By Jon Cano-Lopez, CEO, REaD Group
Looking after staff health and wellbeing during the current global pandemic is something that we have sought to manage from the outset. People are at the heart of everything we do at REaD, especially our people. Our internal motto is “Inspiring People” and we are striving to maintain that throughout lockdown.
We shifted to a home working environment a week before the lockdown began, and everyone has adjusted really well, despite the unfortunate circumstances in which we all find ourselves. We have found some definite positives in our new working environment. Our Microsoft Teams video calls are much more sociable than a usual business meeting: and this applies not only to calls with colleagues but also with clients, suppliers and partners.
All line managers are obligated to contact their furloughed staff every week on the medium of their choice: we try to encourage this is carried out face-to-face if possible. For those not working, we have continued to support professional development both financially and through study time, and we are encouraging them to take up online learning. There are prizes on offer for this too!
Communication and transparency have always been at the heart of what we do. We’ve continued our monthly update meetings, which are now carried out via Teams. We have maintained our usual pre-lockdown Friday afternoon social gathering but now we do it on Teams (drinks are optional), and there’s a quiz or talent contest, which staff are volunteering to run. We have also instigated an internal weekly newsletter, which emphasises the social and fun elements of what REaD is all about. It has recipes, gardening advice, tips on which TV programmes to watch, workout recommendations, book club and more… there’s something for everyone and many of the team are contributing.
We are passionate about supporting mental wellbeing, and for the second year running, we are proud to be supporting the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a movement against male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK (find out more their life-changing, life-services here). We have continued to support them throughout lockdown with our first ever REaD Group talent show taking place this afternoon – with all proceeds going to CALM.
We are continuing to maintain close communication with everyone, keeping them apprised of good news and client wins, but to also just get together and have a giggle. We are all affected by the current situation: what’s important is that we don’t feel like we’re alone in it.
To support CALM with their crucial work please go to our JustGiving page.
Its Mental Health Awareness Week – and given all the anxiety, stress and grief triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic we want to highlight the crucial work being done by the great team at CALM – our chosen charity for a second year.
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. CALM is an all-encompassing charity, and any money raised goes to help fund their life-changing, life-saving services:
- Providing frontline services for men, including a free and confidential helpline and webchat
- Promoting cultural and societal change, enabling conversations and encouraging everyone to speak out about their mental health experiences
- Campaigning for better understanding of the causes of suicide and its prevention.
REaD Group are proud to be supporting CALM in 2020 by taking part in events both big and small throughout the year. From Random Acts of Kindness Day, office baking extravaganzas, quiz nights and our more epic and gruelling sporting challenges – bring it on!
One of the interesting – and worrying pieces – of feedback we have been getting here at REaD Group during the Covid-19 crisis is around use of data hygiene products. As more and more businesses move on-line to reach and engage their customers, there seems to be a feeling that this removes the reason to clean the customer base.
The logic seems to be that if there is no mailing planned, and therefore nothing physical going to the address, then there is no need to ensure the person is still at that address, hasn’t moved or passed away. We have had this feedback from a university, a major retailer and a smaller charity.
I’m sorry, but I have some news for you – this isn’t a choice, it is the law!
Under section 5.1 (d) of GDPR, copied for interest below, the guidance is to ensure you keep any names and addresses you hold up to date. And not just because you might want to mail them or send something to them.
But don’t take our word for it, check with your compliance team.
Of course, there is a reason for this and it is about consumer trust. If I share personal details with you, I expect you to keep that information up to date. It is the least you can do really. As a consumer, I will try to share with you information on when my circumstances change but sometimes I will forget. So, using available tools to do so makes sense.
And that trust manifests itself in many ways, I will buy more from the brands I trust, that I believe are doing the right thing, that treat me in the right way.
Talking of brand, there is another side to this. One that is sadly very relevant right now and that is that some of your customers will have passed away. If you do not put measures in place to ensure you are screening your data to identify deceased contacts, could cause serious distress and brand damage. At REaD Group, we feel this is so important that we have created The Bereavement Register (TBR) Daily. TBR Daily allows you to match your data against the deaths that have been registered the day before to keep your data as up to date as possible.
So next time you find yourself thinking that you don’t need to clean the data that you hold – because you are currently not mailing – please think again! For your benefit and for the end consumer.
Relevant statement in the GDPR Article 5.1 (d):
Personal data shall be;
(d) 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 (‘accuracy’);
REaD Group acquires UKChanges assets to create the perfect blend of market leading technology and data
REaD Group have acquired UKChanges’ key assets, including their market-leading data management platforms from its administrator.
