REaD Group team at the start of the Thames Bridge Trek 2019 supporting CALM

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.

REaD Group Team in CALM vests at Asics 10K

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!

To make a donation please visit our Just Giving page: 

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’);

To talk to REaD Group about keeping your data clean, up to date and compliant, get in touch today!

REaD Group and data analytics specialists More Metrics have partnered to create a risk model for Covid-19 to support informed decision making and responsible marketing.

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.

Contact our team to discuss how these models can support responsible marketing.

Find out more about thus unique model.

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.

At REaD Group we have been supporting brands with direct marketing for 30 years – we’d love to discuss how mail can help you in these challenging circumstances so please get in touch.

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.

Best regards,

Jon Cano-Lopez

CEO, REaD Group

 

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]

It has been one hell of a year – and we are beyond delighted to now be multi award winning in 2019! And to be shortlisted for three categories in the DataIQ Awards is the icing on the cake.

But, ultimately, the real winner is data.

With all the hype surrounding data – it’s the new oil, gold, best thing since sliced bread, etc – it is easy to lose sight of the real impact of using it intelligently.  Well managed, maintained and respected data will drive better strategic decisions and deliver tangible value to businesses on a day to day basis.

To be honest some of it isn’t that sexy but has the potential to transform businesses and achieve outstanding results – and win awards!!!

Data Quality

Data quality is one of the bedrocks of good data management and an obvious first step towards getting the most value from data. The old adage of “rubbish in, rubbish out” has never been more relevant – or potentially costly.  In these highly regulated times, all businesses need to be confident that their data is clean, accurate and complete (and compliant!).  And with the technology available to manage data quality more efficiently and securely advancing almost daily, there really is no excuse.

Actionable insight

It can be as ‘simple’ as understanding your customers better. If you know who your best customers are, what they like, and how you should be communicating with them, then your messages to them will be more personal and positively received (not just personalised).  The right analytics can transform strategy and with dramatic results.  And deeper insight projects can completely transform business structures and promote new and more productive ways of working – as the award-winning project we have delivered with Marie Curie UK, The Big SHIFT, so aptly demonstrates.

Quality Data

Using high quality third party data, from a credible supplier, can have a dramatic impact on marketing strategy – particularly when it comes to acquisition.  If you understand who you best customers are (see actionable insight!) third party data can help you find more of them and engage with them in the right way – using the right channel, message and offer – to ensure more successful outcomes.  As our client Titan has very successfully demonstrated.

A new marketing mix

We believe there is a new marketing mix in town – data, creativity and technology.

The companies that use the data they have to make informed decisions that drive both creativity and personalisation – and choose the right technology to put the consumer at the heart of everything they do – are in the best position to win.

As our multi-award winning year goes to show, get the balance of these right and the sky is the limit!

Contact us to explore how we can help you find the right combination of data, creativity and technology

We are absolutely delighted and hugely proud that REaD Group and Marie Curie have won the Best Use of Insight Award at National Fundraising Awards!

Hosted at the stunning and historic venue, The Brewery, and organised by the Institute of Fundraising, the National Fundraising Awards celebrate the very best in fundraising and are a unique opportunity to showcase excellence in the Charity fundraising sector.

It is a genuine honour that REaD Group and Marie Curie have been recognised in these prestigious awards – a reflection of the power and impact of this data and insight driven project, the Big SHIFT.

Marie Curie delivers nursing and care services across the UK, with people interacting with it through many touchpoints, from hospices to shops.  The Big SHIFT project aims to model the effect of these services on fundraising income. A team of senior analysts was established, both internal and external, comprising Steve White from Marie Curie, Scott Logie and Diane Dao from REaD Group, Colin Stewart from Caversham Analytics and Andrew Lockett, Natural Data Insight.  An example of successful collaboration and team work.

A carefully constructed methodology enabled the creation of a baseline fundraising landscape onto which Marie Curie-specific variables were overlaid. Analysis of these ‘layers’ generated predictive models that were then mapped, highlighting areas where fundraising performance is above or below expected levels, in the context of service provision in the locality. A strategically powerful tool, it has already delivered surprising and extremely effective insights.

Well done to everyone involved – a fantastic example of data and insight in action!

For the full list of winners: http://www.nationalfundraisingawards.org.uk/and-the-winner-is

View from the Silent Retreat in Bali with Campaign Against Living Miserable (CALM) logo

By Felicity ‘Flick’ Ward, Credit Controller at REaD Group

It seemed like such a good idea at the time – all I have to do is not speak for 6 days… If Julia Roberts can do it in “Eat, Pray, Love” then it should be no problem for me. Many were incredulous that I would be able to stay quiet for so long – “YOU, not speak for 6 days?”, “Flick, you must be joking”, “You’ll NEVER manage that” – I could go on.

Not to be deterred, and encouraged that some of my disbelieving friends and colleagues had pledged sponsorship, I booked the Bali Silent Retreat bang in the middle of Ubud – no getting away then!

As my departure date approached, I started to have serious doubts (and borderline panic) but off I went.

It turned out to be an absolutely amazing experience – bucket list stuff! I loved the tranquillity, the place was stunning and having no contact with the outside world at a time of intense political turmoil was so welcome.

My daily routine consisted of:

5am Ginger Tea

6 – 7am Meditation

7-8.30 am Yoga

9.30 am BREAKFAST

Free to explore, eat lunch etc. until

2pm – 3.30pm Yoga

3.30pm – 4.30pm Meditation

4.30 – 6pm DINNER

Then early to bed.

My daughter had bought me Eat, Pray, Love to read which I started on the morning I arrived and finished an hour before I left – I hadn’t appreciated the inscription until I opened it – “Dear Mummy – one family’s quest for silence”. It was the perfect book to read…

I tried all sorts of things I had never experienced and to be honest, never thought I would – labyrinth walking meditation, crystal meditation, water meditation (freezing!!) and all sorts of yoga positions I never thought were possible!

I had time to really get to know myself, explore my innermost thoughts and heal from the frantic life we all seem to lead and all of the pressures we put upon ourselves – such as the expectation of instant (and constant) communication.  No mobile – so no Whats App, no email, no text and NO BREXIT!

I fell in love with Mount Batur which I could see from my terrace and decided to have a go at painting it (no judgement please, I know I’m no Monet!).

I amazed myself at my ability to keep absolute silence – I didn’t even talk to myself (something I swear I do on a regular basis!).

This really was an unforgettable experience and one which was made even more poignant as two days after I left the Retreat I received news of a dear friend of the family, aged 27, who had attempted suicide but had miraculously survived.

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45, and the main reason I wanted to undertake this self-imposed silence (besides raising as much as possible for CALM and setting a personal challenge for myself) was because mental health is an issue that people often struggle to talk about and there are so many who suffer in silence.

Thank you so much to everyone who sponsored me and for everyone that understandably doubted my ability to pull this off, I am so delighted I proved them wrong.

It is still not too late to sponsor me so please, please, dig deep for this truly amazing charity: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/REaD-Group2