Adam Tolcher and Louis Sage in front of the REaD Group stand at Fundraising Live 2020

After attending Fundraising Live at the beginning of February and sponsoring the CDAO UK event last week, we caught up with Louis and Adam for their biggest takeaways and insights from both events – there’s certainly plenty of food for thought and encouraging signs that charities and businesses alike are beginning to explore and appreciate the value of their data!

Fundraising Live

Since GDPR’s introduction nearly two years ago it’s safe to say that charities on the whole have been somewhat nervous and conservative when it has come to their fundraising activities. However, from the majority of charities we spoke to at the event, it seems that many are beginning to adopt a more proactive rather than reactive approach. A noticeable dip in fundraising income has been felt amongst charities that have relied upon traditional activities such as bucket collections – as more people embrace contactless payment and fewer people regularly carry change.

Personalisation is key

Insight was a hot topic, and this has seen many re-evaluating their marketing strategies as they are keen to better understand their supporters and find out what drives people to give. Coupled with this increased knowledge, charities are also focussing on journey mapping and personalising supporter experience in order to build more profitable and longer-lasting relationships.

As has been the case for a while now, we are seeing an increasing trend in charities returning to direct mail for their acquisition and retention campaigns – using legitimate interest as the legal basis for processing. Many were concerned post-GDPR that they would have to remove mailings from their marketing mix, however, in Recital 47 of the GDPR it states that: processing of personal data for direct marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for a legitimate interest.

delegates at the CDOA Conference 2020

CDAO Conference

The role of the CDO is one that has been rapidly gaining prominence over the last two years, having been relatively unknown before the changes to data legislation. As companies increasingly appreciate data as a valuable asset, more and more are appointing CDOs to elevate responsible data management to board level (finally!).

After GDPR was implemented there was an initial panic around having to hire additional staff to manage data and many instated CDOs in their business without considering what the role entailed or the skillset required from the individual holding it.

Suppress to impress

What was perhaps most heartening at this year’s event was a noticeable increase in understanding and awareness to GDPR obligations from CDO’s in attendance – and the importance of goneaway and deceased screening in particular. In addition to the legal repercussions, many also have environmental concerns around the increased wastage created by failing to suppress mailing campaign data (and the potential brand damage that may ensue).

As well as an increased awareness for data cleaning, as with Fundraising Live the week before, there was a real buzz in the room around personalisation. With so much data at our disposal these days, there really is no excuse for neglecting to put it to good use! Using data intelligently to enhance the customer experience will ultimately strengthen relationships and increase loyalty and LTV.

Having also attended both events in 2019, it was fantastic to see a palpable excitement amongst delegates this year around the potential of data and the possibilities presented to those who use it effectively. Personalisation will continue to be a big driver for marketers this year – but it is important to ensure that it is informed by the right data!

two hands holding a crystal ball with '2020' written on it in red writing

As we find our feet in the new decade, we consider the big drivers and trends we can expect to see this year (and beyond!). From data quality, third party data and advances in automation, there is plenty on the horizon!

One of the big areas of concern in the data world we’ve seen lately has been around ethics/values and we expect there to be increased emphasis on this subject throughout this year. Where data-driven marketing is concerned, one of the key questions is how we can gain the trust of consumers to an extent where they are happy to share their personal data.

The principal of giving brands the right to be personal is only effective if the brand has access to quality data. There is a correlative relationship between trust vs sharing data – the more a customer trusts a business the happier they will be to share their data.

In a recent Dun & Bradstreet report, half of the 500 business leaders interviewed said their business wouldn’t survive without top quality data, while over two-thirds (69%) agreed that having access to more data supports revenue generation.

A large proportion of this trust comes down to transparency and companies being open and honest about how consumer data is being processed. At REaD Group, we are strong advocates for best practice; we are able to take any record from our suite and identify the point of collection as well as the legal basis on which it is being processed. We believe this should be a mandatory requirement for all personal data utilised in today’s climate.

First party data vs third party data

While first party data is naturally an asset, the advantages and capabilities of third party data should never be overlooked. Third party data offers a whole range of possibilities – enabling businesses to find their best customers, drive more informed decisions, gain more value from their marketing activity and delivering ROI.

