GDPR compliant: postal mailings still do not require an opt-in
The forthcoming EU data protection basic regulation (GDPR) poses great challenges for marketers. Especially in email marketing, massive effort and coverage losses of more than 50% could occur. With postal mailings (letters, postcards, etc.), on the other hand, almost 100% of the customer base can still be addressed. Some companies already use letters and postcards to obtain the necessary email opt-in. We have spoken to data protection experts on this topic and summarized the most important findings.
Postal mailings can still be used in CRM without consent
The legislator provides for an exception for postal mailings (letters, postcards etc.). Although the list privilege for direct marketing under Section 28 (3) BDSG is no longer mentioned in the GDPR, the new regulation stipulates that Art. 6 (1) (f), which refers to Recital 47, applies to direct advertising: The processing of personal data for the purpose of direct advertising can be regarded as processing serving a legitimate interest and therefore does not require explicit consent. However, customers retain their written right of objection (opt-out channel) to object to being contacted by post. Furthermore, according to recital 47, the interests of the data subject must also be taken into account. How exactly this is handled in individual cases will also be shown in the future by case law – many questions have not yet been sufficiently answered here. The specialist lawyer for IT law Dr. Martin Schirmbacher, HÄRTING Rechtsanwälte (Law firm), is already giving some more clarity on this:
“The GPPR gives greater flexibility in individual marketing issues. Thus, some direct marketing measures can be based on justified company interests and do not require explicit customer consent, such as postal mailings in existing customer marketing. Even the storage of data in CRM systems does not always require an opt-in from the customer”.
In addition, current trends show that the digitalisation of the channel is continuing to progress. Software tools such as optilyz are already helping to make CRM data automatically usable for letters, postcards etc. For example, postal mailings are smoothly integrated into omni-channel campaigns, their dispatch is automated and customer segments are approached much more specifically.
More than half of the email addresses in German CRM do not comply with the provisions of the GDPR
For online marketing (which in this case includes emails), § 7 UWG continues to apply, as it is based on Art. 13. of the EU Directive for Electronic Communications (2002/58/EC) in the version of Directive 2009/136/EC, which is not repealed by the GDPR. However, the level of penalties in the event of an infringement has been raised enormously, so that non-conformity by email will no longer be an option in future. The data protection expert Prof. Dr. Christoph Bauer, Professor for Entrepreneurship, Media and Leadership at the HSBA, therefore sees a need to catch up, especially in email marketing:
“The implementation of the GDPR requires some work, especially because of the extensive documentation required. For example, existing email lists must be checked for GDPR conformity by the end of May 2018. If email addresses do not meet all criteria, such as double opt-in, they may no longer be used in email marketing. The other channels must also be set up exactly according to the new requirements. Because the risk is significant: penalties of up to 20 million euros or up to 4% of the worldwide annual turnover are threatened”.
However, only about 45% of the email addresses registered in Germany to date in existing customer marketing fulfil these criteria. Furthermore, in many cases the reference to the right of revocation of the consent given is missing. In other words, around half of the existing email addresses could lose their validity from 25 May 2018 and companies must expect massive sales losses due to the threat of loss of reach.
With optilyz you use letters and postcards to obtain the necessary email opt-in
What at first sounds like a clever PR gag is for many marketers an efficient way to bring ailing email lists to life and increase opt-in rates. These usually only range between 2%-8%. And as already mentioned, addressing existing customers by post does not require explicit consent. Simply send your customers a personalised letter with an opt-in link for email registration.
With the optilyz platform, you can create postal opt-in campaigns (and many more such as second-order push, welcome and reactivation mailings) guaranteed GDPR-compliant in just a few minutes. Are you curious? Then contact us and we will get back to you immediately.
(Disclaimer: This text does not replace legal advice)