By Jon Cano-Lopez
So, it is 184 days – or six months if you prefer – since The General Data Protection Regulation – aka GDPR – became enforceable.
In the run up to the enforcement date – and in the months following – there has continued to be a huge amount of uncertainty and misinformation around GDPR and in some cases some down-right panic mongering. The avalanche of re-permissioning messages in the weeks preceding May 25th was testament to a prevalence of some database damaging advice.
One data protection lawyer we know likened it to watching lemmings throwing themselves off a cliff!
However, despite the hysteria and here-say the threatened “GDPR data apocalypse” has not materialised. And as we reflect on 2018 and the period since “GDPR day” here are some reasons to be cheerful…
Embracing the spirit of GDPR
REaD Group have been consistent in our view that GDPR is a good thing for consumers – and for business.
And six months on, our view has not changed. In fact, we are even more confident that embracing the principles of the GDPR will only enhance direct marketing – increasing transparency and trust and leading to more positive, long term and profitable relationships between consumers and brands.
The Regulations are not about catching out businesses (who are doing the right thing!). They are about the enforcement of practices that should be in place anyway. Keeping your customers and their rights, privacy and preferences at the heart of your business and being transparent in how you are processing personal data will not only help to protect you from the risk of fines but also enhance your brand reputation, value and relationships. Ultimately, if you are doing things right, it will be reflected in your bottom line.
The Data Economy is thriving
And although the reference to data being the “new oil” has been somewhat over-used, there is truth in the concept. Projections from European Data Market Study for the growth of data economy are extremely positive, with the value of the data economy in Europe projected to be worth €739 billion by 2020.
The rise of the CDO!
Gartner have predicted that through 2019, 90% of large organizations will have hired a CDO.
Another indicator of the growing importance of data is the rise of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) – elevating data strategy to Board level. The appointment of a CDO in many organisations – and across diverse industries – indicates a growing recognition of data as a driver of value and competitive advantage. Data driven decisioning is increasingly becoming a business imperative.
Results from the latest IPA Bellwether Report also provide cause for cautious optimism, with total marketing budgets revised higher during the third quarter of 2018, extending the current period of growth to six years.
After an initial period of post-GDPR caution and inertia, there has been some signs of resurgence for direct marketing, with many businesses successfully utilising third party data and direct mail for acquisition marketing campaigns under the Legitimate Interest basis.
The industry view is also optimistic. In independently conducted research, over 78% of direct brands asked have projected equivalent or an increase in spend on data driven marketing.
Third party data – use it responsibly and reap the rewards
Well, we have been saying this for some time, but to borrow from the recently published DMA advice: Using third party data under the GDPR.
“There is nothing in the GDPR that prohibits the use of third-party data provided that it is undertaken in the right way, with the appropriate safe guards.”
The message is clear – and provides much needed clarity for marketers. The direct marketing industry should have the confidence and conviction to continue to use responsibly sourced and permissioned third party data to optimise the quality and value of their data and data strategy.
Plus, new ways of utilising open source data have provided more opportunities to target direct marketing to addresses – using postcode level data to send partiality addressed mail.
GDPR data quality obligations – don’t bury your head in the sand!
There is a growing realisation that the data quality obligations introduced by GDPR cannot be ignored. Article 5.1 (d) is clear – reasonable and demonstrable efforts must be made to keep all personal data held and processed by a business clean and up to date -or deleted.
Our independent survey indicated those who utilise data quality services appreciate “not having to worry about the accuracy of contact lists when launching marketing campaigns”.
And data quality is now being seen as a ‘must do’ to ensure compliance with GDPR, minimise wasted communications and limit potential reputational damage.
Rapid innovation in technology is also impacting positively on data driven marketing – with developments in DaaS, AI and machine learning delivering even greater opportunities for data optimisation, enrichment and real-time interaction.
