21 January 2018 Business

Print gets green light under GDPR rules

The ICO has decreed that marketing can continue to use print and mail without the explicit permissions needed for email and digital marketing.

Direct mail agencies and printers have received a huge boost with a statement from the Information Commissioner’s Office that postal marketing will be allowed after the forthcoming GDPR deadline on 25 May.

In a FAQ section of the website dedicated to the impact of GDPR in charities, the question of whether consent is always needed for marketing. It answers: “No. You won’t need consent for postal marketing but you will need consent for some calls and for texts and emails… you can rely on legitimate interests for marketing activities if you can show how you use people’s data is proportionate, has a minimal privacy impact, and people would not be surprised or likely to object.”

The industry has been waiting, and continues to wait, for a formal statement of guidance on what constitutes legitimate interests. This had been promised “for sometime in the new year”. Now the information in a slightly obscure part of its website, indicates how the ICO is thinking.

With the clock ticking towards the introduction across Europe of the privacy regulations, there are still many companies that are far from compliant. In a Direct Marketing Assocation report, 26% of B2B marketing agencies feel their business is not prepared for GDPR, a decrease of just 4% in a year. Only 60% believe they are on course while 15% do not have a plan on how to become compliant.

In a survey published in October last year, the DMA found that 65% of those involved agree that GDPR “will be a hindrance to their marketing”.

Meanwhile direct mail printers have been producing guides and staging seminars to prepare their customers for the impact of the new regulation, including the need to gain explicit opt in permission to be sent email or text messages. They will be relieved that this is not needed when using printed direct mail for marketing.

Gareth Ward

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Post allowed

Post allowed

The Information Commissioner's Office has made it clear that organisations will be allowed to post direct mail without the consent needed for digital marketing activities.

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