Due to difficult market conditions exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, data specialists UK Changes was forced to go into administration in April. Having reached agreement with the administrators, we have taken over ownership and management of UK Changes’ assets, including its data management platforms, ukc>online and ukc>connect.
Taking ownership of these key assets enables us to combine UKChanges’ technical platforms with its leading data products to create the perfect blend of market leading technology and data.
The platforms will be incorporated into our product portfolio with immediate effect, and REaD’s experienced Operations and Account Management teams are working hard to ensure a smooth transition for current users of the products and delivering the high-quality service levels that REaD prides itself on.
We are, of course, saddened by the liquidation of UKChanges, however, the opportunity to acquire these technically excellent platforms could not be overlooked. The combination of these first-class platforms and REaD’s unparalleled data and seamless API connectivity creates a unique offering for UK businesses and marketers.
Naturally, our immediate priority is to ensure a smooth and seamless transition for users as we incorporate the new technology. The acquisition accelerates our development plans to provide seamless access to our broadening portfolio of assets giving both our existing and new customers greater choice and capability with which to deliver their campaigns.
This is an exciting development for REaD so more news and updates will follow over the coming weeks.
Using open source data, More Metrics has created a bespoke set of data models that explore the impact of COVID-19 on the UK population. These models can help brands ensure they are targeting their marketing messages, optimising contact with customers and increasing ROI. Data used to create these models is publicly available – ideal for the current situation.
More Metrics has used existing and new datasets to create 14 risk measurements relevant to COVID-19, including Age and Household Composition: Mortality and Co-Morbidity; Economic Resilience; Risk Engagement and Infection Rates.
These bespoke models can be used for:
- Screening to deselect vulnerable consumers for campaigns
- Attaching codes to inbound contact data to understand the consumer they are talking to
- Adding the data to models to ensure these factors are considered when selecting consumers for campaigns
The data is available at a range of different geographic levels: the application of each is dependent on usage. At the lowest level the models are created at OA (Output Area) level and can be attached to any individual or household with a postcode: the recommended level for most marketing applications.
REaD Group can advise marketers on how to best apply the models to make sensitive decisions and inform their marketing strategy, supporting data-driven decisions and responsible marketing.
With some key marketing channels impacted by the Coronavirus lockdown -and a massive potential audience – there has never been a better time to consider using Direct Mail as part of your multichannel campaigns!
More people than ever are making a point of looking at and engaging with their mail every day. This can only be good for open rates cut through and conversion. We are already seeing clients not just continue with direct mail but looking to increase volume.
To get you on track to tap into this powerful channel, we have created a handy checklist – successful direct mail in just 7 steps!
Step 1 How to choose your target audience
Step 2 How to avoid mailing your existing customer base
Step 3 How to set a call to action (CTA)
Step 4 How to decide on the format of a direct mail pack?
Step 5 How to determine the campaign look and messaging
Step 6 How to decide which partners to use
Step 7 How to determine what other marketing activities to run
Step 8 How to tell if your campaign has worked
Step 9 What results you can expect
Want to find out how REaD can help you implemented a highly
effective direct mail campaign? Contact our team today
We are now well and truly embedded in the 4th industrial revolution. With the transformative development and adoption of technology has come the dramatic increase in the volume and importance of the fuel that drives that technology – data. Having been working in the data industry for more than 30 years, I have seen ﬁrst-hand the dramatic growth and impact that data is having on consumers and businesses.
The stats are staggering – IBM research from 2019 calculated that 90% of the data that exists today was created in the last two years and the IDC estimate that over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every day at the current pace. Stop and think about that for a moment. That’s a phenomenal amount of data to collect, process and hold, however data savvy you are! And with this vast – and ever growing – volume of data comes greater responsibility. In the GDPR era, that responsibility has legal implications and the potential for business damaging ﬁnes and reputational damage.
The old adage ‘garbage in, garbage out’ has never been more true or more important for businesses. Good quality data means better business decisions, better marketing and more proﬁtable relationships. As a strong proponent of responsible data management and, transparency, I am talking to clients and partners every day about data quality and I am encouraged that this is now very much on the agenda.
Ultimately, the message is simple – treat your data assets with the respect and care they deserve and reap the many rewards.
We are delighted that REaD Group CEO, Jon Cano-Lopez, has been confirmed as a member of the DataIQ 100 2020 – being recognised as one of the most influential data enablers in the industry, for a third consecutive year.
