The use of databases to enhance marketing efforts is very common. Such databases must be used in accordance with the personal data protection rules described above (see Question 23). Where data are obtained from third-parties, the company should always ensure that they have been lawfully collected.
Where personal data are used for direct marketing purposes by e-mail, the prior consent (opt-in) of the individual will generally be required, even in a B2B environment. An opt-out possibility (unsubscribe link) can however be sufficient for promotional e-mails sent to existing clients (as opposed to prospective clients) if the e-mail pertains to products similar to those already bought by the same client.
The use of other tracking devices for marketing purposes is subject to the individual's consent, after being provided with adequate information as to their use. The best-known example of such a tracking device is cookies, the use of which for (behavioural) advertising purposes requires the prior information and consent of the individual, generally through a banner on the homepage.