Emailing to the U.K.? Marketing Consent Just Got Specific

Emailing to the U.K.? Marketing Consent Just Got Specific image uk flag 700x525Emailing to the U.K.? Marketing Consent Just Got SpecificIf you’re a direct marketer in the United Kingdom, your legal obligations just got clearer … and possibly more complicated.

Last week, the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued a new guidance that further clarifies direct marketing dos and don’ts under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR).

Here’s the gist:

For organizations that use the electronic channels of email, text and/or phone calls to send marketing messages, they must obtain “extremely clear and specific” consent from individuals for each form of electronic messages.

And here’s a slight expansion:

When an individual gives consent allowing an organization to send him/her email communications, the organization cannot automatically extend that consent to cover text and/or phone messages. Rather, the individual must specifically and clearly grant consent for each type of electronic marketing communication he/she receives from any organization, currently inclusive of email, text, and phone messages.

Clarified expectations and common sense

According to the ICO, the new guidance for U.K. marketing consent is the first in a series that will “help organisations to fully understand their obligations and to promote good practice.”

At 45 pages I wouldn’t call it a quick read, but it’s designed to help companies quickly find relevant information and links about their particular issues and concerns. In my opinion, it’s pretty easily accessible and most of the recommendations and requirements are best practices for digital marketing.

Here are the key recommendations for direct marketers who are based in the U.K. and/or doing business in the U.K.:

  • Demonstrate that consent was knowingly given, clear and specific. Do not use pre-checked boxes;
  • Carry out rigorous checks before relying on indirect consent (i.e., consent originally given to a third party). Indirect consent is unlikely to be valid for calls, texts or e-mails, particularly if it is generic or nonspecific;
  • Avoid making any automated prerecorded marketing calls without specific prior consent or to any number registered with the U.K.’s Telephone Preference Service (TPS), where customers can opt out of marketing calls;
  • Stop sending marketing messages to any person who objects or opts out of receiving them; and
  • Make rigorous checks (screen third party data against the TPS) when either buying or selling marketing lists.

Emailing to the U.K.? Marketing Consent Just Got Specific image UK checklist bigger 700x517Emailing to the U.K.? Marketing Consent Just Got Specific

Get the information

Get the ICO’s direct marketing guidance.

Photo courtesy of ell brown, used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.

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