Do I need consent to send direct mail? Latest from the ICO

Since the new GDPR rules came into force in May, businesses around the EU have been trying to get their heads around how exactly these privacy regulations affect them. Finding out exactly how the new General Data Protection Regulation impacts on marketing and B2B communication is essential if your business it going to stay on the right side of the law and keep all its customers happy. Keep reading to find out more.

Legitimate interest

Although companies that use direct mail marketing need to be aware of these new regulations, the GDPR won’t impact as much on postal communication as it will on phone, text and email promotions. As @ICOnews says, “You won’t need consent for postal marketing but you will need consent for some calls and for texts and emails.” Instead, you can rely on legitimate interests for marketing activities if you can show that your use of people’s data is proportionate, has a minimal privacy impact, and that people would not be surprised or likely to object to your contact.

Gaining consent

If you’re unsure whether or not your customers will be surprised by your contact, it’s a good idea to get consent for your postal campaign before you start your mail out. Place a checkbox on your website or online shop and ask people to opt into receiving communication from your company. You’ll need to specify exactly how you’re going to get in touch (phone, text, email, mail) and also provide information on how you use customer information and how you protect customer privacy. Putting a little time and effort into creating a privacy policy, and getting up to speed with current privacy regulations can ensure you stay well within the law when promoting your products and services.

Buying mailing lists

A lot of the time, if a company is new or hasn’t built up a database of customer information, businesses buy mailing lists for their direct mail campaigns. If you are planning on buying a list, make sure that the company you purchase it from is part of a regulated body and has complied with GDPR rules. If you want to follow best practice, check that all customers included in the list have given their consent within the last six months. Once you have the information, make sure you store it securely and delete anything that’s not relevant, or that you consider too invasive.

The introduction of the GDPR is going to have an impact across the marketing industry. Doing your research, and working hard to protect the privacy and the rights of your customers will help your business to run high quality direct mail marketing campaigns. Get in touch, or take a look around our site to find out more.