REaD Group CEO, Jon Cano-Lopez, with DataIQ100 logo

We are delighted that REaD Group CEO, Jon Cano-Lopez, has been confirmed as a member of the 2019 DataIQ 100 which profiles the most influential people in the data industry.

”I am delighted to be recognised in the 2019 DataIQ100. It is an honour to be associated with such an impressive list of talented and influential data professionals.”

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.

Jon 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.

Integral to this strategy is his belief that data sits at the heart of everything – and understanding and interpreting that data is key to any brand’s 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.

A passionate 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 GDPR’s implementation last year presented significant complexities in having 3rd party data processors – and DaaS provides an elegant and equitable solution to that challenge.

Jon has been an authoritative contributor to the direct marketing industry throughout his career holding positions on DMA’s Data Council, various working parties and the Institute of Direct Marketing Data Council.  A genuine industry influencer, he is sought after as a media commentator and a trusted advisor on data marketing, privacy, compliance and the GDPR.

Congratulation to Jon for this much deserved recognition!

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.

By Jason Peacock, Account Director a REaD Group

What does a day in the life of an Account Manager at REaD look like?

In short, a day in the life of an Account Manager is fun, challenging, collaborative, inspiring and hard work (did I say fun already?) and it’s most definitely rewarding. I would also be lying if I didn’t say occasionally it’s frustrating, but that’s just part of life right?

The fact is, as any person in any business working in an Account Management role will tell you, that every single day is different. And that itself is one of the brilliant things about the role.

An average day…

For me, every day starts with a coffee; a good strong coffee which I drink on the train to work while checking my diary and making a list of the things I need to get done for the day.

Once in the office, it’s full steam ahead. Another coffee on the go whilst reading and responding to urgent emails. Then a quick check-in with relevant internal teams on key projects and making sure I’m prepared for the meetings due to take place that day.

Internal meetings are relatively frequent. We may work in data, communications and technology, but we’re above all a people business and whether it’s face to face or via tele/video conference we work collaboratively to drive and deliver the work for our clients.

I’m working on a couple of large projects for my clients at the moment which have a lot of moving parts and regular catch-ups help keep everything on a smooth track.

The rest of my day typically consists of conducting client calls or meetings to present status updates on projects or, fresh thinking and new ideas to drive the clients’ business forward and meet their objectives.

I also spend time planning new work, compiling lists of next steps, sending follow-up emails, putting together timelines with internal stakeholders, scope of work estimates for the client, and opening project tickets.

The list could go on and on, but generally, it’s about keeping tabs on all projects and thinking about what needs to happen next.

As a role, it’s a hybrid of relationship management, project management, consultancy and sales. We keep clients happy, make them look good but also challenge their thinking.

There are of course the quieter days where meetings a less frequent and/or projects have slowed slightly which allows time to catch up on admin, think about future projects, find the next number on the advent calendar I received from the office secret ballot, think about what to buy for my Secret Santa gift, worry about what someone may buy me (!!)  and write the odd blog for the 12 days of Christmas.

So, what makes a good account manager?

To me, given the variety in the role there isn’t any one single thing that makes a great Account Manager.

Being a ‘people person’ helps. Someone who cares. Also the ability to listen – to discern what a client needs, and then fulfil that need – is a highly sought-after and invaluable skill.

Understanding their business challenges, their motivations and what makes them tick all help build and retain strong relationships, both internally and externally, which is of course key to building trust.

Being organized and wanting to be part of a team, so you can juggle multiple stakeholders and deliverables across multiple projects across multiple accounts, will also put you in good stead for a role in Account Management.

There are times you need tenacity – to take on, to look outside the box and solve a problem and there are other times when good commercial acumen, a cool head, diplomacy and sound judgement are needed.

It’s about being interested, being a team player, having boundless and relentless optimism and NOT being work shy.

What have I learned?

It’s not so much “learned” because I’m still learning. In the 20+ years I’ve worked in Account Management, I’ve challenged myself to learn something new every day.

From understanding new industry sectors, new personalities, new marketing technologies and to how to write new and complex data queries to learning more about Multiple Sclerosis (as a business we support the MS Society) and making “human mummy’s” with the office toilet roll whilst at the office bar on a Friday evening!

