REaD Group staff completing the ten peaks challenge for MS Society

There was laughter, there were tears, some unexpected scrambling, a few blisters, a bit of chafing, sun burn and A LOT of sweat – but we all did it!

The sun was just rising over the picturesque Lake District hills when 29 intrepid REaD Group staff (and one trusty canine companion in Bella the dog!) set off on our 10 Peaks Challenge to raise much needed funds for MS Society.

The Challenge: Conquer 10 peaks in less than 10 hours

The Route: a 15ish (our various distance measuring devices couldn’t quite agree) mile route taking in some of the highest peaks and most spectacular views in the Lake District, including the mighty Scafell Pike

The Team: 29 REaD Group staff (30 if you count Bella the dog!)

There were highs….

Reaching the top of peak 10 in 6 hours – we totally rock!

The views – simply breath-taking!

The joy of cooling our burning feet (and in some cases whole bodies!) in The Stickle Tarn

Almost losing Adam T in a steaming bog (the muddy kind) – or should that be a low!?!

The bliss of the first sip of a cold pint/cup of tea at the official finish – the very welcome sight that is Wainrights’ Inn

Tucking into Chicken/Veg Tikka Masala and Lemon Meringue Pie (or 3 if you’re Tickers…) at the youth hostel

The sense of camaraderie and achievement – there’s really nothing like it!

And the lows?

Well none really – apart from THE SWEAT! With sunshine AND humidity, we were sweaty in places we didn’t know we had – ‘nough said!   And being chased by an enormous thunder storm (which a least had the decency to wait till we had got to the pub).

Huge thanks must to our fantastic guides Matt, James, James and (yes) James from Lakeland Mountain Guides [https://www.lakelandmountainguides.co.uk] who made us laugh and kept us safe and also the lovely staff at YHA Langdale [https://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/yha-langdale]

A massive effort and achievement from everyone, and we are a few whiskers away from reaching our £10k fundraising target so any donations would be so much appreciated.  Come on people!

Our JustGiving page will be live until 30th June:  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/readgroup10in10

MS Society Awards

By Scott Logie, MD, Insight at REaD Group

I played football on Thursday afternoon for the first time in around a year.  We played 3 games…and lost them all.  In addition, I stubbed my toe which was massive and bruised when I woke up.  I also seem to have tweaked some muscles in my groin.  All of which meant that I was feeling pretty sorry for myself when I hobbled through the rain to attend the MS Society Awards lunch on Friday.  By the time I left a little over 4 hours later not only had I realised the need to stop being quite so self-centred but I had learned a huge amount about people’s ability to be positive, see past adversity and support others.

Every year at REaD Group we choose a charity to support.  This year we are helping out and raising funds for MS Society after it was nominated by one of our staff who has a friend who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.  We have done some fundraising events already including a waxing evening (for some of our hairier gents) and are walking 10 peaks in the Lake District in 10 hours on the 1st of June.  I was also invited to judge the employer of the year award which was one of 15 given out at the awards.

Even before the awards, at the drinks beforehand and over lunch, the stories of how people live with MS and the support of those who help them out day to day was incredible.  As part of the judging we had already read a lot about the things that people in companies do to help their colleagues who have to live each day with MS, but to meet these people in the flesh and see the bond between them was amazing.  It was clear that for all of them, this wasn’t about helping staff but about a lasting friendship.

This might sound odd but one of the things I noticed, from my point of view as an outsider, was how often it was hard to distinguish who had MS and who didn’t.  At my table at lunch were three sets of people from companies and in each case one was an MS sufferer and the other wasn’t.  And in each case, until they stood up and needed support or assistance, it would have been impossible to say who had MS.  This clearly shows how unpredictable a disease it is, and how it can literally affect anyone at any time.

Scott Mills from Radio 1, whose mum has MS, presented the awards and described it as “an emotional rollercoaster” and boy was he spot on.  The awards were a mixture of individuals and groups who support MS sufferers and people with MS who are an inspiration for others.  The first group includes partners and employers who go above and beyond, those who are researching to help find a cure and people in the media who are raising the profile of the disease and its consequences.

