5 things you might wrongly believe about GDPR and mail

Admittedly, the introduction of GDPR might seem daunting but don’t let it put you off sending out mail marketing. If anything, it’s even more reason to use mail as a marketing channel for your business.

Here are 5 things you might wrongly believe about GDPR and mail.

1. I need to meet all legal bases to be able to market to customers

You may be aware that when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018, it brought with it 6 legal bases for the processing of customer data.

The 6 legal bases look like this:

  • You have the consent of the Data Subject
  • It’s necessary for the completion of a contract
  • It’s a legal obligation
  • It protects the vital interests of the Data Subject
  • The task is carried out in the public interest
  • It’s in the legitimate interest of the data controller

Well the good news is, you only need to tick one of the above boxes in order to lawfully process customer data. For most marketing communications, option 1 (consent) or option 6 (legitimate interest) tend to be the applicable reasons.

2. I’ll need consent for all future marketing communications

This isn’t true. As highlighted in the first point, consent is one of the 6 lawful bases for processing. But there are five other reasons which could apply to your communication. Consent won’t always be the easiest or most appropriate option for you. Consider legitimate interest for your mail marketing.

Here’s what you need to know about legitimate interest:

If you can meet the conditions for legitimate interest, you won’t need consent for postal marketing. The same can’t be said of other communications such as calls, texts and emails.

GDPR has brought with it several challenges for marketers meaning mail marketing might be the only way they can now reach their customers.

This quote from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) sheds some more light on legitimate interest:

“You won’t need consent for postal marketing…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 ICO has outlined that in order to use legitimate interests you need to apply the following 3 part assessment:

1. Purpose test: Are you pursuing legitimate interests?

2. Necessity test: Is the processing necessary for that purpose?

3. Balancing test: Do the individual’s interests override the legitimate interests?

You must balance your interests against the individual’s rights and freedoms. In particular, if they would not reasonably expect you to use data in that way, or it would cause them unwarranted harm, their interests are likely to override yours.

If you are relying on legitimate interests for direct marketing, the right or object is absolute and you must stop processing if someone objects to it. You must include details of your legitimate interests in your privacy notice too.

3. Email marketing is better than mail marketing

The reality is, mail marketing offers a higher response rate than email*.

Direct mail is welcomed in a world where trust and frequency are increasingly important factors to customers.

It’s recognised and appreciated that mail marketing takes more effort than sending an email. When mail is received from a brand, the customer feels valued and appreciated by them.

In fact, in a recent study, 86% of people who receive mail feel a better connection with the business who sent it**.

4. There’s no point sending out unaddressed mailers

92% of people read door drops delivered to their home and 20% of door drops are shared with other members of the household or referred back to when making a purchase***.

Door drops don’t use personal data and so GDPR rules do not apply. With this form of marketing you don’t need to have any concerns regarding the 6 legal bases for sending out a mailer.

Door drop marketing allows you to determine your target area and sees your marketing delivered along with addressed mail. It’s a simple way for companies to re-engage audiences without using any personal data.

5. I’ll face all sorts of regulatory unknowns with mail

Quite the opposite. Unlike electronic channels, mail is not in scope of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR) or the proposed e-Privacy Regulation. This means brands will face fewer regulatory unknowns when contacting customers by mail in comparison to other channels.

Time to talk about your mail marketing?

Whilst GDPR legislation can seem daunting, the use of mail can be a door opener if you can meet the conditions for legitimate interest.

Our experts can help you engage with your customers and never miss an opportunity to contact them about your products or services.

At RNB all our staff are fully skilled in the nuances of GDPR and will be more than happy to help advise further on how to make sure your campaign is fully compliant.

Talk to us today

*US Data & Marketing Association Response Rate Report 2017

** Source: DMA

***Source: Royal Mail MarketReach