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GDPR & B2B – What companies need to know

Does the GDPR apply to B2B? What does the GDPR mean for business to business marketing? Are there any B2B GDPR rules? And how can organizations comply with the GDPR? We answer these questions and more in the post below.

GDPR & B2B

Does the GDPR apply to B2B?

Yes the GDPR applies to any entity that processes personal data. This entity can be anything from non-profits to for-profit businesses, public organization, sole traders and more. Personal data under the GDPR is defined as any data that relates to a living person. This includes pieces of information that, when collected together, can lead to the identification of a person. e.g. Ip addresses are considered personal information under the GDPR.

What does the GDPR mean for B2B marketing?

The biggest way in which the GDPR affects B2B marketing is that the GDPR requires a legal basis for processing personal data. This means that at least one legal basis must legitimately apply to the marketing activities that use personal data. There are 6 legal bases: Consent, Contract, Legal Obligation, Vital Interests, Public Task, and, Legitimate Interest.

Are there any B2B GDPR rules?

The GDPR principle of lawfulness, fairness, and transparency are applicable to any entity that processes personal data. In total there are 7 main principles of the GDPR that can be considered “rules” and should be and the center of the processing decisions that you make. The seven key principles of the GDPR are Lawfulness, fairness and transparency, Purpose limitation, Data minimization, Accuracy, Storage limitation, Integrity and confidentiality (security), and Accountability. You can find these principles laid out in detail in Article 5 of the GDPR text.

Does the GDPR distinguish between B2B and B2C?

While the GDPR does not make any distinction between business types in general, there may be some differences in practice. For example, B2B business may be able to more easily rely on and prove a legal basis such as legitimate interest when sending emails to a business email address. Additionally, if the email address isn’t tied to any one person, it may even fall outside the scope of “personal data”. Please note, however, that decisions regarding which legal basis applies can be tricky and, therefore, we strongly suggest consulting a lawyer in this regard.

How can B2B organizations comply with the GDPR?

  • Apply the principle of data minimalization –the more types of data your process, the largest the risk. Strategize and plan with risk in mind
  • Identify and/or review your legal basis for processing personal data, ideally with a legal professional.
  • Have a compliant privacy policy: Under the GDPR privacy policies must be easy to read and understand, easy to access, must contain the right information and must be up-to-date.
  • Review your systems for honoring GDPR user rights.
  • Keep valid records of your data processing activities (including internal records of processing)
  • Manage consent in a compliant way and maintain valid records of consent.

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