However, the most lump in throat moments for me here were from the young people who either care for their parents with MS – including a 9 year old girl and two 16 year old girls who have to balance exams, being 16 and looking after their parent – or those raising funds.  This latter group included a 10 year old girl who organised a bake sale on her own and an 11 year old boy who swam nearly 1,500 lengths of his swimming pool.

And then there are those who not only live every day with MS but also take the time to raise funds, such as Noel Wilson who is aiming to drive his mobility scooter around every racing circuit in the UK, or who campaign or support through sharing their experiences.  Such as Hannah Smith who was diagnosed with relapsing MS at 24 and has set up a blog called An Ordinary Girl with MS where she writes openly about her experiences.  The ability of people to lift themselves above a debilitating illness, and not just live every day but inspire others is fantastic.

It feels like a drop in the ocean but I’m really proud that REaD Group are supporting the MS Society this year.  I hope you all feel the same and support us in whatever way you can.

You can donate to our 10 peaks challenge here

Photo of Mark Roy presenting at the GDPR Impact Series 2018

Take a room full of switched-on marketers, data practitioners and legal and compliance professionals from brands and agencies keen to learn about how to thrive in a post GDPR data driven world.

Add in a group of informed and forthright speakers and panellists.  Provide a holistic view of the new data world order post-GDPR – covering qualitative research, legal stance, channel view, a GDPR journey and industry view…..And bingo!

So what did we learn? 

Ultimately the research presented by David Reed, DataIQ confirms what we already know (or certainly should do!) – that to build and retain trust you must tell people what you are going to do. And do that (and only that!).

The responses outlined also reinforce the importance and relevance of the core principles of GDPR: accountability and transparency. The full research is published and available to download here

For an event focussed on GDPR there was a refreshing consensus from speakers and panellists on the contentious topics of consent and legitimate interests.

Complete the balancing tests correctly and honestly and you can use Legitimate Interests as the basis for direct marketing to your customers and also for third party data.

Mark Watts, Partner at law firm Bristows LLP summed it up nicely, stating “consent is not the only game in town” and reiterating what the ICO have been saying for months that all the legal bases for data processing under GDPR are created equal!

Refreshingly candid, he referenced GDPR Article 47 which explicitly mentions that Legitimate Interests may be used as the basis for Direct Marketing.  Legitimate Interests are also very broad and include commercial interests of an organisation – as confirmed in the latest guidance from the ICO.

ICO: “The legitimate interests can be your own interests or the interests of third parties. They can include commercial interests, individual interests or broader societal benefits

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/lawful-basis-for-processing/legitimate-interests/

The rights of individuals are also broad and this is at the heart of the balancing tests required for applying Legitimate Interests as a legal basis for processing data.

Direct marketing and GDPR

Royal Mail MD, Jonathan Harman, gave us 12 reasons mail can help your brand to thrive in a GDPR world, including:

  • You don’t need consent for postal marketing
  • Mail offers higher response rates than email
  • No fines as yet for using mail for marketing
  • Mail primes other media

He also cited some compelling stats that confirm that consumers like and trust communication using this channel:

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%).

The key take-away – direct marketing has a key role to play in the post-GDPR world!

GDPR is a journey not a destination

The engaging and charismatic Michelle de Souza, CDO at Age UK, gave us an honest account of their GDPR journey via a pre-recorded interview with REaD Group’s Scott Logie.

Her advice?  Be pragmatic, be optimistic, be responsible marketers and remember that GDPR is a journey not a destination. Leaving us with the positive view that organisations should have the confidence to keep going.

Get it right and the future IS bright!

REaD Group Chairman and Founder, Mark Roy, put together a strong case to dispel the negativity around GDPR, reiterating REaD Group’s stance that GDPR is a much needed force for good.

Referencing the recent controversy involving Facebook and data sharing as a compelling example of why the accountability and transparency obligations at the heart of GDPR – essentially doing the right thing by consumers – are very much needed and should be welcomed.

Picking up on Mark Watts points, he was also very clear that legitimate interest isn’t just for customers  – that it allows contact with everyone providing it meets the balancing test requirements.

All in all, a great event with some very tasty take-aways!

Want some no nonsense advice on GDPR?  Check out our FAQs or give us a call!

Photograph of REaD Group CEO, Jon Cano-Lopez named on dataIQ 100 leaders 2018

LONDON 1 March 2018

We are absolutely delighted that REaD Group CEO, Jon Cano-Lopez, has been confirmed as a member of the 2018 DataIQ 100 which profiles the most influential people in the data industry.

