GDPR – Now what?

GDPR goes live 25th May 2018

Big events on the 25th of the month normally involve lots of opening of presents, drinking and really good times.

Except 2018 is different, we get two big days on the 25th.  December is a bit far away so it makes sense to focus on the other big event happening on the 25th May 2018,  today – the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR.

No doubt, you have been deluged with emails in the past few weeks asking you to re-subscribe to long forgotten mailing lists and you may have heard the regular radio adverts. This is serious regulation to protect individual’s privacy, and also a serious opportunity for Print to emerge as the trusted player in the post-GDPR world.

Here are the three things I have experienced over the past few weeks as GDPR starts to shape the marketing and communications landscape:

Digital lists are shrinking fast, real fast!

In talking to clients, it is clear that all businesses are cutting loose older clients that haven’t purchased from them in some time, and this can range from a six month, right up to a two year culling, which could cut their digital marketing lists by 80%! The range is dependent on the legal advice the customer has sought and the specific nature of their business and relationship with clients.

In all cases, it is clear that extreme caution is being applied to old customer’s lists, reducing them significantly in size, and rightly so. It is necessary to prove unambiguous and clear consent from an individual to digitally market to them – which is the first of six legal reasons to market to someone.

The following four legal bases for contacting someone deal with the legal/contractual elements and may provide a limited route to continue to communicate digitally with clients, but rarely marketing comms.

It is the sixth legal basis, Legitimate Interest, which is the one UK Mail customers should be most interested in…

Direct mail set to boom?

In January ’18 the ICO handed the Direct Mail industry a valuable opportunity when confirming that Charities do not need explicit consent to send postal marketing to potential donors, and Charities can rely on Legitimate Interest to do so.

While a boom in Direct Marketing is very optimistic, it is definitely cause for real hope as although no legal basis is better, Legitimate Interest provides a much clearer path for contacting customers who you know have a need and would value from your services.

How many of your clients know this? Would this change their marketing spend in next 12 months if they did?

A balancing act is important whatever legal basis you take.

If you choose Postal Marketing by relying on Legitimate Interest you still must follow a careful balancing act to ensure you remain compliant. Here is the checklist UK Mail uses before deploying postal marketing campaigns:

  • Is there a clear opt-out for the recipient on the mail piece?
  • Have we removed all previous opt-outs?
  • Is our offer of interest to the recipient?
  • Have we suppressed the mailing against MPS and deceased?

There are many other elements we check depending on the postal campaign, however, those four questions are the core checks.

To help our clients navigate the tricky GDPR waters we have put together a GDPR guide detailing how it will affect their business, and specifically the opportunities it provides for print and mail services!



The views above are in no way presented as legal advice and it is suggested that you discuss further with your legal department. The views above are Andy Barber’s personal views and not those of his employer.

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