Key take aways from the last six months? Businesses and marketers should see GDPR as an opportunity to be more responsible and accountable, to get their data and data strategy in order – get it right and the future is bright!
by Jon Cano-Lopez, CEO at REaD Group
In response to the DMA Advice: Using third party data under the GDPR
After almost six month since the enforcement date for the GDPR, we welcome the publication of this much needed advice from the DMA.
The clarity it provides on the use of third party data should dispel some of the hysteria and business damaging inertia caused by the ambiguous messages and conflicting advice that has abounded before and since the GDPR became enforceable in May this year.
The advice reflects a strong consensus of view from the DMA and a panel of highly experienced data industry practitioners and subject matter experts which provides further weight and reassurance to the content.
At REaD Group we have been very clear and consistent in our views on the value of the responsible use of third party data and this advice paper reinforces what we have been saying all along.
Ultimately, a responsible and common sense attitude to marketing is what is required. If processed with respect to consumers’ interests and privacy and according to the obligations of the GDPR (appropriate LIAs etc), third party data delivers huge benefits to – and in the interests of – consumers and society.
Recent campaigns using our GDPR ready database have delivered extremely positive levels of engagement and ROI for our clients. Consumers are responsive to direct marketing IF the campaigns are targeted, relevant, timely and non intrusive.
Using the right third party data – in the right way – does work!
The direct marketing industry should have the confidence and conviction to continue to use responsibly sourced and permissioned third party data to optimise the quality and value of their data and data strategy. As the DMA reiterates: there is nothing in the GDPR that prohibits the use of third party data provided that it is undertaken in the right way, with the appropriate safeguards.
My key take-away from this advice? Time for marketers to get off the fence and get marketing!
Read the full DMA advice document here
“Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated.“ – Direct Mail
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 by entrenching Legitimate Interest as a legal basis for Direct Marketing (in Article 47), GDPR creates a unique opportunity for marketers who have phased out or never used Direct Mail to embrace this versatile, tactile and creative channel.
Read on to find out why Direct Mail should be a permanent fixture in your marketing mix!
1. Direct Mail…Is opened AND read
According to an InfoTrends study 66% of direct mail is opened. Great start! If opened, 82% of direct mail is read for a minute or more. Impressive!
Not only that, the same study confirmed that of the 56% of consumers who stated that they responded to direct mail went online or visited a physical shop.
Those are some remarkable stats and conversion rates (unless we’re missing something) unheard of for any digital channels.
This is the really exciting bit…research confirmed that 62% of consumers who responded to direct mail within three months, made a purchase.
A well targeted, well-designed piece of direct mail can resonate with recipients in a way an email cannot. Something tangible and physically engaging can be a novel, tactile and enjoyable change from words on a screen.
Collaborative research by Millward Brown and Centre for Experimental and Consumer Psychology at Bangor University found that tangible materials leave a deeper footprint in the brain.
3. Direct Mail CAN be done using Legitimate Interest as the legal basis under GDPR
The prevailing legislation, GDPR, states in Recital 47 that processing of personal data for direct marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for a legitimate interest
Latest guidance from the ICO highlights 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!
You won’t always need consent e.g. for postal marketing.
What’s more, 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.
4. Direct Mail increases ROI
According to Brand Science review. Campaigns including mail had 12% bigger ROI than those without mail!
5. Direct Mail makes consumers feel valued
The Value of Mail in Uncertain Times study found that 70% of consumers indicated that mail makes them feel valued. That’s an impressive stat – and all the more so for engendering feelings of being valued (an elusive goal for many brands).
And Direct Mail still resonates with every age group according to findings from a study by InfoTrends and Prinova.
In support of addressed and personalised mail, InfoTrends found that over 84% of respondents reported that personalisation made them more likely to open a direct mail piece.
*Sources: The Value of Mail in Uncertain Times, August 2017
6. Direct Mail creates a better impression of the company
“Tangible material leaves a deeper footprint on the brain”.
