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How Direct Mail Marketing Can Thrive After GDPR

Posted: 25 June, 2018

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into effect in May 2018 has made the marketing industry rethink the way it uses and processes customer data. In this article, we examine the effects of GDPR on direct mail marketing.

An important GDPR notion you have to understand when running direct mail marketing campaigns is that of “legitimate interest”. Legitimate interest looks at balancing the interest of the data controllers and the data subjects and is particularly important in regards to direct mail.

In some cases, legitimate interest can be invoked when the processing is not required by law but is of a clear benefit to you or others; there’s a limited privacy impact on the individual; the individual should reasonably expect you to use their data in that way; and you cannot, or do not want to, give the individual full upfront control (ie consent) or bother them with disruptive consent requests when they are unlikely to object to the processing.

At the same time as GDPR introduced fines for inappropriate use, transmission, and storing of personal data through digital channels, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has confirmed that direct mail remains an opt-out media marketing channel where advertisers can use the legitimate interest premise and are not required to obtain explicit consent.

For these reasons, direct mail presents lower risk levels and more ethical clarity for marketing teams. It allows advertisers to re-engage with customers who have become mistrustful of how their personal data might be handled online. In cases where customers have opted-out of email updates, direct mail remains the only legitimate channel that brands can use to attempt to re-engage with them.

Article 5 of the GDPR means that business will be held accountable for the accuracy of the data they hold on their customers. Our data cleaning services will, therefore, help you achieve a greater return on investment and comply with data protection regulation.

In conclusion, any business whose data processing meets the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation and can demonstrate that they have undertaken a legitimate interest assessment (balancing the potential benefits to their business against the reasonable expectations of the individuals and any impact of the processing on them) may be able to invoke legitimate interest as the legal basis for processing data for direct mail marketing – as opposed to having to gain explicit consent from their data subjects. This allows for growth and expansion within direct mail marketing. If you’re thinking of taking the step towards your next direct mail marketing campaign, contact us.

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