Direct Mail in a post GDPR World

GDPR and Direct Mail - Direct Mail is a more feasible option than email marketing in a post GDPR world.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation which came into effect across the EU on 25th May 2018. The GDPR legislation puts personal data back into the control of individuals across all member states of the EU and applies to all organisations processing data of EU Citizens regardless of where they are situated globally. This means that businesses have to consider what they are doing with peoples' data and why.

How does GDPR affect Marketing Communications?

Under GDPR stricter rules apply to marketing communications by electronic means compared to those sent in traditional postal print mailings. Under the new regulation consent by means of an opt-in option, is necessary for companies to obtain permission to send email mailings and text messages to consumers. Direct Mail may provide a solution to marketing needs in a post GDPR world since an opt-in option is not required for traditional print mailing campaigns.

GDPR and addressed Direct Mail

Under GDPR you will not be required to request consent or permission for direct mail (postal) but will require a clear opt-out option. 'Opt-out means that you can market an individual provided you have previously given them the option not to receive such marketing and they have not availed of this option.' You will have to tell first time customers what purpose you intend to use the data for and provide them with an opportunity to refuse this use. The opt-out option could take the form of a tick box on a form at the time of data collection.

Unaddressed Mail

In order for a piece of printed mail to be considered Direct Mail it must be addressed to a named person and must be promoting a product or service. At present mail addressed to 'the occupant', 'the resident' or 'the householder' is unaddressed and does not come under data protections laws because it is not using personal data. Under GDPR if the marketer can identify 'the occupant', 'the resident' or 'the householder' from other data, data protection requirements would apply as this may involve the processing of personal data.

Legitimate Interest

Under the GDPR legislation there will be a need to balance companies' legitimate interest with the consumers right to privacy.

What is 'Legitimate Interest'?

'The processing of personal data for direct marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for legitimate interest'

This means, for example, that if a business wishes to send postal print marketing about a new product to its customers, it can often do so in reliance on its 'legitimate interest' - it generally does not need its customers' consent to this mailing. It will, however, always need to offer clients an opt-out option.

Legitimate interest will depend on your relationship with a consumer e.g.. Have they bought from you? Are they a customer? What are you doing with their data? Will the consumer expect to have their data processed by your business in this way based on the relationship they have with your company? The answer will need to be 'yes' to be of legitimate interest to your business.

Consider using printed Direct Mail in a post GDPR world as a more feasible option than email marketing due to less restrictions and the absence of an opt in requirement. If you would like to find out more about our mail fulfilment and printing services please contact our sales team on 041-9835000 or email


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