And scientists have proved it! The Centre for Experimental Consumer Psychology at Bangor University recently conducted an experiment using an MRI while presenting participants with both digital and physical advertisements. The results showed that printed materials not only make a deeper impression but are also perceived as more genuine!
Research presented in The Private Life of Mail: Mail in the home, heart and head confirmed that Direct Mail is more likely to grab the recipient’s attention.
Sources: Millward Brown, “Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail,” 2009,
The Private Life of Mail: Mail in the home, heart and head
7. Direct Mail has longevity!
27% of all mail is still “live” after the twenty eight days*
Contrary to the transient nature of email and other digital channels – direct mail can be retained for weeks (or even months) and is more likely to be shared or interacted with by more than one person in the household.
And in his paper, Print vs. Digital: Another Emotional Win for Paper, Roger Dooley proved that while digital ads were processed more quickly, paper ads engaged viewers for more time and, a week later, subjects showed greater emotional response and memory for physical media ads. Physical ads also caused more activity in brain areas associated with value and desire.
*Source: JICMAIL Q2&Q3, Kantar TNS
8. Direct Mail is more believable
Research by Market Reach has revealed that 87% of consumers consider mail communications to be more believable*
In the age of fake news, malware and phishing, it may be that a growing unease and lack of trust with digital channels is fuelling an increased consumer desire for the tangibility and trustworthiness of mail.
*Source: The Value of Mail in Uncertain Times
9. Direct Mail is liked by Millennials!
It’s true, the born to be digital generation like and engage with direct mail!
The “Millennial” generation (i.e. born between 1982 and 2000) is now the largest living generation in the world. While many generalisations about these “digital natives” abound, that they do not like or engage with printed material is not true. Gallop research found that 95% of 18-to-29-year-olds have a positive response to receiving personal cards and letters.
A study by InfoTrends and Prinova – which surveyed a group of 18-66 year olds and their mail habits – also showed that 63% of Millennials who responded to a direct mail piece within a three month period actually made a purchase.
10. Direct Mail is good enough for Amazon!
Yes really! Amazon’s latest new (old) idea is….Toy catalogues!
According to Bloomberg News, Amazon’s first catalogues will be published in the US before Christmas and will be posted to millions of US households and also handed out at Whole Foods Market shops (bought by Amazon last year). There is also the possibility of a roll out in the UK to fill the gap left by the demise of Toys R Us.
This surprising move into print for the archetypal online retailer is further proof that print as a marketing channel is alive and kicking.
So, its clear that when executed well, Direct mail is an incredibly effective channel for response rates and engagement.
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.
In an attempt to inject some lightheartedness into GDPR (no easy feat!) we thought we’d have a go at addressing some of the regulation’s key changes…by reappropriating Dua Lipa’s recent hit, ‘New Rules’.
I’m sure Ms. Lipa never envisioned her song being used in such fashion, and might well be appalled… Anyway, let’s delve into these new rules in a bit more detail.
One – Do pick up the phone, but if they’re on TPS then leave them alone
It clearly states in guidance from the ICO that individuals are still able to be contacted via telephone using Legitimate Interest as a legal basis. Consent is not strictly needed. However, an LIA must be carried out which concludes that you have a legitimate interest in contacting said individual, and that they equally would have an interest in hearing from you. Likewise, it goes without saying – if they’re registered on TPS then put that phone down.
Two – Don’t let bad data in, you must do your due diligence
Three – You must clean and amend, or you’re only gonna wake up with a fine in the morning
Article 5(1)d is explicit about this – data must be kept up to date and accurate or be deleted. Simple as. Besides the obvious threat of a substantial fine from the ICO, perhaps more troubling for many businesses should be the potential for brand damage. Consumer expectations around data accuracy have never been higher.
Recent research conducted by REaD Group found that more than 70% of consumers expect their data to be accurate [Source: Accuracy and Relevance – GDPR Impact Series 2018]
Continuing to market to deceased individuals and goneaways could have huge repercussions and lead to losing loyal customers. Keeping data up to date and accurate couldn’t be simpler and can be done real-time nowadays with Data as a Service (DaaS) solutions. So clean your data!
