GDPR compliance—direct marketing
GDPR compliance—direct marketing

The following Risk & Compliance guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • GDPR compliance—direct marketing
  • What is direct marketing?
  • Regulatory regime
  • Failing to comply
  • Postal and other non-electronic marketing
  • Telephone marketing (live calls)
  • Automated calls
  • Email, messaging and text marketing
  • Online marketing
  • Lead generation and marketing lists
  • more

This Practice Note sets out the compliance implications of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on direct marketing. It also reflects the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PECR 2003), SI 2003/2426. The main challenge with direct marketing is piecing together what is permitted under the GDPR and PECR 2003. This will vary depending on your marketing activity and target audience.

PECR 2003 is due to be replaced by an EU ePrivacy Regulation, but the timing for implementation is unclear. The impact of the ePrivacy Regulation is explained below at Proposed ePrivacy Regulation.

For a quick guide of whether your proposed marketing activities require consent, see:

  1. GDPR compliance—direct marketing decision tree—email and other electronic marketing

  2. GDPR compliance—direct marketing decision tree—live telephone calls

  3. GDPR compliance—direct marketing decision tree—postal

What is direct marketing?

The GDPR refers to direct marketing at several places, but it does not define the term. It is therefore necessary to look to domestic legislation.

Direct marketing means the communication (by whatever means) of advertising or marketing material which is directed to particular individuals.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has further refined the concept of direct marketing in its direct marketing guidance—as including the promotion of aims and ideals as well as the sale of products and services. This means the direct marketing rules are not restricted to commercial organisations; they