Emarsys data field "Offline Mail Opt-In"

Are you an Emarsys user, have come across the editor shown below and are now unsure what that means for you and your marketing activities with direct mail? We would be happy to explain.

As a general rule, direct mail does not require Opt-in. You may, however, occasionally receive a request from a customer to Opt-out of receiving your mailings. We have made it easy for you to prevent offline mail from being sent in these cases. 

We have added a custom data field to your Emarsys account called "Direct Mail Opt-In". You should be able to see this for yourself in the Field Editor. If, in the course of compiling your mailing, we find a "falsy" value (f, false, no, none, 0) in this field for any subscriber, they will be excluded from your mailing's recipient list. Otherwise, all subscribes are considered "opted-in" by default.

You can see the total number of recipients that have been excluded due to Opt-out in your mailing summary.

The legislator provides for an exception for postal mailings (letters, postcards etc.). Although the list privilege for direct marketing under Section 28 (3) BDSG is no longer mentioned in the GDPR, the new regulation stipulates that Art. 6 (1) (f), which refers to Recital 47, applies to direct advertising: The processing of personal data for the purpose of direct advertising can be regarded as processing serving a legitimate interest and therefore does not require explicit consent. However, customers retain their written right of objection (opt-out channel) to object to being contacted by post. Furthermore, according to recital 47, the interests of the data subject must also be taken into account.

Postal advertising – Opt-out

The basic advantage of postal advertising into the letterbox is that it is initially assumed that the recipient agrees to the mailing. At least until he or she has not objected to the delivery and thus the consent. This is the opt-out procedure, in which the recipient must always actively object to the mailing. Until then, postal advertising may be sent. Accordingly, the legal requirements for the sender are lower.

1. Existing customers

If a business relationship already exists, this is considered to be personally addressed advertising. A prior explicit consent as with email advertising is not required. These letters always end up in the mailbox because they are addressed directly. The postal operator is obliged to deliver personally addressed letters and thus also advertising. However, the recipient is free to object to the use of his or her own data for advertising purposes at any time, as the lawful use of data must also be observed when advertising by post. Information about this right must be provided and the objection must be observed.

2. Customer data of third parties

Data of potential customers from the list of third parties may also be used. It is independent of whether this data is provided against payment or free of charge. However, it must be ensured that the collection of the data used was lawful. The recipient must also be informed about the source of the data. Furthermore, it must be ensured that the recipient objects by registering on the so-called Robinson list. This list was introduced to prevent the recipient from receiving unsolicited advertising mail. Serious providers of addresses respect this and can provide information about the origin of the data.

3. Risk

Even if in cases of postal advertising the recipient must always object first and thus become active. Illegal advertising by post can also threaten the sender with a penalty in the form of an administrative fine or a warning. In these cases, however, the recipient must be able to prove that he or she had actively objected to the advertising.


You can use the offline opt-in field at any time to exclude certain contacts. However, this is only necessary after the respective recipient has previously objected. An email opt-out is not a direct mail opt-out.

You can find more information in this and this blog post.