Don’t contact them – without a legal basis for pro-cessing
Whichever legal basis you choose for processing, once you have chosen it you must use it thereafter – there’s no going back. With that in mind, you might want to reconsider the misguided notion that consent is the be-all and end-all. It is often not the best basis to use. Direct Mail can be used under LI and is set to make a huge come-back – Amazon in the US (a famously online-only retailer) recently announced their intention to distribute a printed toy catalogue at Christmas time!
Respondents to MarketReach research confirmed that mail is more believable (87%), makes them feel more valued (70%) and creates a better impression of a company (70%).
While I await correspondence from Dua Lipa insisting that I never again use her songs to highlight changes in data protection law, be sure to follow the new rules – And if you don’t abide, the ICO might skin your hide! (Well, not really, but you get the idea!).
By Scott Logie, MD, Insight at REaD Group
At our recent GDPR briefing, a mere 3 days before May 25th, we asked those attending to sum up their final thoughts and feelings on the new regulation in 1 to 4 words. Needless to say, we received quite a range of responses! Many were whole-heartedly optimistic – ‘About Time Too!’, ‘An Opportunity’ while another begrudgingly conceded that it was a ‘necessary evil’. And one (we certainly hope they were being tongue in cheek!) simply labelled it ‘a pain in the a**e!’ – GDPR has been labelled as the 4 letter word.
‘Necessary’ seems like a very appropriate word. GDPR’s predecessor (the Data Protection Act) was introduced in 1988 – long before much of the technology involved in today’s marketing practices had been developed and before the amount of contactable data available exploded! Analogue legislation for a digital world.
There is no doubt that the last two years plus spent preparing for GDPR have been a challenging period for many. Particularly smaller companies who have more limited resources to ensure that they meet all of the new regulation’s requirements (of which there are quite a few).
Don’t give up!
Those who find themselves still just short of readiness, now that we are on the other side of the deadline, should not fall into utter despair just yet. To quote some sage advice from Hannah Crowther of renowned law firm, Bristows LLP – as long as you can clearly evidence that you are working towards adhering to the new Regulation (but haven’t quite crossed every ‘t’ and dotted every ‘i’), it is extremely unlikely that the ICO will come a-knocking. Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has been quite clear that they would rather use the carrot than the stick!
However, those who consider themselves to be ‘GDPR ready’ should not be taking their foot off the pedal – far from it! As a regulation, GDPR demands ongoing compliance which is no small task. Undoubtedly, once you have the proper systems and procedures in place and they have been adopted into company culture, this task should only become easier.
A ‘New Challenge’
While some are concerned that GDPR signals an end to marketing practice as we know it, this is hardly a bad thing! ‘Inbox bombing’ has become widespread practice over the last few years, to the extent that consumers have definitely become desensitised to email offers.
Marketing will not cease to exist now that GDPR is law, it will simply require some refinement and a change in approach – as well as a renewed focus on the consumer. There will certainly be a substantial dip in terms of contactable individuals initially, as companies determine which legal bases they intend to process data under.
Nevertheless, by using data intelligently to understand your customer base and utilising techniques such as segmentation and modelling, marketers will be able to offer consumers more personalised communications that they are actually interested in receiving. A ‘new challenge’ as one attendee aptly described it.
What is more, GDPR champions openness and transparency – consumers that are being contacted should now actually EXPECT to receive these communications.
Another word to crop up was simply the word ‘consent’. Truth be told this has been the main concern for the majority of marketers since GDPR was first incepted – and the media furore has hardly helped matters. However, in the FIRST statement of the ICO’s recent consent guidance it clearly says:
“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.”
Don’t forget that there are five other legal bases for processing data, and in many instances consent may not be the right one to use. When it comes to honing your marketing strategy under the new legislation, it seems as though Legitimate Interest is in many cases the most obvious and appropriate for contacting prospective customers.