Some 54% of the business leaders interviewed by D&B said that third-party data is valuable for enhancing the data that they hold in their organisation, while a similar proportion (56%) agreed that they would benefit from more of it.

But again, trust is crucial. You can only trust the data you’ve got if you can maintain its quality. And can you trust the supplier of the data if it’s third party data?

Buying third party data

You should always be sure to conduct thorough due diligence on a supplier before purchasing marketing data. You need to be able to trust the quality of the data – there are a number of questions you should always ask when choosing a provider (see our handy checklist here).

Permission must be accurately tracked and evidence the due diligence that was applied to it at the point of collection. This all aligns to a fundamental requirement of the Data Protection Act 2018 – privacy by design. Any credible data supplier should be able to demonstrate this level of transparency.

Keeping data clean

We can expect to see data hygiene continuing to rise to the top of the agenda this year. Businesses are recognising more and more that it is a requirement of GDPR that data must be kept up-to-date and accurate. This realisation is beginning to trickle down from the bigger players to the mid-size market and should continue to progress to smaller companies and SME’s throughout 2020.

Regardless of the size of your business, keeping data clean needn’t be a cumbersome task. Take one of our clients, Stannp, a print management provider which offers companies a fully digital, integrated solution to their direct mail needs.

As keeping data up-to-date and accurate is now law, Stannp wanted to provide its clients with the ability to clean their direct mail campaign data in realtime.

We provided them with a fully automated data cleaning solution which provides realtime access to our data cleaning products, GAS and TBR. Clients upload their data to the platform and are given the option to plug into REaDConnect before launching a campaign, delivering a bespoke data cleaning solution that is moulded to their requirements.

Research shows that the higher the quality of data an organisation holds, the more efficient and effective an organisation is, and data quality is a top priority for 41% of UK data leaders, according to a Big Data LDN report.

Automation

As the list of processes that can be automated continues to grow, automation is certainly something that will continue to be important in 2020. The prevalence of API’s isn’t a huge surprise given the efficiency, speed, accuracy and enhanced information security that automation can offer.

For companies with vast quantities of data, automation is able to alleviate the ‘heavy lifting’ involved with the management and processing that such an asset demands. Automating your data cleansing process will provide access to cleaner data, leading to increased insight, better decision-making, triggered campaigns, live personalisation and improved business planning.

In addition to improving regulatory compliance and increasing customer loyalty, automation can also provide customers with a better experience and offer brand protection. It reduces processing costs, uses less infrastructure and improves resilience, and removes or reduces manual processes and associated resource time, leaving it to be redeployed on more creative activities.

Quality data and data quality

What all of this illustrates essentially is the importance of trust and transparency, especially in 2020. If you are able to demonstrate to your customers that you adhere to the principles of both data quality and quality data, then they will be reassured that their data will be looked after according to the data protection laws, and they in turn will trust you. Let’s make this year the year of responsible marketing!

stressed man in business attire on red background with accusatory fingers pointing at him

The wait was perhaps longer than we anticipated, but last year we finally saw the ICO implement the full extent of the new fines administrable under GDPR. Twice in fact – and in a 48-hour window. To any who had not yet appreciated the repercussions of mishandling or inappropriately using data, this was a very big wake-up call.

No small task

With penalties of this magnitude awaiting those who fall foul of data protection regulation, heavy is the head that bears the data crown. However, recent research has found that there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding who should take responsibility for data in an organisation. Over the past three years, the report found that CEO’s have had variable ownership of data, and brand-new job titles have arisen in the interim [The Fourth Industrial Revolution Report 2019].

In fact, in 2017 CEO’s had no direct responsibility for data, and the onus was largely on Chief Data Officers (66%). This peaked in 2018 after GDPR was introduced and responsibility jumped dramatically to 15%. Conversely, 2019 saw responsibility drop to just 9%.

Data a company-wide asset  

Data used to be a subset of marketing and/or IT and many tensions arose because of that. It is now central to organisations and needs to sit alongside these disciplines as well as many others such as operations, HR and finance. The value of the data on customers, performance, staff, suppliers and so on means that the real owner of data now is the CEO and therefore having one person report in who is managing the control of the company’s data is essential.

