GDPR spelled out in wooden blocks on a table

GDPR & Partially Addressed Mail - Do You Need to Worry? 

When the EU (European Union)  introduced GDPR (general data protection regulation) on 25th May 2018, marketers were left wondering how they would process, store and utilise personal data they had on prospects and customers.

However, Royal Mail’s Partially Addressed Mail swooped in and saved the day! 

What is GDPR?

The GDPR is a law that dictates exactly what organisations can and cannot do with personal data - such as email addresses, phone numbers or customer names. Although the law was passed in the EU, it applies to any global organisation with data linked to people living in the EU. Any business found to have violated the GDPR privacy and security standards runs the risk of having harsh fines imposed against them.

Businesses found to be in contravention of the GDPR are likely looking at stiff (and we mean stiff) fines. The fine can be applied either as a flat fee or as a percentage of that business’ global revenue. The maximum amount enforceable is €20 million or 4% of global revenue (whichever figure is higher).

Up until the United Kingdom (UK) left the EU on 31st January 2020, any UK business had to follow GDPR rules, and for companies dealing with personal data within the EU they must continue to follow GDPR guidelines. If you have questions surrounding GDPR compliance and direct mail, speak to Sorted Direct Mail today.

Reaching prospects post-GDPR

Bridging the gap between non-personal Door Drops and completely personalised Fully Addressed Mail, Partially Addressed Mail that doesn’t use any personal data but still offers a great level of targeting by utilising geo-demographics at a postcode level. 

Created by Royal Mail, Partially Addressed Mail is a cost-effective way for companies to target cold prospects, without worrying about the use of personal data. 

This is because the mail piece is addressed to the household instead of a specific person. Marketers can also use campaign-specific names. This makes customer acquisition much easier, as no personal data is required, which means you don’t need to worry about GDPR.

How does partially addressed mail work? 

Marketers can target small groups of 15 households through two methods: Top-Up and Look-A-Like. 

These mailings are usually addressed with a relevant (and catchy) title. For example, a pet company may use the title, ‘Pawrent!’ and a takeaway may title a piece of mail ‘Foodie’ or ‘Food lover’, really grabbing your audience’s attention.


For areas where companies have an established customer base, marketers can ‘Top-up’ postcodes to extend their reach where their services or products are already being purchased. 


For organisations that want to identify customers in new areas, ‘Look-A-Like’ highlights postcodes where people may have the same or similar interests to their existing customer base. 

Partially Addressed Mail: the big benefits

Research has shown that marketers can reach 30% more households through Partially Addressed Mail.

Personal data isn’t needed

Partially Addressed Mail does not require the use of personal data, making it completely GDPR compliant. It works like this: we at Sorted use your existing customer data to identify customer-rich postcodes. We then use geo-demographics to identify and target similar customer postcodes. There is no breach of GDPR as this mail is partially addressed to the ‘home owner’ or ‘occupant’ (unlike direct or personalised mail which will contain personal data).

High engagement rates 

Partially Addressed Mail is tremendously effective. It has an engagement rate of 86% and an action rate of 26%. It also has an average shelf life of just over 7 days. When compared to promotional emails, these stats indicate how successful physical mail can be in remaining front-of-mind with consumers.

Helping Costco increase memberships with Partially Addressed Mail 

When multinational wholesalers, Costco wanted to increase their memberships and sales, and re-engage old members, we knew that Partially Addressed Mail would help them exceed their goals, on time and on budget. 

Working with Costco and Royal Mail, we created an eye-catching direct mail marketing campaign that targeted similar audiences to their existing database. 

We sent mailing to half a million people door to door for three months, and did a cut out mailer door drop over three months. 

The importance of data management

Whilst Partially Addressed Mail doesn’t need to be GDPR compliant, if you’re obtaining customer data from this, that’s when it is time to start following regulation and managing data.

Managing and keeping data up-to-date is vital in ensuring its accuracy and reliability. That’s where Sorted Direct Mail comes in. We sort, cleanse and manage your database, ensuring it is GDPR compliant (and that every penny of the marketing budget is going towards viable customers!).

Let us handle your Partially Addressed and Direct Mail needs

With over two decades of experience, there is no print, packaging or mail project that we cannot handle. We offer bespoke mail services for businesses across a wide range of industries, including housing, charity, automotive and more.
Get your Partially Addressed Mail needs (and all other mail needs) sorted. Contact the experts today.

Contact Us

Ham Lane, Kingswinford, DY6 7JU

01384 296817

Monday – Friday: 08:00 – 17:00

Sorted UK Logo
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience.AcceptPrivacy Policy