Mail has been found to be a much more trustworthy and tangible form of communication for consumers – and much more likely to yield a positive response. Furthermore it is a channel that has a much greater scope for creativity, as opposed to email which can be limiting, presenting an opportunity to create some truly engaging campaigns.
While our word collection was a fun exercise aimed at providing some levity before the big deadline, it was reassuring to see that so many people seem to appreciate GDPR as an opportunity and a change for the better. Regardless of people’s opinions towards GDPR, the fact remains that it is now LAW – no ifs, ands or buts!
See the full list of people’s GDPR words in the video below:
By Scott Logie, MD, Insight at REaD Group
It’s been a turbulent few months for the UK retail sector – Debenhams and House of Fraser both recently announced multi-million pound losses. On the other hand, Tesco revealed a rise in their annual profits to £1.3bn and Sainsbury’s and Asda announced a ground-breaking merger to make a super-supermarket.
The level of competition between retailers is reaching fever-pitch. Amazon’s seemingly never ending reach, the growth of online brands such as ASOS and boohoo, and the general rise of the discount retailer have disrupted a sector that has been slow to respond. It is therefore vital for retailers to demonstrate their value to consumers and develop robust strategies to capture and retain customer attention and loyalty. A strategy that has proven highly effective in both the past and the present? Loyalty schemes.
Is the loyalty scheme on its way out?
While some have criticised loyalty schemes in recent years, they remain a powerful way of connecting and engaging with customers. In our recent Retail Trend Report we found that there is an intrinsic link between how long a loyalty scheme has been running and the level of customer loyalty. The research found that Tesco lead the way in supermarket retailers when it came to customer loyalty – the Tesco Clubcard was the first scheme to be launched (in 1995). Consequently, retailers with less mature loyalty schemes have lower levels of trust – Morrisons was ranked 10th for customer loyalty and only launched its scheme in 2014.
Some critics have insisted that the loyalty scheme is dying out, however, Tesco’s announcement earlier this year that they were going to downgrade their Clubcard programme was met with widespread backlash from customers. The demand is still there it would seem. Loyalty schemes offer a tangible value and benefits to the consumer, and many budget and plan accordingly to make the most of them. They may not necessarily attract new customers but certainly encourage more frequent purchases and customer retention. Loyalty schemes have become expected as part of the offering by consumers – gaining points rather than just lower prices.
Changing consumer landscapes
It has gotten to the stage where many consumers are experiencing ‘’offer fatigue’’; being bombarded with endless 2-for-1-deals, flash sales and coupons to the point where they become desensitised to all of it. Comparable prices are no longer the differentiator, consumers expect retailers to offer them deals that are suited to their individual shopping habits.
With discounting so rife, consumers are no longer prepared to buy full price products unless they absolutely have to, which has meant that supermarkets like Co-op have suffered for a number of years now. In order to break the cycle, retailers must renew their focus on their customer loyalty propositions to make it worth customers investing their time and money in selecting their chosen retailer’s products. But how exactly?
The Digital Shift
Facilitating an easier process for customers to access their rewards is one way of tackling this challenge. Customers are increasingly using contactless technology and phones to make payments, and the prospect of carrying a wallet bulging with loyalty cards is becoming an increasingly unattractive one. It is high time that retailers shift their loyalty card schemes to digital platforms.
Tesco recently set an example by launching a contactless version of their Clubcard last year, followed by a Tesco Clubcard app. Customers who are presented with wads of paper coupons after swiping a loyalty card are, more often than not, unlikely to retain these for a future purchase.
Personalisation is key
Saving money is no longer the only priority for customers – they have come to recognise the value of personalisation and appreciate receiving deals that have been intelligently tailored to their shopping habits. Retailers therefore need to make sure that they are segmenting their customer data and analysing it to ensure that they are building and engendering trust and anticipating customers’ needs.
Building customer trust is a gradual process and not an overnight fix; this makes loyalty schemes more significant than ever before. Retailers must ensure that they are clearly explaining the benefits of a data-value exchange to their customers and remaining as transparent and open as possible.