Announced at a Gala Reception at OXO Tower last night, Jon joins an impressive list of people acknowledged to have the influence, profile, experience and knowledge to drive the data-driven marketing industry.

I am delighted and flattered to be selected for the DataIQ 100.  It is an honour to be recognised and to be associated with such an impressive list of data and analytics professionals – particularly at such an exciting time for the data industry.

Jon has worked in the data industry all his career, with an impressive CV 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 and success in data communications.

He joined REaD Group in 2014, as part of the company’s exponential growth and is responsible for the strategic direction and continued success of the business – including adding some top brands to its A-list client base.

At the heart of this strategy is his belief that data sits at the heart of everything and understanding and interpreting that data is key to any brands success

In addition to building on REaD Group’s position as market leader in data cleaning and quality, he has been instrumental in developing the company’s service offerings – including an enviable insight capability and winning contracts for the delivery of Single Customer View solutions reflecting a real benchmark for REaD Group.

An advocate of utilising technology to drive innovation and deliver optimum results for clients – Jon is the driving force behind the implementation of Data as a Service (DaaS) at REaD Group.  As well as raising the bar for data quality and provision in the industry, the implementation of the GDPR throws up significant complexities for data processors and DaaS provides an elegant and equitable solution to that challenge.

Jon has been an authoritative contributor to the direct marketing 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 trusted advisor on data marketing, privacy, compliance and the GDPR.

Congratulation to Jon for this much deserved recognition!

The full 2018 DataIQ 100  can be found here

 

GDPR 'Our Stance' with REaD Group logo

The lack of clarity in the run up to GDPR has been shocking. This statement provides much needed clarity on how to remain on the right side of the legal minefield and make the most of the opportunity that GDPR really presents.

REaD Group have been involved from the very earliest stages of GDPR.  We have been at the forefront of negotiation, lobbying and discussion for the last six years.  Consequently, our knowledge of the regulation itself, the intended meaning and what it means for the Direct Marketing industry is unrivalled.

REaD Group is unequivocally supportive of the GDPR.  All the decisions we have made surrounding the permissions required to use third party data for direct marketing activity under GDPR have been externally validated by Bristows LLP, widely regarded as this country’s leading data protection lawyers.

REaD Group have been working towards becoming a GDPR ready business for the last three years. We have made significant changes to our own data collection methods and how we obtain, retain and maintain our data and data solutions.  Our contributor due diligence processes we believe are unparalleled and unique in the scrutiny of GDPR requirements and we have enhanced our internal IT solutions.

It is important to remember the purpose of GDPR is simple; to give consumers greater control and transparency over the use of their data. Most importantly, GDPR will change marketing communications for the better – more open, more honest and more transparent and in turn that will deliver a more positively disposed, aware and trusting consumer, which has to be good for us all.

Our Stance

REaD Group has enhanced its safeguarding processes to ensure every piece of personal data made available to you has been collected in a GDPR ready manner. This inevitably means there will be changes to our products as we ensure that all data has been lawfully processed in line with GDPR. No data is accepted into our data estate until our due diligence and auditing processes have been satisfactorily concluded. This includes adherence to a number of significant and mandatory GDPR rules established by our GDPR Steering Group.

Permission

In the recent weeks and months there have been conflicting opinions surrounding the level of consent required for data to be available for third party direct marketing post May 2018.

The issue of consent has created an enormous amount of confusion.  What is it? How is it obtained? What channels does it apply to?  Or indeed, do I need it at all?  Consent of course, is only one of six legal grounds to process personal data under GDPR, yet it has occupied a disproportionate amount of the airtime serving only to confuse further.

At REaD we prefer to ask – Do we have permission?  In other words, do we have grounds from one of the six processing purposes?  In most cases with our data assets permission means the processing of data collected either with consent or as a legitimate interest. Both of these grounds for processing are equally valid and our products will be selectable on either or both.

This means if you are planning a postal marketing campaign, you won’t need consent. You can rely on using legitimate interests, if you can show how your use of the consumer data is proportionate, has a minimal privacy impact and the consumer is unlikely to be surprised or object.  To be clear, within GDPR itself, Direct Marketing is specifically singled out as a legitimate purpose.

