Direct marketing

Assess your business or organisation in the area of direct marketing in line with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR). Includes consent and bought-in marketing lists, and telephone, email, text and postal marketing. Please note, direct marketing is the promotion of aims and ideals as well as the sale of products and services.

Step

Consent

Your business has obtained the necessary consent from individuals for marketing in compliance with the DPA and National Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

In many cases you must obtain prior 'opt-in' consent to send marketing communications, and it is always good practice to use opt-in boxes when collecting contact details for marketing purposes.
You should tell people what methods of marketing communication you are going to use, eg email, text, phone, automated call, post.
You should ask for consent to pass contact details to third parties for marketing, and name or describe those third parties with enough detail to give people an informed choice over marketing.
You should record when and how you obtained consent, and exactly what it covers to ensure you do not inadvertently contact people against their wishes. You can keep a 'suppression list' of people who don't want to receive marketing.

Step

Bought-in lists

Your business has sought assurances about the origins and accuracy of any bought-in lists.

The DPA do not ban the use of bought-in marketing lists but you should take steps to ensure the list was compiled fairly and accurately, reflects people's wishes and is reasonably up to date.
You should check when and how consent was obtained, and what it covers to ensure you do not inadvertently contact people against their wishes.
You should avoid using bought-in lists for emails, texts or automated calls unless you have proof of 'opt-in' consent within the last six months, which specifically names or describes your business.

Step

Telephone marketing

Your business identifies itself when making marketing calls and makes them only in accordance with the express wishes of recipients in compliance with National Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations

It is good practice to maintain your own 'do not call' list to screen live marketing calls.
You must obtain prior 'opt-in' consent to make automated marketing calls. There is no exception to this rule.
You must identify your business and provide a valid business address or Freephone number. You can do so in the content of an automated call recording or when asked during a live call.

Step

Electronic marketing

Your business identifies itself when sending electronic marketing messages and ensures the initial and ongoing permission of recipients in compliance with National Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations

You must obtain prior 'opt-in' consent to send electronic marketing messages by email, text, picture or video messaging. The only exception to this rule is where you intend to contact previous customers about similar products or services provided by your business, and they were offered an 'opt-out' when you first collected their contact details.
You must identify your business and provide an easy means to opt-out of receiving further electronic marketing with every message. You should therefore provide a valid email address or short code number for texts (as long as this does not incur premium rate charges). It is good practice to provide a link to your website for further contact details.
It is good practice to maintain your own 'do not contact' list to screen electronic marketing messages.

Step

Postal marketing

Your business only sends marketing mail to named individuals who have not objected to receiving mailings in compliance with the DPA.

Section 11 of the DPA gives individuals the right to issue your business with a written notice that their details should not be used for marketing purposes. Your business must comply with this notice. It is good practice to acknowledge the notice and confirm the marketing will stop. It is good practice to screen marketing mailings against the Mailing Preference Service (MPS), and you should also maintain your own 'do not contact' list to screen those who have notified you directly that they object to the receipt of marketing mailings.