Direct Mail Systems

Direct Mail Systems provides tailored, flexible and effective mailing house solutions to meet clients needs, and exceed their expectations.

Founded in 1974, Direct Mail Systems is a Bristol based fulfilment and mailing house, providing organisations access to a complete range of mailing and data processing services.

Direct Mail Systems expertise is in rapid response mail production. Our 12,000 sq ft mailing house facility has a huge range of printing, enclosing & wrapping equipment to accommodate all your mailing needs.

Finding the balance between reaching out to current and prospective customers and respecting their privacy is paramount. Despite being a traditional method, direct mail still holds significant value in effectively reaching target audiences. However, with data privacy concerns at the forefront, businesses must navigate direct mail campaigns with sensitivity and adherence to best practices regarding customer privacy. Keep reading for all you need to know regarding customer privacy in direct mail.

  • What is customer privacy in terms of direct mail?

  • What legislation is in place surrounding direct mail?

  • Best practices for ensuring customer privacy in direct mail

  • Sending direct mail that respects customer privacy


What is Customer Privacy in Terms of Direct Mail? 

Now more than ever, people are increasingly wary of how their personal information is collected, used, and shared. Direct mail, while not as inherently invasive as digital marketing methods, still requires the collection and use of customer data for targeting purposes. The amount of data used will vary on the campaign, however, the most common data used is addresses, names, and past purchase history. 

It is important to respect customer privacy to gain your audience’s trust, as well as adhere to any legal requirements surrounding customer privacy. A serious data breach and the mishandling of personal information is a major concern and could cause havoc for a business’s reputation if it were to occur.


What Risks Are There Concerning Customer Privacy?

Direct mail can highlight various lists when it comes to customer privacy and the use of personal data, which include: 

  • Unauthorised access to customer database
  • Data breaches leading to exposure of customer data
  • Data mishandling resulting in data leaks
  • Third-party risks
  • Insider threats from employees or those within an organisation
  • Social engineering attacks


What Legislation is in Place Surrounding Direct Mail? 

In the UK, businesses must comply with data protection laws, especially when sending direct mail. 

Data Protection Act & GDPR

The Data Protection Act is the UK’s implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Data Protection Act 2018 controls how personal information is used by organisations, businesses and the government. Everyone responsible for using personal data has to follow a set of strict rules called the ‘data protection principles’ which can be found here

GDPR & Direct Mail 

When it comes to direct mail, it’s important businesses comply with GDPR to avoid legal penalties and fines. According to the law, marketers need explicit consent or legitimate interest to send out direct mail to their target audiences. The ICO states that postal marketing does not require consent, however, if the customers’ name is being used on a flyer or letter you must have a lawful basis for using this personal data.

When it comes to unaddressed mail, for example, mail that is addressed to ‘The Ownerowner’ or ‘The Occupier’, this is classed as GDPR-friendly


Best Practices for Ensuring Customer Privacy in Direct Mail

Understand the Law

The very first best practice for customer privacy and direct mail is to understand the privacy concerns as well as the legal landscape surrounding it. Stay up to date on GDPR as well as the lawful bases your company is working under. 

Transparent Data Collection Practises

When collecting customer data for direct mail campaigns, transparency is key. Clearly communicate to customers what data you are collecting, why you are collecting it, and how it will be used. Obtain explicit consent whenever possible, and allow customers to easily opt out of data collection and mailing lists if they choose to do so. By being transparent and respectful of customers' preferences, you can foster a sense of trust and accountability.

Secure Data Handling & Storage

Once collected, all customer data must be handled and stored securely to prevent unauthorised access or misuse. Companies must invest in robust data security measures to safeguard sensitive information, such as encryption, firewalls, and regular security audits. It is also a good idea to limit access to customer data to only those employees who require it for legitimate business purposes and ensure that all staff members are trained in data privacy best practices.

Respect Opt-Out Requests Promptly

Respecting a customer’s right to control their data by promptly honouring opt-out requests is vital. Provide clear instructions for opting out of direct mail communications, and ensure that these requests are processed promptly. Additionally, regularly update your mailing lists to remove individuals who have opted out or whose contact information has become outdated. By demonstrating your commitment to respecting customer preferences, you can maintain positive relationships with your audiences and prevent a tarnished brand image. 

Employee Training & Awareness

Making sure all employees are aware of the risks surrounding customer privacy and the importance of protecting it is essential in staying compliant and protecting your customer data. Everyone should be trained in identifying phishing emails or cyber attacks to protect against a security breach and those conducting direct mail campaigns should be aware of who and who cannot receive the direct mail campaigns, based on their opt-in status as well as a legitimate interest. 


Sending Direct Mail That Respects Customer Privacy

Although customer privacy surrounding direct mail may seem complicated, it is not as complex as you may think. Although you can’t just send your direct mail campaign to anyone, there is still a wide opportunity to get your message in front of the right people, whether they are opted into your marketing preferences or not. 

With the help of DMS, we can support you in creating and sending an engaging and effective direct mail campaign for prospective and current customers, ensuring you remain compliant every step of the way. From printing and production using our state-of-the-art equipment and materials to organising the postage and sending of our mailer, we are the mailing house for the job. Our talented team are always on hand to help and are experienced in all things direct mail. 

For more information or to talk to the team, click here.

Enquire with Direct Mail Systems today

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