It’s impossible not to learn new things and be inspired when every day you’re surrounded by so many people from different backgrounds, with different interests and different skill sets.

The REaD Group Team accepting the Apteco Rising Star Award 2018

We were absolutely delighted to be acknowledged as Rising Star 2018 at the Apteco Partner of the Year Awards last night.

Winning this Award is the culmination of more than two years of innovation and endeavor at REaD Group and reflects a true team effort.

Having been one of the industries leading data providers for more than 25 years, adding to our service offering to help clients to maximise the effectiveness of data and how it is used, was a natural next step in the evolution of the business.

As a result we made the strategic decision to increase our capability and client base. We recruited a talented solutions team,  invested in our technical stack, defined a series of key objectives and focused our efforts in achieving them.

This Award is the culmination of more than two years of strategic endeavour at REaD Group and reflects the true team effort.

REaD Group Chairman and Founder, Mark Roy is extremely proud of the achievement, commenting : “The real triumph is in how far we have come in the last two years.  The solutions reflected by this award, that are delivering so much value to our clients, are a fantastic achievement for REaD Group – well done team!”

To be recognised as their fastest growing partner by Apteco is a credit to everyone involved and firmly establishes REaD Group as a trusted partner for the delivery of complex engagement solutions.

Much credit and congratulations to everyone involved!

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

Find out about our GDPR ready data

podium tables branded with the REaD Group logo with poscards and pens on top

Last week we were delighted to be joined by a room full of senior data marketers, CDOs and analysts from a broad range of sectors and from brands as varied as Glasses Direct, Macmillan, RR D, Deloitte, Sodexo, Gobsmack and Go Travelyn at our Late Summer Soirée.

With the highly photogenic Tower Bridge as our backdrop, our guests were taken through a whistle-stop programme – from compliance and the future of data delivery to the power of segmentation via key messages about trust and transformation.  Huge thanks to our stellar line up of speakers including, Andrew Mann, Partner at North Bailey (formerly of Asda, Sainsburys, Tesco Clubcard and more), Graham Davis, Head of Customer Insight and Marketing Effectiveness at Ageas and Andrew Wilson, CEO of My Life Digital.

When the going gets tough, the tough get it right!

REaD Group Chairman and Founder, Mark Roy, opened the evening with a review of the state of the data environment – challenging but full of opportunity for businesses who have adapted.  Talking about the importance of keeping consumers at the centre of your business, as a fitting introduction to the themes of the evening.

Data you can trust!

Kicking off with some no-nonsense precis about GDPR and REaD Group data, Andy Bridges, Data Compliance and Governance Manager, referenced the strict due diligence applied to all REaD Group data.  Giving our clients the confidence to use our data post GDPR.  And the clients that are using our data are seeing some compelling results, as outlined by Head of Business Development, Adam Tolcher in Data that delivers:

A well known furniture supplier is seeing consistently positive ROI of £6.50.

One of our charity clients recently achieved a conversion/donation rate of just under 3% from a DM campaign (further highlighting why there has never been a better time to use Direct Mail!)

A travel company, specialising in cruises, has seen an astonishing £240,000 of revenue following a DM campaign using REaD Group data.

Introducing Data as a Service (or DaaS), an exciting new delivery model for REaD Group, Commercial Director Clive Rumsey outlined some of the business efficiencies, compliance and data quality benefits of DaaS.  A short animation reinforced the concept of DaaS being the future of data delivery.

Which way is North?

In a hugely insightful and entertaining talk, Andrew Mann assured us that Data isn’t difficult!  Getting everyone up on their feet, we were reminded in a very practical way that to succeed you need everyone in your business pointing the same way.  Every business should tap into the power of their data but remember you can’t fly before you can crawl. Leaving the audience with a practical checklist of 7 steps to data driven customer growth and the message that it’s never too late to instigate change – as the old proverb sates, ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is NOW.’

Never a truer word spoken – at speed!

In his presentation No job too big, no job too small, Scott Logie, Director of Customer Engagement at REaD Group, proved that you can complete a 20-minute data-packed presentation in just 5 minutes. If you talk really fast. But making the serious point that there is no marketing problem that data cannot solve.

