Marketing messages and personal data protection

In a world where marketing messages are the main driver of many businesses, or if not the main one, they contribute greatly to the growth of the number of customers and, implicitly, to the growth of the business, the conditions imposed the privacy laws on the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector) may, at times, be an obstacle for companies

Knowing the terms and conditions of sending marketing messages is essential in order to reach your customers in a legal way (from the point of view of personal data protection).

First of all, let's understand what a marketing message (or commercial communication, in legal terms) means. Thus, by marketing messages is meant any message (mail, SMS, etc.) through which you directly or indirectly promote certain services or goods.a.

Inform people

that you want to send them marketing messages.

How do you do that?

When collecting your email address or phone number, you must provide them with an information note ( in the online environment, you can do this by posting a privacy policy on your website; in the physical environment, by handing a document in paper format ).

This information note must be easy to understand, in an accessible language and contain all the elements provided by art. 13 of the GDPR (among others): the identification data of the operator, the purpose of the processing, the basis of the processing, the duration of storage, the recipients of the data, the rights of the data subjects.

You agree

Before sending marketing messages, you must obtain the express consent of the people to whom you want to send the messages;


  • it is forbidden to send unsolicited commercial messages without the person's express prior consent.
  • if you want to send a message asking for their consent, unfortunately you can't. This message is in itself a commercial message, so it cannot be sent without your prior consent.

What should you look for when agreeing?

  1. The marketing agreement must be "eight in" - that is, the person must clearly consent to the receipt of commercial messages;
  2. The box must not be pre -checked , nor must it be considered that the person has consented by simple inaction (ie, he has never given his consent and the mere fact that he does not oppose / unsubscribe is considered consent);
    I agree to receive commercial messages
  3. Next to the check mark, you must put a descriptive text . You can formulate the text in any way - the only condition is that the person clearly understands what he agrees to.
    I agree to receive commercial messages
  4. Consent must be free - ie access to a service cannot be conditional on the person's acceptance of receiving marketing messages (eg, if a user cannot create an account without accepting marketing messages, consent is not free and therefore not valid).
  5. All consents must be documented (recorded) in such a way that it can be proved:
    • In the online environment, the log check must be registered;
    • In the physical environment, it must be taken in writing through a form;
    • If taken orally, it must be documented in writing so that it can be proven;

Exception to obtaining consent

If you want to promote by email products that the customer has already purchased, you can send them commercial messages about similar products, but with one condition: at the time of obtaining the email, you give him the opportunity to oppose receiving such messages (from for example, by checking a box).

This exception is very difficult to implement.

If you haven't been able to oppose him since he gave you your email address, you can't send him messages (even if you give him that option with every message sent - through the so-called unsubscribe).

Withdrawal of agreement / opposition

The people to whom you send marketing messages have the right to withdraw their consent / to oppose the receipt of such messages, in which case you must stop sending them marketing messages.

Each message you send must contain a text on the right of persons to withdraw their consent / to object to the receipt of such messages (so-called unsubscribe).

Withdrawal of consent or opposition must be exercised as easily as consent has been obtained (for example, if they have checked that they agree to receive commercial messages, those customers must be able to unsubscribe by pressing a single button. ).