The responsibility has noticeably shifted over the last two years between a number of C-suite roles, including Chief Data Officer, Chief Information officer, CMO, CFO and the newest addition – Chief Privacy Officer (CPO). This begs the question – is this a result of experimentation and trial and error, or merely panicked finger pointing (‘well, that’s your job’)?

More than a third of companies (39%) believe the responsibility of the CDO is setting the data strategy within their firm and owning its results, while 60% believe that this accountability sits with other C-suite executives, or argue that it does not sit with a single role, according to NewVantage.

Horses for courses

It may be that the assignment of this responsibility comes down to a judgement call – namely that the nature of a company and the way in which it uses data will influence who takes charge. This makes a lot of sense. Depending on a company’s corporate objectives and strategy, data will be used in differing ways to reflect this. For example, putting a CMO in charge of data may result in a greater focus on ensuring that data is fit for marketing purposes.

In any case, the good news is that data has become a responsibility that sits at board level – this would have been unthinkable even 10 years ago. It is encouraging (and necessary) that it now gets the attention it deserves, and GDPR has had a huge impact on this.

In 2012, just 12% of Fortune 1000 companies had a CDO. By 2018, 67.9% of surveyed firms reported having a CDO. [Big Data and AI Executive Survey 2019, NewVantage Partners]

Rise of the CDO

In terms of skillsets and responsibilities opinions differ as to what falls within the CDO’s remit. Many believe they should come from a technology background, others a business background, and some think that both are beneficial. There is also the question of how much data governance responsibility a CDO should have. In a recent Gartner survey, two thirds of CDO’s asked said they were responsible for everything from data quality, governance and management to information strategy, data science and business analytics. [Third Gartner CDO Survey — How Chief Data Officers Are Driving Business Impact, 2017]

Above all though, most agree that a CDO should be an agent for change within a business – especially within the first few months of appointment. Liaising and communicating with multiple stakeholders to ensure that appropriate data is made available and securing buy-in from the board to leverage a company’s data as a strategic asset.

No matter who

As the data available to businesses grows and its uses become more versatile and sophisticated – the role of the CDO (or whoever has the responsibility of data management) will only grow in importance. The ‘who’ is ultimately less important, so long as the data is appropriately managed in accordance with data regulations and in alignment with business requirements.

Research points to the benefits of companies that have someone dedicated to managing data. According to a study conducted by KPMG in 2018, businesses that have a CDO are twice as likely to have a clear digital strategy. And two-thirds of such firms say they are outperforming rivals in market share and data-driven innovation. [The Chief Data Officer playbook: Creating a game plan to sharpen your digital edge, IBM, 2016]

Data is such a vital tool for businesses to operate at their optimum capacity. Manage it well and see your company go from strength to strength. Manage it poorly and not only will your competitors thrive, but the downside risk of fines and brand exposure could be enormous.

Boxes and bags that read 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday' on green background

By Scott Logie, MD, Insight at REaD Group

As the countdown to Christmas commences once again, we are nearing the now global phenomenon that is Black Friday. The introduction of deals and discounts allegedly pertaining to the occasion seems to get earlier every year – I’m fairly sure I’d already received an email offering Black Friday savings in the first week of November!?

The digital shift

It must be said, in the UK at least, that the event is considerably less stressful than it used to be – more perched casually on the sofa with a cup of tea and a laptop than fighting tooth and nail in your local Asda for a plasma TV. I’m in no way knocking the occasion, my wife and I always make the most of the offers available to get a head start on Christmas shopping. As well as some treats for myself naturally…

However, as I noted in my blog last year on the subject, the majority of retailers seem to be missing a huge opportunity where customer engagement is concerned. Rather than focusing on ensuring that offers are personalised and relevant to consumers, we receive the usual flood of generic and uninspiring emails. The antithesis of personalised marketing. This seems very confusing to me; you would think this would present an easy opportunity for retailers to demonstrate to their customers that they understand their shopping needs and are able to provide them with a bespoke experience.

