Lawmaking and legislation are not what an average citizen is usually interested in. At least it used to be so before the General Data Protection Regulation came into force. Since its adoption in April 2016, everyone engaged in customer data handling has been trying to understand what GDPR compliance is. Up to €20 million penalties seemed so threatening that both large enterprises and SMEs immediately took steps to become GDPR compliant.

Although this data protection law mostly affects digital marketing, direct mail is also subject to it. With web-to-print, a large volume of customer data is processed and stored online. It is also often used for mail targeting and personalization. Compliant GDPR postal mailing lists help to protect such information and run mail campaigns based on legitimate interest.

That’s why Inkit encourages you to mail responsibly and consider laws regarding direct mail marketing. Believe us, GDPR can benefit your customer communication and marketing in numerous ways.

To make the GDPR easier for you, in today’s article, we’ll talk about:

  • GDPR takeaways: what is GDPR compliance & related terms
  • An action plan on how to make your marketing and mail GDPR compliant
  • Other laws regarding direct mail marketing
  • The benefits of GDPR for direct mail marketing

GDPR Takeaways: What is GDPR Compliance & Related Terms

There are several things we need to clarify from the start. They should help you better understand the main purpose and principles of the general data protection regulation. Let’s start from the ground.

What is GDPR Compliance?

The general data protection regulation (GDPR) is a law enabled by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to protect the data and privacy of the EU and EEA citizens. This regulation was adopted on 14 April 2016 and came into force on 25 May 2018. The primary purpose of the GDPR is to give people better control over their personal data. This law unifies the data privacy legislation within the EU, which previously differed among its member-countries. The GDPR applies to any entity that processes the data of EU and EEA data subjects regardless of its location.

Ready to captivate your customers?
Send personalized direct mail automatically based on customer actions.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.
Get Started Today
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.

Here’s a brief list of the main definitions which the GDPR is based on:

  • Personal information (data) is any data related to an identified or identifiable person (data subjects)
  • Processing is any operation that a public authority, person, or entity performs with personal data
  • Data controller is a public authority, person, or entity that determines how and for what purposes to process personal data
  • Data processor is a public authority, person, or entity that processes personal data
  • Data protection officer (DPO) is an individual or entity responsible for the GDPR compliance

For more terms used to define what is GDPR compliance and the full text of the data privacy law, visit this page.

An Action Plan on How to Make Your Marketing and Mail GDPR Compliant

Modern marketing is heavily based on personal information. Companies use data to address their customers, personalize content, and better promote their offers. With the appearance of the GDPR, the key principles of marketing remained unchanged – personalization and targeting still take the lead.

data protection

What changed is the level of transparency and customers’ impact on the use of their personal data. Today, an explicit user consent and the relevance of marketing are essential for regulatory compliance.

If you still haven’t achieved GDPR compliance or started working on a new marketing campaign, follow this plan:

  1. Determine whose data you process. Even if you are based outside the EU, you may handle data related to EU citizens, and such processing is regulated with the GDPR.
  2. Create a clear privacy policy that describes customer data processing and introduce the consent mechanism if you don’t have any.
  3. Review all third-parties that you share access to customer data with. Make sure they really need to use this information and handle it properly.
  4. Educate your staff about the main GDPR provisions (e.g., any data breach must be reported to national supervisory authorities within 72 hours, etc.).

Speaking of direct mail marketing, it’s worth focusing on GDPR postal mailing lists. The best thing about direct mail is that unlike marketing emails, it doesn’t require explicit permission to send. This gives you more marketing freedom, especially in terms of lead generation.

Then, how does the GDPR impact mail marketing?

Legitimate interest – this is the GDPR provision you should pay attention to if you run direct mail campaigns. Simply put, any print materials you send to customers must be relevant. The recipients on GDPR postal mailing lists should either expect such mail or at least won’t be too surprised to receive it. Besides, the mailing mustn’t put at risk the privacy of personal data.

To make your GDPR postal mailing lists comply with the provisions related to the legitimate interest, make sure to:

  • Clearly explain the benefits of mailing to the end recipients on GDPR postal mailing lists
  • Analyze the response to your mailings
  • Introduce an opt-out mechanism for people on your GDPR postal mailing lists and always exclude those who opt-out
  • Analyze how customers reacted to your previous marketing materials to confirm their interest
  • Utilize direct mail automation tool like Inkit integrated with a CRM or database to properly target and segment your audience

These simple recommendations will save you from the penalties resulting from GDPR non-compliance. In addition, the analyzed and filtered GDPR postal mailing lists will make your direct mail more effective since the contacted people will be interested in your offer.

Other Laws Regarding Direct Mail Marketing

We have already published an article on laws regarding direct mail marketing. Generally, healthcare and financial direct mail are two most strictly regulated fields. The reason is clear –  such mail pieces include a lot of personal data that must be protected from data breaches and disclosure. Although with general marketing mail everything it easier, make sure to familiarize yourself with main laws regarding direct mail marketing:

In case you use customers’ personal data for any type of mailing, Inkit recommends consulting with your legal advisor. It’s the easiest way to comply with all laws regarding direct mail marketing.

The Benefits of GDPR for Direct Mail Marketing and Customer Communication


Even though it may look like GDPR compliance brought marketers many troubles, in fact, it helped to solve them. Especially, in regards to postal marketing.

First of all, direct mail doesn’t require the consent of end-users. This allows you to target the people that don’t like receiving newsletters to their email addresses. Of course, you will need to make sure the mail content is of legitimate interest. But the key idea is that you get an additional touchpoint to convince customers to consider your offer.

Secondly, advanced targeting, which is the foundation of compliant GDPR mailing lists, increases your mail quality and security. You save money on printing and mailing by contacting the people who are glad to hear from you.

To achieve the GDPR compliance more easily, use Inkit’s direct mail automation tool. It allows you to personalize direct mail, make it more secure, and relevant. Get the demo to start testing it right now.

Ready to captivate your customers?
Send personalized direct mail automatically based on customer actions.
By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Up Next

Get Started With Inkit Today

Startups can now receive up to one year of complimentary access to Inkit.
Your work email address...
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.