Insight in Action

Graham Davis, talked about the impact of commissioning REaD Group to build a bespoke segmentation for Ageas.  The message – using data to truly understand your customers and (most importantly) using that insight to inform and optimise your marketing strategy – is transformational.

Andrew Wilson – in Mark’s words “the new kid in the block” as CEO at My Life Digital, talked about keeping consumers and their choices at the centre of business being an imperative.  In a post GDPR world, it is the brands who do the right things by their customers and potential customers – using a trusted and comprehensive preference management system, like Consentric – who will thrive.

Dan “the man” Fossaceco, Lead Generation Director gave us a quick tour of the evolving world of Performance Marketing – a powerful tool for marketers to gain opt-in prospects post-GDPR. The Three simple messages to take away? It’s easy to set up, it works and…get in touch with our established and experienced performance marketing team to deliver results!

Rounding up the night, REaD Group CEO, Jon Cano-Lopez, summarised that we had covered a lot in a short space of time, and that despite the challenges the new data regulation has presented – now is the time to seize opportunities!

If you want to know more, just ask!

silhouette of a bicycle on a road with the Eiffel Tower in the background

By Scott Logie, MD, Insight at REaD Group

The Tour de France is over and yet again we have a British winner, that’s 6 times in the last 7 races.  It is almost becoming de rigeur!  More correctly, there have been 6 Team Sky winners in the last 7 years.  Let’s leave aside for now any suggestion of cheating (my own opinion based on not very much is that they don’t break the rules but bend them as far as they can) and praise this for the amazing achievement that it is.

Since they formed, Team Sky have had a plan, they have run the team with clear objectives and they have succeeded in what they set out to do.  Mightily impressive.

And the win on this year’s Tour comes on the back of Chris Froome’s amazing three grand tours in a row.  I’m not a cyclist but I can appreciate how the planning and effort that Team Sky go into creates the possibility of victory.  To understand this more, listen to the excellent Podcast that the BBC made about how Chris Froome effectively won the Giro d’Italia on stage 19, it shows the meticulous planning that goes into creating the victory:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/44372328

I used to work with a guy who came at the same inspiration from another sport, rowing, and a presentation he had seen from Ben Hunt-Davis:

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNOQAuMGxBQ)

The concept here is very similar to Team Sky, focussing on what makes for success and getting rid of anything that doesn’t.  It is an easy concept to get but a very hard philosophy to follow.

Summarising these two great sporting examples, I see three things that stand out that can be applied to businesses:

Sweating the small stuff

Key to success for the rowers and Team Sky are the small incremental changes that add up to moving them forward. Every day sees them looking for something that will make a very small but relevant difference.  These principles were also applied to the British Olympic Cycling team where things like heating the tyres, then the riders thighs were seen as minor changes to begin with but are now used by all the teams.  So it is in business, looking at the small stuff can be what makes a difference in winning new work or delivering a successful project.

The big idea

As with Team Sky on stage 19 of the Giro, sometimes it takes a big idea to make a change. Froome was losing the race and needed something to change that.  They sat down, developed a plan, a big plan, and executed it to perfection.  But part of that was actually coming up with the big idea in the first place.  I can imagine no ideas were off the table, that anything would be considered.  Pure blue sky thinking.  How often do we really sit down in our business and look at what the next big idea should be?  And even if we do, how many times does it fall away because we don’t agree, focus and deliver on it?

Great teamwork

With both the rowing team of 2000 and Team Sky one other key factor is true, that the team is more important than the individual. In the cycling world, the domestiques, the people that provide the support; drag the main rider through to the end of tough stages; deliver the food and drinks needed to get to the finishing line; are as important as the number one rider.  Geraint Thomas served his time as a domestique before he was allowed to win the Tour.  These riders know their role, they stick to it and the team wins as a result.  I don’t think I need to explain the analogy in business!

Many of us love sport, we sit and admire as our heroes deliver success.  Or, if you are a Scotland fan, occasionally beat a team 3 places above us in the world rankings.  However, there are also many lessons to be gained from studying what makes sports stars great at what they do; dedication, drive, grit, hard work and talent amongst many more.  Extending this into what we do every day isn’t always easy – not many of us will be as great at our jobs as Roger Federer – but we can hopefully achieve more by being inspired by them.

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