Data, data everywhere…

With the wealth of data available these days there really is no excuse. Purchase history and abandoned cart information should be used effectively to ensure that the products being offered on a Black Friday email are items that the customer is actually likely to buy. For example, an email that merely advertises that there are discounts across the range is far less likely to lead to a conversion than one that points me to those boots I’ve been weighing-up buying for the past few weeks…and now they’re 30% off? Yes please!

Prime position

A few years ago, Amazon essentially introduced its own discount period that operates with a similar prospect to Black Friday – Prime Day. Numerous discounts are available for a limited window of time to members of their Prime subscription service. The event has grown in prominence since it was first introduced in 2015, and Amazon announced that this year’s event had seen higher sales than those of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined!

Amazon, perhaps unsurprisingly, does seem to be differentiating in its use of personalised communications to customers. While it must be said that sometimes the suggested products are a little off the mark – just because I purchased a toilet seat from Amazon once doesn’t mean I’ll be interested in buying one every week – at least previous purchase information is being used!

On the way out?

Some are sceptical that Black Friday is becoming outdated and will soon fail to garner the interest of consumers (although last year UK shoppers spent a whopping £1.23 billion over Black Friday weekend, so that’s definitely not the case as yet!). However, if this does turn out to be the case, Amazon is ensuring that they are offering consumers a similar opportunity, while also adding extra incentive for their Prime membership.

Many brands are still rebuilding their contact lists after GDPR’s introduction last May – this makes it even more important for the engagement from this smaller pool of contacts to be high! When our inboxes are bombarded with generic offers on Friday 29th, it will be the tailored and personalised emails that really grab attention and not only encourage us to purchase – but potentially impress us enough to be loyal to this brand in the future.

Perhaps I am being too cynical – maybe I’ll be greeted by a host of highly relevant offers when I check my email come Black Friday morn… I’d love to be proved wrong!

Apteco rising star awards from 2018 and 2019 in front of REaD Group logo

REaD Group are delighted to have won Rising Star in the 2019 Apteco Partner awards – for the second year in a row!

Working closely together to deliver great customer experience and outstanding results for end user clients, the award reflects the strength of the partnership and collaboration between the two companies.

“We are very proud to be a strategic partner of Apteco and the Award represents the value we place on that partnership” commented REaD Group CEO, Jon Cano-Lopez. “It’s an exciting time for data driven marketing and we are looking forward to continuing to work with Apteco – and fully leveraging the latest developments to the platform – to help our clients achieve even better results”, he added.

The combination of our market leading data, the level of expertise in both  businesses and Apteco’s software creates a very powerful offering for our clients.

Well done to all involved – and keep up the good work.  The sky is the limit!

[To explore how REaD Group can help you optimise your data-driven marketing, contact our friendly team today]

4 loyalty cards on pink background

By Scott Logie, MD, Insight at REaD Group

Tesco have always been ahead of the game when it comes to loyalty schemes – introducing the Clubcard back in 1995 before any other supermarket. This has always stood them in good stead when it comes to loyalty and trust with consumers. Our Retail Trend Report in 2017 found that consumers trusted Tesco ahead of any other retailer (besides Amazon…) when it came to using their personal data.

84% of consumers are more likely to choose retailers that offer customer loyalty programs. Get with the program: Perspectives on Retail Loyalty Program Participation and Perks. Nielsen, [November 2016]

Loyalty…but at a price

This week they are once again breaking new ground for supermarkets by launching the ‘Clubcard Plus’ – an exclusive subscription offering perks such as discounted shopping – all for a monthly cost of £7.99. Only time will tell whether this move pays off. It would seem to be a direct response to Amazon’s Prime service (even the monthly cost is the same!) as Tesco makes a bid to increase its customer loyalty. Research in the US recently found that Prime members were 8 times less likely to shop elsewhere in a session – that’s impressive!

However, the actual benefits on offer do seem somewhat underwhelming to say the least. The 10% discount off two shops up to £200 sounds good in theory, but in practice in order to break even you would need to spend at least £80 on your groceries every month. Tesco Finest Croquembouche anyone? That said, Christmas is fast approaching and families especially are regularly spending more than usual on shopping in the lead-up. But will subscriptions carry over once the festivities have ended? The double data offering for Tesco Mobile users equally isn’t that appealing – there are many cheap pay-as-you-go deals available now offering a large data allowance for a small monthly fee.