”I am delighted and flattered to be recognised in the 2020 DataIQ 100. It is an honour to be associated with an impressive and talented list influential data professionals.”
The recognition is keeping with an impressive career in data – 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, best practice and success.
Jon has been CEO at REaD Group since 2014 and is responsible for the strategy that has led to REaD’s growing customer base of A-list brands, across multiple sectors.
Integral to this strategy is his belief that data sits at the heart of everything – and valuing, understanding and interpreting that data is key to success.
In addition to building on REaD Group’s position as market leader in data quality, he has been instrumental in developing the company’s service offerings – including an enviable insight capability, winning contracts for the delivery of Single Customer View and driving the development implementation of REaDConnect – REaD Group’s automated data delivery model.
Jon has been an authoritative contributor to the direct marketing industry 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 a trusted advisor on data marketing, privacy, compliance and the GDPR.
Congratulation to Jon for this much deserved recognition!
By Scott Logie, Customer Engagement Director, REaD Group
Well, here we are, is this the new normal? Working from home; self-isolating and social distancing; stock-piling loo roll and digestive biscuits and hoping we still have an economy when we get out the other side. There has been nothing like this before and it is really important that we do try and keep our heads up and our industry working.
To be honest, I really didn’t want to be one of those people who jump on a bandwagon and write about Coronavirus. However, we are being asked a lot by clients and prospects about what the best thing to do is in this environment. Stick or twist? Keep marketing or cut costs and save for the future? The answer is not simple and will depend on your business, your sector and the combination of channels that you use.
If, for example, you use TV and pay per impression then bear in mind that impressions will be up across the board and the audience will be very different at all times of day than what you would normally expect. Maybe this is a good time to use the budget differently and test lower volumes of highly targeted TV through Sky Adsmart, All4 or the like? More people will be on social media but time spent on each post or ad will be a lot shorter. Maybe focus on direct messaging rather than generic adverts?
One of the questions we are being asked a lot is our view on whether to keep using direct mail. Again, this is going to be dependent on how mail fits within your overall channel mix but from an audience point of view, with vast majority of the UK population following Government advice and staying at home, that should mean a dramatic increase in open rates – with people making a point of looking at and engaging with their mail every day. This can only be good for open rates cut through and conversion. We are already seeing clients not just continue with direct mail but looking to increase volume. This is also true of door-drops and partially addressed mail.
If you are a charity, for example, key routes to your audience such as events and collections are being restricted, why wouldn’t you use direct mail? You know it works for your audience and you know you will get a decent response. And there will be companies who do well out of people being isolated such as food and fast food delivery companies, home entertainment and gaming, on-line shopping and subscription services. For these companies it is important to compete and be seen. On-line and digital engagement is vital but why not supplement this with some targeted mail as well? With millions of people spending the majority (if not all) of their time at home, mail will deliver a welcome distraction and alternative to intensive screen time for consumers and engagement and activation for brands.
Of course, targeting is key, as ever. Ensuring that you know your audience, can identify them and select them is vital. That’s where profiling and targeting really matters. Additionally, using those profiles across multiple media such as email and digital to enhance and provide a halo impact for the mailing will also help deliver success.
I guess one of the concerns on mail is whether it could transfer the virus to the recipient. Public Health England (PHE) has advised that people receiving letters and parcels are not at risk of contracting the Coronavirus. From our experience of other similar viruses, we know that these types of virus don’t survive long on objects, such as letters or parcels. This complements the very clear and highly publicised guidance from PHE regarding hand washing more often and more thoroughly than usual using soap and hot water.
To a greater extent, there is no point in saving for a rainy day, this is the rainy day. Now is the time to back your brand, make your message stick and mail is a great way to getting in front of your customer or prospects.
In light of the current situation regarding Covid-19, we would like to update our clients and partners on REaD Group’s planning for the weeks ahead.
We are putting in place sensible measures to ensure that we are prepared. Our top priorities are the health and well-being of our staff and the continuity of service for our clients.
We are monitoring the situation closely and responding calmly to Government directives, including continuing to provide our staff with systems and procedures that allow them to work remotely so they are available to support our customers and ensure continuity of essential services.
Please be assured that REaD Group’s remote working environment is protected within our Information Security Management framework covered by technical controls and procedures in line with ISO27001.
We remain committed to delivering the best possible service and are confident that there will not be any disruption to essential services. As the situation evolves, we will issues updates as required.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us here or get in touch with your Account Manager or other usual contacts at REaD.
CEO, REaD Group