Being GDPR ready is about balancing risk.  When you decide to use REaD Group data, we advise you to conduct the necessary balancing exercise between your interests in direct marketing and the rights of the consumers. REaD Group will have conducted this exercise ourselves under our obligations as data controller.  We also advise you to ensure that consumers know exactly how you intend to use their data.  Our experience tells us that the more open and honest you are the better it is received by consumers.

Of course, our in-house experts will be more than happy to talk you through this note as well as your specific concerns or campaign ideas.  We have done the vast majority of the work for you in building a GDPR ready data asset so we can all market ourselves confidently and securely.

Want to talk GDPR?  Contact our team today.

Dean Standing - Client Services Director at REaD Group

30th January 2017

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dean Standing to the role of Client Services Director. Dean will be responsible for leading the client services team, ensuring the delivery of the very highest levels of service to REaD Group’s clients, while also expanding the company’s extensive portfolio.

Dean has been integral to REaD Group’s growth since joining as a graduate over 10 years ago and will now be key part of its future. His aptitude for understanding client challenges and building relationships has resulted in numerous accolades over his decade-long career at REaD Group. He was awarded employee of the year in 2009, shortly before being promoted to Bureau Sales Manager. He also won the Database Marketing Rising Star Award in 2011 whilst working as Head of Bureau Sales.

Dean joined REaD Group in 2006, taking up a graduate position in its meta-morphix division.  He progressed quickly, carefully nurturing high profile clients through the global crash and worked his way up through the company. He worked particularly closely with Macmillan Cancer Support and a number of supermarkets and was a key figure in implementing meta-morphix’s unique automated data processing software, INLINE.

Jon Cano-Lopez, CEO at REaD Group, said: “Dean is one of those rare people who has the ability to identify the challenges facing clients and quickly and efficiently get to the solution.  With over a decade’s experience under his belt, he really understands data and how it can deliver the best possible results for his clients.  Dean is a huge asset to the company and his experience and dedication will continue to serve us as he takes on his new role as Client Services Director.

“At REaD Group, we are committed to creating an environment that nurtures talent and supports career development and Dean’s progression is a perfect example of this. It’s been a pleasure to watch him rise through the ranks since joining at entry level over a decade ago.”

Dean Standing, Client Services Director at REaD Group, said: “Having worked at REaD Group for over a decade, I continue to be passionate about delivering the best possible results and service to our ever growing client base. The next few years are to going to be extremely challenging for brands and REaD Group is ideally positioned to help advertisers maximise the asset that lies dormant within their database. I can’t wait to get started.”

grid

31st December 2016

REaD Group are delighted to announce that one of our in-house Insight team, Andrea Baroni, has been recognised as a SAS software award winner!

Graduating with a Distinction MSc in Management Science and Marketing Analytics from Lancaster University, Andrea was awarded the SAS Prize for achieving the best marks in the SAS Programming module and also for best use of SAS in a final project submission.

Having joined REaD Group’s Insight team in August 2016, Andrea is already utilising his award winning SAS skills to provide exceptional insight for our clients, including customer profiling and segmentation analyses.

Congratulations Andrea!

In a world of sophisticated and digital savvy consumers, using effective Insight to turn raw data into meaningful and profitable action is no longer a nice to have.  Using SAS, and other advanced analytical tools is driving our ability to provide powerful analytical support .

Talk to us today about our Insight services

banner for dbm awards 2016 - outstanding data focused agency winner

30th September 2016

REaD Group are delighted to named as winner of the Outstanding Data Focused Agency award at 2016 Database Marketing Awards. Celebrating the very best of data-led marketing, the award was presented to CEO, Jon Cano-Lopez at a glittering ceremony hosted by Bill Turnbull.  Organised by Database Marketing magazine, the oldest and now only specialised title serving the industry, the Awards are a well-established highlight of the calendar.

Being recognised as the best in class for data-focus is the culmination of a period of reinvention, innovation and drive for excellence at REaD Group – driven by the evolution of the data marketing landscape and the changing needs of our clients.

So why did we win?

