At 23:00 on 31st December 2020, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union.
After years of debate, drama and uncertainty, Britain’s departure from the EU with a deal will be seen as a relief for many business owners across the country – fearing the consequences that a ‘no deal’ scenario would bring, especially when combined with increasingly strict COVID-19 regulations.
However, how will marketing be impacted by changes in Britain’s relationship with the EU? We’ve taken a look at some considerations your business may need to make in the coming months.
A summary of the Brexit deal for marketers
The full Brexit agreement is more than 1,200 pages long, so rather than analyse the whole thing, here are some of the key points that marketers need to know.
- There will be no taxes on goods (tariffs) or limits on the amount that can be traded (quotas) between the UK and the EU from 1 January
- Some new checks will be introduced at borders, such as safety checks and customs declarations.
- UK nationals will need a visa for stays of longer than 90 days in the EU in a 180-day period.
- The UK is no longer obliged to comply with EU standards of data protection, but data will continue to be exchanged in the same way for at least four months as long as the UK doesn’t change its data protection rules.
Having a deal in place means that the UK and the EU have avoided the increases in prices for goods that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would of provided.
The two trading partners will be able to trade without taxes, but there will be increased logistical challenges for shipping goods between the UK and EU, which may still result in increased shipping prices for consumers.
This is something that marketers will need to be mindful of long-term, especially given the importance of price within the marketing mix, as well its effectiveness in swaying the buying consideration process.
The most important aspect of the deal, we believe, however is the UK’s potential lack of obligation to comply with EU standards of data protection.
The end of GDPR in the UK?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) dominated marketing conversations when it came into effect in 2018, with some fearing it would be the end of email marketing forever. However, this wasn’t the case.
GDPR’s purpose is to protect EU citizen’s privacy, providing them with protection, as well as the right to be forgotten from businesses that target or collect data.
Previously, in the wild west of the internet before GDPR’s implementation, businesses were able to freely collect and share consumer data without the user’s permission.
This all changed on 25th May 2018, with the EU able to impose obligations onto organisations anywhere, so long as they target or collect data related to people in the EU.This meant steeping changes in how UK firms, and marketers, collected and managed consumer data, with consumer records wiped away in their millions to avoid GDPR penalties and fines.
What we recommend post-Brexit:
- Don’t trick people into subscribing
- Be clear about what you are offering
- Don’t use a pre-ticked checkbox
- Be clear and transparent with what you will do with their data
However, as long as you can prove that data subjects within your database have a legitimate interest in your business’ products and services, or have consented to be marketed to, then you are free to communicate with them.
GDPR has not only led to great improvements in data quality, but also consumer protections, but we may see old habits return if the UK change their data protection rules to no longer comply with EU standards.
Increased emphasis on ‘British Made’
A key theme in the government’s communications strategy since the results of the referendum were announced was to focus on the ‘opportunity’ that Brexit provided for British firms – especially those exporting goods internationally.
However, businesses may instead find that the benefits of selling ‘British made’ goods could actually be felt a lot closer to home.
For many voters, their decision to vote leave during the EU referendum was based on patriotic pride and a sense that Britain would be stronger without the EU.
These voters’ identities closely entwine with their nationality, providing marketers, especially in a post-Brexit landscape where exporting goods will result in greater safety checks and customs declarations, the opportunity to target and communicate with an audience that will see greater value in their products due to their manufacturing location.
One of the main drivers in price setting has always been based on consumer behaviour – analysing what the maximum price point would be where consumers would still see value in their purchase. Brexit has provided marketers with the chance to charge a premium to a more patriotic audience, tapping into the belief that ‘British is better’.
We would not be surprised to see an increase in branding and product design that incorporates British flags in the coming years.
Increased competition with EU B2B firms
It was recently broken by BBC News that some EU specialist online retailers have said they will no longer deliver to the UK because of tax changes which came into force on 1st January.
This provides an excellent opportunity for UK firms, and those considering starting a new business, to capitalise on the disruption caused by the new regulations and gain a leg up in British markets – especially if your organisation trades within a traditional B2B commerce model.
As well as EU firms facing higher costs and increased bureaucracy, in order to comply with UK tax authorities, they will also now have to deal with additional charges on shipments between the UK and the EU levied by international shipping companies.
This means that British-based B2B organisations will now be in a stronger position to provide cheaper prices to UK consumers.
Now is a fantastic time to transform your commerce models, and take the leap into digital – reaching UK audiences to offer your goods.
If your organisation is still getting grips with digital transformation, we’ve put together a handy guide on how to get started with B2B ecommerce, where you’ll discover everything you need to know and do to get your B2B ecommerce project of the ground.
We’ve also taken a look at some of the most popular B2B ecommerce platforms to help you choose what would be best for your business.
How we can help
Whilst Britain’s departure from the European Union may through a couple of hiccups for marketers along the way, the core fundamental of our role in business hasn’t changed.
Our job as a marketer is to identify, anticipate and satisfy customer requirements profitably. Brexit may see customer requirements change in the coming months, but, whatever happens, we’ll all still be on hand to make sure that these requirements are met.
As the UK’s only digital marketing agency in the UK to hold the Customer Service Excellence Accreditation, we are committed to achieving clear, measurable returns from your marketing, delivering engaging designs and smart development solutions, whilst providing you with the highest level of customer service.
Are you ready to generate growth through marketing? Get in touch to speak to one of the team!