The ICO exists to empower you through information.

On this page you’ll find all the guidance and information you need to support your direct marketing activities, use cookies or similar technologies, and provide electronic communication services to the public

Brief guidance 

An introduction to direct marketing

A step-by-step guide for organisations looking to carry out direct marketing. This guide is aimed at small businesses, but is suitable for any organisation wanting a brief overview of the rules surrounding direct marketing.

Privacy and electronic communications regulations (PECR): a guide

How to lawfully send electronic marketing messages by phone, email or text, use cookies or similar technologies, or provide electronic communications to the public.

Sending direct marketing messages: at-a-glance guide

A simple guide to the rules on sending direct marketing by phone call, electronic mail (email and text), fax and post.

Main guidance

Direct marketing: a guide

This guidance sets out what you need to consider and the actions you need to take when you want to carry out direct marketing activities.

Detailed guidance 

Live marketing calls

How PECR applies to making live direct marketing calls.

Electronic mail marketing

How PECR applies to electronic mail marketing (including emails and text messages).

Cookies and similar technologies

Definitions of cookies and similar technologies, the rules that apply when using them when operating an online service such as a website or mobile app, and how the UK GDPR applies to cookies.

Business-to-business marketing 

How to lawfully send marketing to other businesses.

Using data broking services for direct marketing purposes

Guidance for organisations using marketing services of data brokers. 

In your sector

Public sector and direct marketing

Guidance for public authorities on when public sector promotions count as direct marketing.

Regulatory communications and direct marketing

Guidance for the regulated private sector (eg finance, utilities, communications) to help decide when a regulatory communication message might count as direct marketing.

Political campaigning and personal data

How to apply the principles of data protection during political campaigning, how to profile people fairly, how to carry out direct marketing and research lawfully and how to protect information when campaigning online.


Direct marketing checklist

Step-by-step guidance through the process of using information for direct marketing purposes.

Choosing your lawful basis for sending direct marketing

Find out which lawful basis might be right one to use when sending marketing by phone, post, email or text, and what the PECR requirement is.

Direct marketing self-assessment checklist

Assess your business in the area of direct marketing in line with PECR and data protection legislation.

Training videos: PECR

Recordings of ICO staff training on the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR), available for you to reuse.

Direct marketing guidance impact assessment

Read the impact assessment report for our direct marketing guidance.

Responses to the 2020 consultation on a draft direct marketing code of practice

Read the summary of responses from our public consultation.

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