Data sits at the heart of everything that we do. Our UK consumer knowledgebase, developed over the last two years, The Oracle, has taken data understanding to a whole new level. A data source that compiles the industries most respected data sources into one place – Active, Acxiom, two consumer information services and many others. That data is fixed at the most robust place – the home address – then extrapolated across email, social media, mobile, direct mail and web behaviour.
Our data has transformed the way in which our clients are able to view and understand their customers and prospects.
We have built technology that exploits our award winning hygiene suite, Qinetic, so that our data asset self-perpetuates with new occupiers, move to addresses and the flagging of deceased and Gone Aways from the file.

The result being the most up to date and accurate collection of data in the UK.

We delivery an analytical solution that influences, with confidence, our clients’ communication strategies. This allows our clients to truly integrate campaigns, interpret that reaction and actions from one channel across to another, whilst using this data to deliver better outcomes for consumers and brands.

Retention is more important than ever – our insight allows our clients to treat every customer as an individual, driving engagement and adding value.

Combining these robust services represent the bedrock of modern database marketing and ideally positions REaD Group to provide bespoke solutions across many sectors and brands.

Contact our team today to find out how we can help you achieve success from your data.

bereavement register

10th June 2016

It is estimated that in the twelve months following an individual’s death, a whopping 110 items of marketing can be received in their name. With upwards of 580,000 people dying each year in the UK (based on ONS figures), this amounts to nearly 64 million pieces of unnecessary and damaging, direct mail landing on doormats and in inboxes annually.

Receiving this mail not only upsets the family and relatives of the deceased individual, but also increases the risk of brand damage for an organisation, and creates environmental harm and monetary waste.

To tackle this problem, REaD Group launched The Bereavement Register in 2000 – a continuously evolving marketing suppression list of deceased individuals in the UK. Since then, our team of dedicated TBR heroes work hard to ensure we the UK public is protected from this upsetting side to direct mail.

Since its origin, we have estimated that The Bereavement Register has prevented upwards of half-a-billion items of post being sent to the deceased!

“I understand first-hand the distress caused to bereaved families when direct mail is received after a person has died. I continued to receive mail address to my late wife, Sarah, months after her death. This was upsetting for me, but especially for our young children,” explains Mark Roy, Chairman. “I was in the perfect position to do something about it, and subsequently, TBR was born.”

The service is now used to screen over 70% of all direct mail sent in the UK, and is continuously growing.

TBR has a consumer website and phone number to call, as well as our FREEPOSR TBR Folders, which are distributed to UK Registrars, funeral directors, hospitals, hospices, police liaison officers, solicitors, charities and coroners.

To find out more, please visit www.thebereavementregister.org.uk.

Andy Bridges

14th May 2016

1 – Tell us about yourself – what’s the story so far?

I’ve been involved with data for around 20 years,  staring at a business publishers in SOHO rising to Data Governance lead at one of the leading loyalty companies in the UK .…When I started in data I used  floppy disks that had a mass storage of 240mb!! Not sure if the younger generation know what those are….

2 – Tell us about your role at REaD Group – what does compliance really mean?

Compliance to me is making sure the information we collect , manage and distribute is something we can trust and is fully transparent, in turn that gives our clients confidence, I suppose I’m the ‘ rules and regulation’ man… but let’s be clear I’m not an Auditor!

3 – What changes in the industry can we expect to see in 2016?

We will be hearing more about cybersecurity with cyber-attacks becoming ever more frequent and increasingly damaging. In addition we will also see mobile commerce grow as the desktop loses its primary place.  I also believe the retention, interaction and long-term engagement of consumers will be an even smaller target to hit as we see the rise of the savvy consumer….and what’s going to gain real momentum in 2016 is the impending GDPR.

4 – What inspires you?

People with drive, determination, positive attitudes and to be honest my Dad – he never sits down and just keeps going.

5 – Who has been your business mentor?

There’s a few to mention, so I won’t pick just one… One of those mentors said ‘knowledge is power’ (yes it sounds corny….) but boy has it been true over the years.

6 – What attracted you to the REaD Group?

I’ve had a business relationship with the REaD group for many years and have always been impressed with their skill to keep moving forward and create valuable data driven marketing services for it clients.

7 – What do you like to do in your spare time?

As most people have noticed in the Office – Road Cycling. I love the open road and if I had a time machine I’d go back and be part of the pro peloton!