Waste not want not

The assumption from Tesco’s perspective may be that by offering this service, consumers will feel more obliged to shop with them as they are paying for it and therefore don’t want to waste it. A similar mentality to many gym users the world over…though many of us still don’t go! It is a widely accepted stat that it is cheaper to retain customers than it is to acquire them, and as a strategy focusing on retention it makes perfect sense. The real question will be – is the incentive strong enough to increase loyalty?

The data that such loyalty schemes provide can be an immensely useful asset in itself. Knowing that an individual is more likely to buy pizzas from you on a certain night of the week or the type of chocolate they frequently buy could be invaluable from a marketing perspective. It’s Tuesday at 5pm, the hanger has hit, all thoughts of cooking are out the window – email from Tesco: Two ham and pineapple (this is purely theoretical) pizzas for £5 tonight! Job done.

Getting Personal  

Consumers now recognise the value of personalisation and appreciate receiving deals that have been intelligently tailored to their shopping habits. Retailers therefore need to ensure they are segmenting their customer data and analysing it to make sure they are building and engendering trust and anticipating customers’ needs.

Brands must demonstrate through these retail loyalty schemes that customers that consent to share their data stand to be rewarded for their loyalty and custom. And for those brands with long standing schemes already in place – now is not the time to abandon them! They’re a key means of understanding customer habits and maintaining valuable patrons.

Loyalty schemes have become an expected norm, and retailers are now feeling the need to differentiate and experiment. Where Tesco’s new loyalty subscription is concerned, as long as consumers feel adequately rewarded and incentivised to keep a running subscription – they might be on to a winner.

cartoon man hugging a giant red heart that says 'Miss you already'

By Scott Logie, MD, Insight at REaD Group

We are being encouraged more and more to consider switching – our insurance policies, banks, mobile providers, our tea bags and the milk we make the tea with. The government is putting rules in place to make it easier and new companies are appearing every day to help us compare prices and choose a new provider.

For those providers we are leaving this means having to let the customer go in a dignified manner and in a way that ensures they might consider you when the next switch happens.

My recent switch

We have very recently, and somewhat reluctantly, switched broadband provider. My wife and I live in the countryside. We have been with EE for a number of years and have always struggled with bandwidth.  We are promised 10Mb/sec but rarely get close to 5. To be fair to EE we have tried a number of providers and always had the same issue. For you kids living in London or Manchester, imagine having to choose Netflix or Instagram, Amazon Prime or Youtube. Well, that’s us.  If we second screen we lose the first one.  We still occasionally see the buffering %!

However, joy is unbounded.  Fibre optic broadband has come to the neighbourhood. The downside; you can only buy it from BT. And we pretty much hate BT.  We have been a customer before and their customer service last time was awful, trying to communicate with them – ironically – is pretty impossible and something always goes wrong in the transfer.  When we moved into our house, they cut our neighbours phone line off, on Christmas Eve, in a household with 4 boys. We were not popular!

After some annoying phone calls and much soul-searching we decided to switch. And it has gone pretty well, the difference in what we can do is incredible (Facebook and download music at the same time!) and we have only had one minor problem – don’t try calling us at home at the moment is all I will say.

What not to do

However, this is not a tale about BT, this is about EE. Obviously they got notified about the change with a month’s notice more or less as we had to get the fibre optic cable brought to the house. So they had plenty of time to get in touch and see what they could do. They can’t currently offer the same option so we were always going to move. However, we would have gone back as soon as our contract is over and they can provide the same service.  And then this arrived:

 

It’s a nice enough letter, and a pretty good offer. Sadly, the end date to the offer was 4 days before the letter was sent. What happens in companies for this sort of thing to happen? And do they even think about the implications?  Instead of leaving EE with a wistful goodbye and a hope of re-uniting in the future I now think of them as a bit of a joke and wonder if they are inept.  Doing nothing would have been better than doing something in this case.

