketing, and lead generation and nurturing for the past six.

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US Marketers Should Not Ignore EU Privacy Laws—Even If They Don’t Market in the EU

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