Dan Fossaceco - Lead Generation Director at REaD Group

By Dan Fossaceco, Lead Generation Director at REaD Group

As we look back on the developments of 2017, there are some things we expected to happen and some things we didn’t.

We expected there to be a clamour around GDPR and we expected ‘experts’ to come out of the woodwork to tell us everything would be alright…as long as we completely changed everything we knew about the consent, the processing and the holding and management of data.

We didn’t expect there to be a simple solution.

As Captain Kirk once said ‘Hang on tight and survive. Everybody does’

But will they?

Change is key, and adapting to change is more important than ever.

There isn’t a simple solution, but taking each part of GDPR individually makes it easier to digest, and what this piece will attempt to go over is the acquisition of new consumers – just how do we ensure that we have consumers to contact in June 2018?

The first thing to discuss is the sales funnel, because we all use it.

‘For every ten people I contact I will make one sale – I need to make 10,000 sales so I need to ‘‘buy’’ 100,000 contacts to make my sales.’

Post GDPR this WILL become more difficult; properly consented data will be harder to get hold of. The hoops that processors and owners of data will have to jump through will increase. That’s not to say it will be impossible, but it will be harder.

So all doom and gloom?


So what exactly are we purchasing?

Let’s break down what we were purchasing – we weren’t purchasing a consent, (albeit a 3rd party consent) – we were purchasing sales, not contacts.

When it comes to having clear and concise consent, there is no doubt that first party is the aspirational standard. There are a variety of means to obtain a first party consent

By obtaining 1st party consents ahead of May, brands will be in the best position to continue to communicate with prospective and existing consumers.

But what about the volumes? Let’s look back at the original statement:

‘What exactly are we purchasing?’

If we are purchasing sales and not contacts then the most important change that needs to take place is conversion.

The best way for consumers to increase their engagement with brands is to actively seek them out for communication; this can happen in two ways. Either via inbound communications through website or aggregator sites, or by gaining the initial interest using third party websites – this gives the comfort of a first party opt in with the added benefit of it being based on performance.

It’s proven that a solid relationship with consumers increases engagement and buying levels, so why not get the consumer to do the initial work for you and ask to be contacted?

Maybe we all need to calm down a bit and understand what makes our businesses tick; its customers, and customers who WANT to interact with our brands, are invaluable.

Finally, to finish off with another quote from the enterprise…albeit tweaked – ‘its data, Jim, but not as we know it.’


photograph of hand writing the words Direct Mail

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.