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.
The recent implementation of GDPR has provided a welcome impetus for brands to take this initiative. All things considered, by introducing loyalty schemes and using segmentation to enrich customer understanding, brands should soon enjoy better communication with an increasing number of data-savvy consumers.
Insightful, practical, really informative and enjoyable (yes an enjoyable GDPR event!) are just a few of the positive adjectives used to describe the REaD Group GDPR breakfast briefing. With only 3 days to go until ‘G-day’ the event was very timely – and very well attended – with a room packed full of experienced and informed marketers, Agency side Account Managers and data professionals.
There is more to GDPR than Consent!
To set the scene, REaD Group CEO, Jon Cano-Lopez, kicked off proceedings by referencing the latest consent guidance from the ICO (published only a few days before the event). The first statement in the guidance reinforces that consent is often not the most appropriate legal basis for processing data under GDPR:
ICO guidance: “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.”
So, although the GDPR presents some new hoops for marketers, data managers and compliance teams to jump through – there is more to GDPR than consent – and life will go on beyond 25th May!
The sky won’t fall in on 25th May!
Hannah Crowther, Associate at renowned law firm Bristows LLP, delivered an engaging and no-nonsense presentation packed with salient advice (she even got some laughs!). Lamenting the barrage of opt-in requests we are all experiencing, she advised caution when deciding whether to re-permission your data – in many cases it is not necessary – particularly for existing customers, members or subscribers.
Her top tips for staying on the right side of the GDPR?
- If you are embarrassed to say what you are doing with personal data you shouldn’t be doing it!
- Avoid surprising people – use the Legitimate Interest balancing tests to determine what an individual would reasonably expect to receive
- Give individuals control over their data and what happens to it, for example, including a clear means to update their preferences or opt out- and document it
Her informed legal view: If you have carried out your checks and balances – by using Legitimate Interest Assessments in a serious and thoughtful manner – and you can evidence your process, you are unlikely to be in ICO fine territory.
What about the right to erasure? This is another area of GDPR receiving a lot of coverage but also greatly misunderstood. In fact, in many instances requests can be legitimately challenged by an organisation – using the outcome of a balancing test and where there is an overriding legal basis for continuing to hold and process the requester’s personal data (she used the examples of current employees or customers who need to be invoiced).
It’s a journey not a destination!
A pre-recorded interview with experienced CDO at Age UK, Michelle de Souza, gave us insight and sound advice – based on her hands on experience of preparing for GDPR. Their two year GDPR journey has taken them from relative disinterest internally to embracing the new principles based regulation. Michelle likened the run up to the enforcement of GDPR to preparing for your driving test, hoping you will pass – and that you don’t get pulled over!
“If you are doing something that doesn’t feel right then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.” Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner
Mark Roy – Founder and Chairman of REaD Group – spoke passionately about GDPR being a force for good. Surely it is better for businesses to be more transparent and honest about what they are doing with personal data so consumers can be more informed and more engaged? Talking about Recital 47 that states explicitly that the processing of personal data for direct marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for a legitimate interest.
By Direct Marketing the GDPR refers to Direct Mail (not email, telephone or online – which are still covered by PECR). Mark expounded the virtues of Direct Mail as an effective, more trusted, less invasive and creative channel to market. Research confirms that consumers trust direct mail more than email and that it makes them feel more valued.
In Mark’s view, once the GDPR dust has settled, the real game changer will be the ePrivacy Regulation (ePR) which is expected to replace PECR in 2020 and will shake up all digital channels.
Closing on an optimistic note, he reiterated that businesses that embrace GDPR will thrive beyond May 25th – and the future for data driven marketing is bright!
By Jon Cano-Lopez, CEO at REaD Group
We are now only days away from the big day – the General Data Protection Regulation – widely considered to be the most drastic change to the data landscape of recent decades.