Rise of the challenger brands

From the most recent DMA research on switching we see a lot of customers moving from the traditional providers in supermarkets, banks and mobile providers. In fact, in general, the newer providers are net increasing while the more established brands are net decreasing.

People will always want to try the new kid on the block; the new brand or the new product. It doesn’t always work though, and when things go wrong, returning to the safety of a well-known brand who are reliable and can be trusted is the natural outcome. The big banks might be missing out to customers moving to Starling or Monzo but if something goes wrong, with the company or the service, they will be looking to move again and bigger sometimes does look better.

Sometimes bye is best

Of course, for some customers, it might be best to let them go. The serial switchers who are draining cost; the constant contactors who cost us in service fees; the buy two and return one types who are always marginal.  Understanding current and future value clearly helps us decide where to spend our retention budgets and also who to not worry too much about them leaving.

But for others, we really want them to come back.  However, making that decision may well depend on how well they have been treated when they moved. My mum always used to say “never burn bridges” and that is as true for brands as it is in life. A “sorry to see you go, we will be glad to welcome you back and here is an offer open for a couple of years” message might not seem the best thing when someone is leaving but separating on good terms is often as good for the brand as it is for the consumer.

 

Want to know more about how to effectively engage with your customers? Contact us today

cartoon man wearing marigolds with bucket of cleaning products with title 'Data Quality: Sex appeal isn't everything'

By Chris Turner, Head of REaDConnect, REaD Group

Data Quality isn’t sexy. I’m under no illusions – and I won’t attempt to convince anyone otherwise! In the data world it has always been overshadowed by the much more exciting work conducted by insight and data analytics teams. Personally, when I think of ‘data scientists’ I picture individuals with futuristic-looking headwear concocting miraculous solutions and shouting ‘Eureka!’.

However, by ignoring the first step of ensuring that your data is up to date and accurate you impact on the success and profitability achieved by these subsequent (albeit more glamorous) data projects. No longer something to be put off or overlooked – data quality should be championed and recognised as the bedrock to campaign success!

As well as being fundamental to campaign performance, it is crucially now law to keep data up-to-date and accurate! Article 5.1d of the GDPR clearly states that:

personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay.

Great Expectations

Since the Regulation’s implementation and the ICO’s ‘Your Data Matters’ campaign (designed to educate the public about its rights under GDPR), consumer expectations around data quality have never been higher.

Research finds that 72% of consumers expect companies that hold their data should get it right every time or most of the time. But what they actually experience is a different story, with almost half of consumers stating that companies get their data wrong sometimes or more often than not. [GDPR Impact Series 2018: Accuracy and Relevancy]

Brand damage

There is also the potential for costly brand damage to consider. An individual who has recently moved address and is still receiving the mail of the previous occupant will most likely be less than impressed and less likely to use the brand who is sending them inaccurate mailings. Furthermore, a bereaved family who are still receiving mailing addressed to a deceased relative will be caused unnecessary distress and anguish.

Recent research by dun&bradstreet finds that one in five (19%) businesses have lost a customer due to incomplete or inaccurate data. [The Past, Present and Future of Data, 2019]

No longer a burden!

The important thing to remember is that data quality should be a priority for all companies, not just larger business. While in the past data cleaning often involved a lot of manual processes that took up a lot of time and resources, the entire process can now be automated. Easy to implement, cost-effective solutions that are delivered in real-time are now available, such as REaD Group’s REaDConnect.

25% of businesses say that accessing accurate data is a problem

The reasons for general data hygiene have never changed, and it is high time that businesses realised their obligation to comply with GDPR. More than this, however, this all ties into the underlying principle of the new Regulation: putting the customer first. It may not be sexy; it may not be glamorous – but data quality should now be top of the agenda. Clean your data and the rest will follow.

 

Contact us today for your free data quality consultation!

Title 'SEE THE LIGHT' with LI in white text against a red sunset background and silhouette of birds flying above

It is well over a year since GDPR came into force, but the ripple effects from its introduction can still very much be felt. Especially when it comes to Marketing. Many businesses responded in knee-jerk fashion to the new Regulation and assumed that inactivity was the best course of action to remain compliant and avoid the risk of  fines and the brand damage of an ICO investigation.

