Do I have to rely on consent to contact my customers?

No, under GDPR there are 6 legal bases for contacting customers - you may be able to contact customers by relying on a different legal basis...

The lawful bases for processing are set out in Article 6 of the GDPR. At least one must apply whenever you process personal data:

  1. Consent: Consent must be freely given, clearly distinguishable from other matters and simple to withdraw at any time.
  2. Contract: the processing is necessary for a contract you have with the individual.
  3. Legal obligation: the processing is necessary for you to comply with the law
  4. Vital Interests: the processing is necessary to protect someone’s life.
  5. Public Task: the processing is necessary for you to perform a task in the public interest or for your official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law.
  6. Legitimate Interests: the processing is necessary for your legitimate interests or the legitimate interests of a third party, unless there is a good reason to protect the individual’s personal data which overrides those legitimate interests.