Direct marketing and the law
- 11 May 2023
- Edited 30 Jun 2021
- 1 min
If you engage in direct marketing, you have to comply with certain laws and legislation. For example, when approaching new customers. It does not matter where you got their details. Whether you got them from the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK, a commercial data vendor, or scraping. In the Netherlands and Europe, we have agreed on ground rules about approaching consumers and companies directly for commercial purposes.
GDPR privacy legislation
The GDPR protects the use of personal data, not company data. Personal data are data that can be used to identify a person. Companies and agencies that use personal data are required to comply with the GDPR, also when purchasing personal data from the Business Register. Many self-employed people (zzp’ers), for instance, work from home. This means that their business address is generally identical to their home address, making it personal data. In that case, you are not always allowed to use their address.
If they are a customer or have been a customer in the past, you are allowed to approach them to offer them similar products and/or services. In all other cases, you must obtain consent first or need another legal basis (in Dutch) to use their address.
If you are planning on doing market research over the phone, make sure to check the MOA Research filter (in Dutch) first. This register lists individuals who have opted out of telephone market research. As of 1 July 2021, it is no longer permitted to cold call leads for marketing purposes, which means you can only call natural persons if they have opted in in advance or are already your customer.
Mail or door-to-door sales
You are not allowed to send commercial mail to businesses that have notified KVK that they do not wish to receive commercial mail by activating the Non-Mailing Indicator (NMI). Our databases have a separate NMI data field. You can also request files that automatically exclude companies with an NMI. We recommend that you also consult the NMI if you receive address information from third parties (not directly from KVK). Moreover, you should always clearly indicate how recipients can opt out from receiving commercial mail. The same requirements apply to door-to-door sales.
Emails and digital messages
Sending digital messages for commercial, idealistic, or charitable purposes is prohibited in the Netherlands. This covers email as well as phone messages (texts or MMS messages) and messages sent on forums and social media such as Twitter and Facebook. This is governed by the Telecommunications Act. If you want to use data from the Business Register for email marketing, you must obtain the data subjects' prior consent. You should record this consent and keep the records available for regulators. These requirements do not apply if someone is or has been a customer of your company.