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

DataIQ Awards logo with fireworks in the background

REaD Group are delighted to have been shortlisted in three categories in the DataIQ Awards 2019:

  • Best place to work in data 
  • Best use of data in a marketing programme with Titan Travel
  • Transformation with data with Marie Curie

The awards recognise the skills, commitment and capabilities of individuals, teams, organisations and solutions of the top performers in the data industry. Aligned to the value-driving champions and the challenges they meet, judged by the top tier of practitioners.

https://www.dataiq.co.uk/events/events/dataiq-awards-2019?tab=shortlist

We’re looking forward to awards night on 10th July – see you there!

CALM - The Campaigning Against Living Miserably logo

By Alice Miller, Account Manager at REaD Group

One of the most inspiring things about working for REaD Group is our fundraising activity and commitment to a new charity every year. We select a charity that has been nominated by a member of staff, provide them with pro bono marketing services and spend the year trying to raise as much money as we can!

Last year we raised over £12,000 (including Gift Aid) for MS Society, thanks to a year packed with sponsored waxing, quizzes, bake-offs and other fun events – and especially due to some intrepid employees trekking 10 peaks in 10 hours in the Lake District! The Charity of the Year gives us a chance to come together as a team and raise much needed funds for causes where every little really does make a big difference.

This year, I nominated CALM – the Campaign Against Living Miserably. CALM is a national, male suicide charity. It focuses specifically on men as 76% of all suicides are male, and suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45.

Anyone who knows me will be aware that I’m particularly supportive of mental health campaigns. However, the work that CALM do is especially close to my heart as I’ve lost two male friends to suicide in the last few years. It is difficult and tragic to see anyone battling with mental health issues, but it’s important to remember how far-reaching its impact can be – suicide affects families, friends and communities too.

We were fortunate enough to be visited this week by one of CALM’s fundraising officers, Emily, who came into the office to talk to us about the fantastic work that CALM does:

  • 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.

I think we all left the talk feeling incredibly moved – I spotted more than one person who had ‘something in their eye’ – and inspired to get stuck in to some fundraising and smash our target from last year!

To help kick things off this year I’ll be running the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October. If you haven’t met me, I am not a runner (at the start of the year I found it difficult to run for a bus!) But my running bug seems to be infectious, as 22 members of staff have signed up to run the Asics London 10k in July – we’ll keep you updated throughout the year with our progress! Please give generously if you can and help us raise money for this incredible charity!

Any donations are hugely appreciated and regular updates on our fundraising activity can be found on our JustGiving page.

Find out more about the great work that CALM do here!

CIM Marketing Excellence Award Finalists - REaD Group

REaD Group are delighted to have been announced as a finalist for the CIM Marketing Excellence Awards 2019! In partnership with Ageas Direct, we have been shortlisted in the Best Use of Data and Insight category. The award recognises the intelligent use of data to create compelling insights, resulting in an improved product or customer experience.

The CIM Marketing Excellence Awards identify and celebrate outstanding marketing by organisations, individuals and teams. Now in their tenth year, these awards continue to recognise that high standards of quality and integrity are vital to the success of marketing, as well as rewarding the innovation delivered by marketers who are at the cutting-edge of their profession.

Using data and insight intelligently to better understand your customers should be at the forefront of every marketer’s mind.  With the wealth of data available it makes perfect sense to utilise such an invaluable asset to improve personalisation and customer experience (and drive competitive advantage!) – provided that this data is used responsibly.

We’re looking forward to awards night on 11th April – see you there!

Get in touch for more information on our engagement services

MS Society logo on grey background with white trees border

By Scott Logie, MD, Insight at REaD Group

At the start of 2018, REaD Group chose MS Society to be our charity of the year. This was based on one of our team who made the proposal, and we agreed they were a worthy charity to follow. I don’t think many of us at that point would have realised how engaged we would have been as a business with the charity, how much we would have learned about the disease or what can be done to help people who live with the disease every day.

A lot of that has to go down to MS Society, they have been amazing. We met the Chief Exec who was full of ideas on how we could help them. Additionally, we have had brilliant support from a number of teams across the charity, with special mention to Tom Bolsin, who has kept us up to date on opportunities, given us great ideas on how to raise funds but more importantly shared with us what our funds could do. And that is at the heart of what a good charity partnership should be.

Over the year we have had visits from an MS sufferer who shared what it is like to live with this debilitating illness every day and we have had a presentation from the research team on what is being done to try and stop the spread of MS.

A particular highlight (?) for me was the visit to the Tissue Bank with my colleague Katie.  Katie was our star fundraiser when we did our big challenge – more on that later – and as a “reward” got to see how brains and spinal cords are being dissected for sharing around the world for researchers to analyse the differences between those with the disease and those without (more information here). Katie seemed to love this, odd girl, although I had to leave the room to lie on the floor. Those people who do that job deserve a medal.

Probably the most uplifting event of the year was the awards ceremony where individuals with MS, their families, their employers and those who raise funds in their spare time were all recognised. The word “humbling” is over-used, but I left that event feeling pathetic for the little that I do compared to these amazing people and enthused that they do it.

Oh yeah, and we raised funds too. We baked cakes – some tasted nicer than others. We had a pub quiz and watched Tickers beat Snickers. Just about. We had pub games and enjoyed the beer more than the games. And we had a wax off where some of our brave men lost the hair from their arms, legs, back, stomach, chest and…underarms. Well played Arun, Adam, Charlie, Andrew and Joe. It wouldn’t have been me.

And for our big challenge we tackled 10 peaks in 10 hours in the Lake District. It was a very sunny day with a storm threatening the whole way around. I’m delighted to say that all thirty of us made it, and more importantly made it together. The fact that we entered the pub at 9 hours and 58 minutes just as the heavens opened made it all the sweeter I think. What a team effort!

We have raised over £12k before Gift Aid and have enjoyed doing so. Thanks to everyone who has contributed, we really appreciate it.

We’ll be looking to support another charity in 2019 but, to be honest, whoever we support will do well if they are as engaged, supportive and helpful as MS Society have been this year.  It’s quite easy for an organisation to raise funds for a charity but this year has been so much more than that. We have learned a great deal about the disease and the causes; we have met sufferers who have inspired and amazed us with their desire to live a normal life; we have learned about the root causes and what needs to happen to stop MS and we have seen how even a disease as hideous as this can be overcome with fortitude and bravery. It’s been fun and enlightening.