LONDON 1 March 2018

We are absolutely delighted that REaD Group CEO, Jon Cano-Lopez, has been confirmed as a member of the 2018 DataIQ 100 which profiles the most influential people in the data industry.

Announced at a Gala Reception at OXO Tower last night, Jon joins an impressive list of people acknowledged to have the influence, profile, experience and knowledge to drive the data-driven marketing industry.

I am delighted and flattered to be selected for the DataIQ 100.  It is an honour to be recognised and to be associated with such an impressive list of data and analytics professionals – particularly at such an exciting time for the data industry.

Jon has worked in the data industry all his career, with an impressive CV spanning more than 25 years – including leading some of the UK’s largest data companies – Claritas, Altwood Systems, Acxiom, Ai Data Intelligence, Communisis and currently and now, as CEO of REaD Group – Jon has built a reputation for driving innovation and success in data communications.

He joined REaD Group in 2014, as part of the company’s exponential growth and is responsible for the strategic direction and continued success of the business – including adding some top brands to its A-list client base.

At the heart of this strategy is his belief that data sits at the heart of everything and understanding and interpreting that data is key to any brands success

In addition to building on REaD Group’s position as market leader in data cleaning and quality, he has been instrumental in developing the company’s service offerings – including an enviable insight capability and winning contracts for the delivery of Single Customer View solutions reflecting a real benchmark for REaD Group.

An advocate of utilising technology to drive innovation and deliver optimum results for clients – Jon is the driving force behind the implementation of Data as a Service (DaaS) at REaD Group.  As well as raising the bar for data quality and provision in the industry, the implementation of the GDPR throws up significant complexities for data processors and DaaS provides an elegant and equitable solution to that challenge.

Jon has been an authoritative contributor to the direct marketing throughout his career holding positions on DMA’s Data Council, various working parties and the Institute of Direct Marketing Data Council.  A genuine industry influencer, he is sought after as a media commentator and trusted advisor on data marketing, privacy, compliance and the GDPR.

Congratulation to Jon for this much deserved recognition!

The full 2018 DataIQ 100  can be found here


The lack of clarity in the run up to GDPR has been shocking. This statement provides much needed clarity on how to remain on the right side of the legal minefield and make the most of the opportunity that GDPR really presents.

REaD Group have been involved from the very earliest stages of GDPR.  We have been at the forefront of negotiation, lobbying and discussion for the last six years.  Consequently, our knowledge of the regulation itself, the intended meaning and what it means for the Direct Marketing industry is unrivalled.

REaD Group is unequivocally supportive of the GDPR.  All the decisions we have made surrounding the permissions required to use third party data for direct marketing activity under GDPR have been externally validated by Bristows LLP, widely regarded as this country’s leading data protection lawyers.

REaD Group have been working towards becoming a GDPR ready business for the last three years. We have made significant changes to our own data collection methods and how we obtain, retain and maintain our data and data solutions.  Our contributor due diligence processes we believe are unparalleled and unique in the scrutiny of GDPR requirements and we have enhanced our internal IT solutions.

It is important to remember the purpose of GDPR is simple; to give consumers greater control and transparency over the use of their data. Most importantly, GDPR will change marketing communications for the better – more open, more honest and more transparent and in turn that will deliver a more positively disposed, aware and trusting consumer, which has to be good for us all.

Our Stance

REaD Group has enhanced its safeguarding processes to ensure every piece of personal data made available to you has been collected in a GDPR ready manner. This inevitably means there will be changes to our products as we ensure that all data has been lawfully processed in line with GDPR. No data is accepted into our data estate until our due diligence and auditing processes have been satisfactorily concluded. This includes adherence to a number of significant and mandatory GDPR rules established by our GDPR Steering Group.


In the recent weeks and months there have been conflicting opinions surrounding the level of consent required for data to be available for third party direct marketing post May 2018.

The issue of consent has created an enormous amount of confusion.  What is it? How is it obtained? What channels does it apply to?  Or indeed, do I need it at all?  Consent of course, is only one of six legal grounds to process personal data under GDPR, yet it has occupied a disproportionate amount of the airtime serving only to confuse further.

At REaD we prefer to ask – Do we have permission?  In other words, do we have grounds from one of the six processing purposes?  In most cases with our data assets permission means the processing of data collected either with consent or as a legitimate interest. Both of these grounds for processing are equally valid and our products will be selectable on either or both.

This means if you are planning a postal marketing campaign, you won’t need consent. You can rely on using legitimate interests, if you can show how your use of the consumer data is proportionate, has a minimal privacy impact and the consumer is unlikely to be surprised or object.  To be clear, within GDPR itself, Direct Marketing is specifically singled out as a legitimate purpose.

Being GDPR ready is about balancing risk.  When you decide to use REaD Group data, we advise you to conduct the necessary balancing exercise between your interests in direct marketing and the rights of the consumers. REaD Group will have conducted this exercise ourselves under our obligations as data controller.  We also advise you to ensure that consumers know exactly how you intend to use their data.  Our experience tells us that the more open and honest you are the better it is received by consumers.

Of course, our in-house experts will be more than happy to talk you through this note as well as your specific concerns or campaign ideas.  We have done the vast majority of the work for you in building a GDPR ready data asset so we can all market ourselves confidently and securely.

Want to talk GDPR?  Contact our team today.

By Mark Roy, Chairman and Founder of REaD Group

So, at last a bit of welcome news from the ICO.  In black and white in new guidance for the charity sector.  Consent is NOT required if you are using direct mail and relying on Legitimate Interest.  Considering the amount of utter nonsense being spouted by SO many ‘overnight experts’ this is an extraordinarily timely piece of clear-cut advice from the ICO to marketers.

That said, it was rather curiously tucked away in the FAQ’s of the advice specifically designed for the charity sector.  That very same sector that has spent the last 24 months, since the Etherington review, paralysed with fear of potential repercussions of using data incorrectly.  Ironic really, when the mainstay of British fundraising had always been direct mail, that it is now that very same channel that will no doubt bring about the resurgence in charitable marketing.

ICO: You won’t need consent for postal marketing …If you don’t need consent under PECR you can rely on legitimate interests for marketing activities if you can show how you use people’s data is proportionate, has a minimal privacy impact, and people would not be surprised or likely to object.

Of course this doesn’t just apply to charities, it applies to any organisation that has a legitimate interest to process data, no matter what sector.  It is very important to realise that when, late in the day, the EU added those 18 words to clause 47 of GDPR – namely “The processing of personal data for Direct marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for legitimate purposes” – they meant Direct Mail!

Today, direct mail is regarded very differently from a decade ago.

70% of respondents said that mail makes them feel more valued (up from 57% in 2013).  Source: Royal Mail Market Reach: The Value of mail in uncertain times, August 2017

It turns out that compared to email, SMS or voice calls it is perceptibly a comparative saint. It is remarkably unobtrusive and has the tactility to create real connections with the recipient and relay real brand value.

The ICO should be applauded for this much needed definitive advice, much more of the same is required… please!  Hopefully then, and I suspect only then, will we see an end to the ridiculous scaremongering and be able to get on with running our businesses whilst continuing to protect the consumer interest.

There has never been a better time to plan your next Direct Mail campaign.  We might know a thing or two about that…get in touch to explore the huge opportunity this clarity presents.