One of the reasons for this inertia was the confusion both before and after May last year as to which legal basis could be used to communicate with customers and prospects. This was especially the case for the third sector – with many charities deciding to play things safe and cease using direct mail campaigns altogether – even when this has been a core channel previously. This was particularly surprising given that several months before the introduction of the GDPR, the ICO announced in its online FAQ section of advice designed specifically for the charity sector that:

‘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.’

Indeed, in Recital 47 of the GDPR it states that processing of personal data for direct marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for a legitimate interest.

The ICO has stressed that all the legal bases for processing data under GDPR have equal weighting and the first line in the guidance on consent states: The GDPR sets a high standard for consent. But you often won’t need consent. If consent is difficult, look for a different lawful basis!

RN-LI!

Erring on the side of caution, many charities chose to ignore this advice and decided to rely on consent for all marketing channels.  A notable example is the RNLI who in 2017 announced that they would be moving to opt-in consent alone, most likely as a precautionary response not only to the impending GDPR but also the media critique of fundraising practice at the time. The move saw their supporter base decrease from two million to only 500,000 by 2018 and a fall in legacy income last year. However, they have recently reviewed this policy and have publicly announced that they will be using Legitimate Interest as a basis for processing supporter data from now on.

Direct Mail makes customers feel valued!

In the last few months we have seen encouraging signs of more charities reassessing their campaign strategies and returning to using DM under the basis of LI. Recent research has found that after years of ‘inbox bombing’ and phishing scams, there are issues with trust when it comes to digital communications – 87% of consumers consider mail communications to be more believable. [The Value of Mail in Uncertain Times, August 2017]

The study also found that 70% of consumers indicated that mail makes them feel valued.

Suffice to say – Direct mail is alive and well! Far from being an outdated medium – when combined with latest technology, creatively and thoughtfully put together, personalised and targeted, Direct Mail is and will remain, a relevant and highly effective channel well into the future. And with the ePR looming to replace PECR as the prevailing law governing electronic marketing and creating more legal obligations for digital channels, the status of Direct Mail used responsibly under LI – and other direct channels – will only increase.

So what are you waiting for? Get in touch to talk to us about your next Direct Mail campaign.

At REaD Group we have been helping businesses of all shapes and sizes get great results from Direct Mail for more years than we care to remember.  And with the advent of GDPR our services have become even more important and relevant to our clients (from optimising data selections and data quality to campaign reporting and analysis). We’re a safe pair of hands.

'one in five (19%) businesses have lost a customer due to incomplete or inaccurate data.' image of large hand and arm dropping a customer

According to a recent dun&bradstreet report, The Past, Present and Future of Data, one in five businesses admit they have lost a customer due to incomplete or inaccurate data.

And this was identified as being a challenge across businesses of all sizes: 25% of businesses with over 500 employees, 32% of businesses with between 250 and 500 employees and 16% of smaller businesses (0 -10 employees) having lost customers as a result of using poor quality data.

That’s pretty damning stuff. Particularly when you consider that it costs anything from five to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain one.  Even at the lower end of that scale, very few businesses can afford to be losing customers, revenue and sacrificing hard won LTV at that rate.

Data has undoubtedly become an integral part of how businesses function today, but it is essential to ensure that this data is the RIGHT data.

58% of businesses worry about the accuracy and completeness of their data [dun&bradstreet – The Past, Present and Future of Data 2019]

Continuing to market to the previous address of individuals who have relocated will waste precious marketing budget (which could be better allocated elsewhere) and risk losing contact with customers who may become lapsed as a result. The current occupiers of that property will also be far less likely to engage with a brand that is inundating them with a previous-tenant’s mail.

Similarly, failing to screen for deceased contacts in your database will also waste marketing spend – and more importantly will have the potential to cause distress to the families of those still being contacted. Why risk damaging your brand’s reputation? Furthermore, why risk inviting penalties from the ICO for non-compliance to GDPR Article 5?

In these competitive times, with consumers that are more demanding and less loyal than ever, losing customers due to inaccurate data is pretty poor business and, in reality, a very easily avoided reason to lose a customer!

Contact us today about REaD Group’s market leading data cleaning products!