The consequences of collecting the wrong email marketing consent

Stine Mangor Tornmark
Written by
Stine Mangor Tornmark
October 10, 2019

If you are collecting the wrong email marketing consent, the consequences are bigger and more expensive than you may think. If your company is, for example:

  • Sending out marketing emails without consent (when required),
  • Unable to document that it actually did collect consent, or
  • Not handling ‘Unsubscribe’ requests correctly or in a timely manner,

then you’re risking the following:


Your company may be fined by authorities such as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK, the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) in the US, or the Danish Consumer Ombudsman in Denmark. In addition to the authorities’ ability to impose big fines, they also issue press releases.


Damage to your reputation can be done in the event of press releases, complaints, fines. Reputational damage can harm client and investor trust, erode your customer base, hinder sales, and can often be measured in lost revenue, increased operating capital, or regulatory costs, or destruction of shareholder value.

Valuation decrease

Today, data is king and the big data companies are the rockstars of the 21st century. If your company doesn’t have the right to collect and process data - including nurturing your leads - your company’s valuation is at risk. VCs are also requiring that the companies they invest in are compliant and have GDPR under control. Otherwise, there is a risk that you won’t get the valuation that you are hoping for – or worse, that you will get no funding at all.

Deletion of your database

If you don’t have permission to process and send out marketing emails to the individuals, you might be required to delete your leads in your marketing database, pursuant to GDPR and local marketing rules.

Poorer lead conversion

You may be collecting consent across all markets using the one method to do so, e.g., using opt-in as default in all jurisdictions. But in some jurisdictions active opt in isn’t required. It might be enough simply to inform users that you will be sending them email marketing (without an opt-out option). The likelihood of you missing out on leads in those jurisdictions is significant, and therefore you should make sure that you are collecting the right type of consent.

Internal cost

By not collecting a compliant marketing consent initially, you will end up squandering resources throughout your entire organisation when you have to move to a more compliant setup at a later stage. It is much cheaper to do this correctly, right from the start.

Distraction and complaints

People know their rights and they know what is permissible and what is not. And people complain – on social media, to your customer support teams, and to the authorities. This would mean spending still more resources handling these complaints, as well as running the risk of fines and/or damage to your company’s reputation.

Lower lead quality

Today, people are more likely to read your emails if they want to receive them – and have actually agreed to receive them. When you don’t ask for consent, the quality of your leads will be lower.

How do I start collecting the right consent?

Openli's can you navigate the global legal landscape, collect compliant consent, sync your marketing tech stack and optimise for conversion.

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