GDPR is, in many people’s opinion, long overdue. The previous legislation surrounding data protection, the Data Protection Act, was implemented in 1998, before many of today’s digital marketing channels existed – the marketing practices of today are almost unrecognisable to those of 20 years ago.
Like it or not, GDPR will force marketers to alter their practices (very much for the better) and will impact businesses in numerous ways – across every bit of personal data processing. One of the central reasons for its implementation is to give consumers back control of their data and promote transparency and honesty between marketers and their customers.
The data value exchange
Unquestionably, gaining permissioned data will become more challenging and this will directly impact on marketing communications. The real test for brands will be to convince consumers of the value exchange in providing their data. Consumers and brands have been benefiting from data sharing for years, to the point where people often take many of the benefits for granted, such as loyalty schemes and tailored offers.
By providing relevant and tailored communications, brands can demonstrate the value of data sharing and ensure that their customers are likely to welcome correspondence from them.
While many marketers, and indeed much of the media, have been concentrating on the issues around obtaining consent, it is important not to forget that Article 5 of the GDPR requires that data be kept up-to-date and accurate. Using first class data cleaning products, such as Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) solutions which can clean data in real time, will ensure that companies are complying with this aspect of the regulation (and take a significant amount of hassle out of the task).
Data is becoming an increasingly valuable asset, and this value should not be underappreciated. It costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. Keeping data up-to-date in order to communicate better with your existing customers should therefore be a no-brainer.
Despite a desperate scramble by many companies to re-consent customers via email, it is important to remember that consent is NOT the only legal basis for processing data. There are six in total and they are all created equal. Marketers received some good news from the ICO earlier this year when it was announced that if you are using direct mail to market to consumers you can rely on ‘’legitimate interest’’:
“you won’t need consent for postal marketing… 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 an individual is unlikely to be surprised or object.’
However, an LIA (legitimate interest assessment, also known as a balancing test) should be conducted to determine whether ‘legitimate interests’ can be used as a form of lawful basis for the data you are contacting.
In light of this announcement, brands should explore the opportunities presented by direct mail and think about how to utilise the channel to secure maximum impact. Public perceptions around direct mail have changed over recent years after many experienced an endless deluge of largely irrelevant and unwanted email. A return to a golden age of DM should be welcome news to consumers and companies alike. Mail as a medium has been found to be far less intrusive, more tangible and trustworthy, as well as providing a greater scope for companies to be creative and encourage engagement.
The months ahead
The 25th May should not be thought of as a finish line, but the beginning of a journey. Achieving compliance is only the start – maintaining best practice and incorporating it into company culture will be the real test for companies. However, it is important to remember that the legislation will ultimately benefit both consumers and brands. There is no need to panic over the prospect of fewer names on the marketing database, as those who have chosen to share their data will be more receptive and open to communications; essentially more valuable to business. Forging these long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with customers who want to be contacted will pave the way for a successful future.
Another important difference between the Data Protection Act and the GDPR is that two existing Privacy concepts will be entrenched in law in Article 25, namely ‘Privacy by Design’ and ‘Privacy by Default’.
These concepts are not new but will have enhanced prominence and importance with the enforcement of the GDPR, under Article 25.
Privacy by Design means businesses need to consider privacy at the initial design stages and throughout the development process of any new products, processes or services that involve processing personal data.
Privacy by Default means that when a system or service includes choices for the individual on how much personal data he/she shares with others, the default settings should be the most privacy friendly ones.
Sounds simple, right? Well, maybe not…. It is far more than a tick-box compliance exercise that can be buried within audits and contracts…it requires full commitment to build data protection into company culture and all aspects of its operations. Essentially, these Principles encapsulate an ethos that should permeate every organisation that controls or processes personal data.
So here are a few tips for applying these key principles (and soon to be legal obligations):
Educate all staff so they understand the principles – and that the Privacy obligations and accountability sit with ALL staff not just IT or compliance teams
Conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment – or PIA. A PIA is an analysis of how personally identifiable information (PII) is collected, used, shared, and maintained within the organisation
Best practice is to create a PIA template which can then be filled in for each new system or product/service. The ICO have provided a PIA template here.
Implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure that only personal data necessary for each specific purpose are processed. This applies to the amount of personal data collected, the extent of processing, period of storage and accessibility
Data collection techniques – including cookies – should also be reviewed and revised to avoid excessive data collection. Ensure that automated deletion processes are in place to remove personal data after an appropriate (and set) period of time
Remember this is a legal obligation – no longer a ‘good idea’ or a ‘nice to have’
One big benefit of applying Privacy by Design and Default, is that it will also make it easier to be transparent, which is absolutely key when it comes to earning the trust to collect the data in the first place – and also a fundamental principle of the GDPR.
So, time to embrace Privacy!
Read about how REaD Group have embraced information security and implemented Privacy by Default.
By Mark Roy, Founder and Chairman of REaD Group
The current chaos that seems to have overtaken the social media world these days is going to have far reaching consequences, not just social media but across the entire digital spectrum.
We have all been inundated with warnings about the imminent arrival of GDPR and many of us have spent much of the past few years preparing for that change. But it is the Electronic Privacy Review (E-PR) that will have a devastating effect on businesses engaged in digital communications as the current social media furore has altered the focus of E-PR from PECR re-write to complete reinvention of digital communications regulations.
The back story to GDPR is that the European Union was extremely unhappy in the early teenies about American digital behemoths – the likes of Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Apple wantonly using European citizen data for their own gain. They believed (rightly in my view) that European citizens should be able to exploit these services whilst having confidence that data would not end up disappearing to God knows where and used for God knows what!
To make matters worse for the Americans, in the time it has taken to get GDPR ratified in Europe both Safe Harbours and Privacy shield have been binned, although an allegedly ‘beefed-up’ version of Privacy Shield is now in play. Somewhat unhelpfully, in a deeply Churchillian two fingered way, Mr Trump has also managed to abolish the Obama Privacy bill which apparently did not put ‘America First’!
However, the wider story is not about the new controls and transparency that GDPR will provide for European citizens, it isn’t even about the fines that will be issued if companies fail to adhere to this new higher standard, the real story is about what is going to happen next year when the E-Privacy review (E-PR) is published.
The digital marketing arena is currently governed by the Privacy and Electronic Communications regulations (PECR). Written in 2003 it has been subject to comparatively little reform over the last 15 years, amazing considering all that has changed in that time. The E-PR is fast approaching its closing stages and aims to resolve the significant legislative gap between the digital arena of 2003 and today’s much changed industry, as well as creating important synergies between E-PR and GDPR.
At its heart (surprise surprise!) a pretty draconian view of how commercial organisations are able (or unable) to exploit European citizen data. One other key thing to mention is that currently, sitting within the text, it states that all digital communications should be based on consent in line with GDPR, in other words open, transparent and unambiguous and requiring affirmative action.
So, it will not surprise you in the least when you hear that MEP’s, Euro legislators, rapporteur’s, ministers et al have spent the last few months being savagely lobbied by who? You guessed it, the US behemoths who stand to lose billions as a result of these changes, yes – those same behemoths that sat firmly in the cross-hairs of the Euro legislature back in the early teenies!
So when a story erupts about an analytical business using “surreptitiously” acquired data to try and influence the outcome of an election you won’t need a degree in quantum physics to understand that any party involved in the creation of the E-PR will now be doing everything within their power to ensure that European citizen data is protected at all costs.
Whilst I have long said the GDPR right to erasure articles would signal an end to the wanton use of citizen data in the programmatic industry, it now seems that a relatively small analytical business abusing the trust of Facebook users (aided by a long-held commercially convenient laissez faire attitude from Facebook) has pretty much ensured that the E-PR will move to an opt-in model and that European digital marketing companies will have to find a new and more transparent way of acquiring customers.