Consent Marketing Practices - What You Need to Know

From a legal point of view, consent marketing is a vital factor of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Most notably, when it comes to online registering or checkout. Of course, there are other areas of user experience to consider. But for the sake of this article, we’re going to keep a focus on where consent marketing practices are a necessity.

Since many small businesses already work under ethical marketing, consent practices are bound to come as second nature. However, without knowledge of the following information, mistakes are easy to be made.

And the wrong mistake can be detrimental to a small business’ financial stability. Not to mention the overall reputation your company has.

Within this article, we’re going to look into what company’s are already doing to implement consent marketing practices. From there, we’ll offer some advice on how you should proceed with your business.


As you begin to develop an action plan for your marketing strategy, there are five key elements of consent you MUST incorporate:

1.Active Opt-In - As customers begin to interact with your website, you want to establish consent the moment an offering appears. When it comes to an opt-in box, it’s vital these boxes aren’t pre-ticked. You want your customers to earnestly offer consent.

2. Easy to Withdraw - When a customer does offer their consent, you want to allow them the option to withdraw this consent at any time they please. It’s not only important to establish this from the beginning but to also show them how to do so. Avoid making withdraw a complicated process.

3. Granular -
When offering granular options, make sure this form of consent is separated from the other forms of consent your website hosts.

4. Named - When someone offers consent, make sure they’re aware of who they’re giving consent to. This means naming your company as well as any third parties who are involved.

5. Unbundled - Make sure not to bundle consent in with your terms and conditions. A customer’s consent should not be viewed as a precondition for signing up for your services (except in specific cases).

Once you begin to receive requests from customers, it’s vital to GDPR you keep and maintain a record of what these individuals were told and how they went about giving their consent.


The majority of companies are successful in incorporating all of the five aspects of consent. However, a select few have gone above and beyond in showing us how we should practice consent marketing

The following is a list of the five aspects mentioned above with company’s who give the perfect example of how you should follow through with your marketing strategy:

  1. Walmart Canada - Active Opt-In

    Active opt-in is a pretty easy standard to follow and it’s become extremely rare for a company not to have some kind of consent. But Walmart Canada has caught our attention for two specific reasons:

    1. It clearly tells customers they can withdraw from a subscription at any given time.

    2. It clearly states that signing up for their emails is optional through parentheses.

conset marketing 2.png

Image source.

2. The Guardian - Easy to Withdraw

Before we consider a company getting “easy to withdraw” right, let’s consider one doing it wrong - Facebook. Though it wasn’t at first, it’s now common knowledge now that Facebook doesn’t really delete your information when you delete your account.

Rather, it puts it into a vault of sorts and allows you to reopen it at any given time. This left many people uneasy about what Facebook is doing with their information and, though their popularity remains significant, it also discouraged many.

However, Facebook’s fatal flaw wasn’t holding onto personal information as much as not clearly stating they would.

On the flip side of the coin, The Guardian is a prime examaple of a company telling its users EXACTLY what will happen with their information. Furthermore, they not only make the withdraw process easy but make sure all your information is deleted.

3. Woolworth’s Australia - Granular

The biggest difference between Woolworth’s approach to granular and other companies is it allows for you to check what and what you don’t agree with.

When you sign up with the company website, there are three separate checkboxes for SMS, email, and samples. In turn, their customers have a CHOICE in the consent they give.

This far outweighs the hard-line approach where you have to accept everything or nothing.

4. Waitrose - Named

What makes Waitrose a great example is they're a party attached to the John Lewis Partnership. Naturally, this agreement was made for the sake of helping one another gain customer traffic.

Therefore, when you sign up for Waitrose’s email listing, you’re going to be offered John Lewis Partnership’s as well. However, when signing up, you have the option not to sign up for any of these listings.

Since collaboration is a key part of business, you’ll want to make sure your partners understand your consent marketing practices as well.

5. Sainsbury’s - Unbundled

Sainsbury takes an approach similar to most companies. However, it makes sure you’re aware of what you’re checking off by separating terms and conditions and contact permission with headlines.

Furthermore, it places red exclamation marks next to each box you can consent to. This color works perfectly against the white backdrop as it stands out for customers.


Almost every start-up business is taking up ethical marketing as a means of gaining customer’s trust. Yet, not every company is aware of all the little steps it must take in order to fully promote this way of marketing.

By implementing consent marketing practices, you are one step closer to developing a trustworthy business.