The Rules for Direct Marketing & eMail Marketing in the UK

Despite all the publicity generated by the introduction of GDPR, there is still a lot of confusion over the rules for using mailing lists and email lists for direct marketing in the UK. This brief guide aims to dispel a few myths and clarify what marketers can and cannot do in the post-GDPR UK.

Business-to-business marketing: the marketing of business services or business products to people at work.

Emails
You can send promotional emails to corporate email addresses. This includes personal corporate email addresses e.g. John.Smith@BigCompany.co.uk. You do not need consent or opt-ins to be able to do this. You should offer a way for individuals to opt out of receiving further emails from you. If an individual opts out you should not contact that person again.

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You can send promotional mail to individuals at companies and other corporate bodies. Individual employees can opt out of receiving mail from you.

Telemarketing
You can make live sales and marketing calls to companies that have not registered their phone number on the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS). You can check whether a number is registered on the CTPS for free here https://www.electricmarketing.co.uk/ctpschecker/

You must have specific consent to make marketing calls about claims management services. You need specific consent to make recorded marketing calls to any phone number.

Consumer marketing: the marketing of products and services to people in their homes or on personal numbers or to personal email addresses. This also applies to marketing to sole traders and partnerships.

Emails
You must have specific consent to send promotional emails to personal email addresses. However you may send emails about similar products to your previous customers as long as they have been given the chance to opt out.

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You can send promotional mail to people in their homes as long as the names and addresses have been obtained fairly. Individuals can opt out of receiving mail from you.

Telemarketing
You can make live sales and marketing calls to numbers that have not been registered with the Telephone Preference Service. People can opt out of receiving calls from you. You must have specific consent to make marketing calls about claims management services or pension schemes. You need specific consent to make recorded marketing calls to any phone number.

Texts
You must have specific consent to send promotional texts to personal numbers. However you may send texts about similar products to your previous customers as long as they have been given the chance to opt out.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is responsible for the regulation of data protection, freedom of information and privacy and electronic communications in the UK. The ICO’s guide to direct marketing can be seen here: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/marketing/

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