We have the right to contact our staff and students to share information related to their work or studies (e.g. an updated safety policy or a change in timetabling), or to share free benefits which they have access to through their employment or study at Imperial (e.g. the Confidential Care helpline for staff).

However, we need to be careful to avoid sending direct marketing to staff and students without their consent as this is against the law.

More content falls under the definition of direct marketing than you might expect. Newsletters would be categorised as direct marketing if you are doing any of the following:

  • Trying to sell something
  • Trying to fundraise
  • Trying to influence beliefs or politics
  • Promoting/communicating a staff benefit with a potential cost
  • Promoting/communicating something not related to Imperial’s core activities and not related to the staff member’s job/student’s course. If it is one and not the other that is fine – e.g. an update about the White City Campus (related to core activity but not necessarily to job/course), or a free external development course (related to job/course but not core activity)

Promoting events which are organised by the College and free to attend do not count as direct marketing even if they are open to the public, as long as they are related to the recipients’ work or studies. If the event is not related to work or studies, or there is a cost to attend, then promoting it would qualify as direct marketing.

You should not send direct marketing content to staff or students without their prior consent – they need to opt in to receive it.

If you have a one-off piece of direct marketing content to promote, you could contact Elizabeth or Nikita to see if there is an existing sign up newsletter which would be appropriate.

If you are not sure if your content counts as direct marketing, or what approach you should take, please contact Elizabeth Nixon (Internal Communications Manager) or Robert Scott (Data Protection Officer).

More information about direct marketing is available on Imperial's data protection webpages.

For Poppulo users

If you would like to send direct marketing content to staff or students, there are two ways of managing this with Poppulo:

  • You can create a separate newsletter for direct marketing contents which staff/students sign up to receive. If you want to manage the sign ups within Poppulo, we would need to create a separate account for you set up to use subscription rather than distribution lists. Find out more about sign up forms within Poppulo
  • You can use the personalised content options within Poppulo to send direct marketing content within your existing newsletter only to staff/students who have opted in to receive it. You would need to create a sign up form that adds people who sign up to a tag, and then edit the piece of content so it is only displayed to people on the tag.