In 2020, Everlytic and Elizabeth de Stadler from Novation Consulting hosted a POPIA Webinar Series to unpack the legalities of the POPIA legislation that will be enforceable in South Africa from 1 July 2021. In this POPIA Q&A blog series, we share some of the questions we received during the three webinars and the answers Elizabeth provided. This blog covers the questions we received on defining direct marketing.

POPIA Q&A: What is Direct Marketing? | Everlytic | Defining direct marketing | Businessman at desk

Direct Marketing Q&A:

You don’t need consent to send information to existing customers relating to their services (i.e.: notifications about their accounts), if they’re related to the services you do for them.

There are some cases where companies are marketing to customers via their account statements. This won’t be permitted, as you need permission to market to people, but people can’t opt out of something like a credit card statement.

Elizabeth from Novation Consulting recommends that you unbundle these types of communication, so marketing doesn’t piggyback off of your service messages. Organisations in Europe have gotten into trouble for doing this.

There are two ways, essentially, of marketing via social media. The one way is by targeting people of certain demographics with certain interests – these are people you don’t know. The other way is by uploading the contact details of the specific people you want to show ads to on social media – these are people you do know.

POPIA applies to the second case, when you do know the people you’re marketing to. This is direct marketing as you’re targeting specific individuals who are known to you.

The South African government is subject to data-privacy laws and must comply just like everyone else. Whether the laws in a foreign country apply to their government will depend on their legislation.