GDPR doesn’t stop you doing Direct Mail. It actually makes it better!

In 2018, General data protection regulation (GDPR) was a hot topic for anyone involved in marketing, as new data protection rules were introduced. In simple terms, the new rules governed the use and storage of people’s personal information, with big fines rumoured to be imposed on companies that “persistently, deliberately or negligently flout the regulations”. 

However, while GDPR brought with it plenty of GDPP (or, Great Data Privacy Panic), much of the worry was simply down to a lack of understanding. While many companies ran scared from the new regulations, stopping all forms of customer communication in a bid to stay on the right side of the law, the reality is that GDPR can actually improve your marketing efforts. We explain why. 

What is GDPR?

GDPR is amongst the world’s strongest sets of data protection rules, governing what organisations can do with personal data. At eleven chapters and 99 pages in length, the legal text of the GDPR act is not light reading. Those planning to grab themselves a vat of tea and a packet of biscuits ready to settle down for a read can find the text here, but it might be easier to give one of our team a call with any specific questions. 

In the meantime, here are a few highlights and common phrases that might help you to navigate GDPR: 

  • If you process personal data relating to EU citizens or residents, then the GDPR applies to you even if you’re not in the EU. 
  • Companies must ensure that they gain consent, agree to notify customers swiftly in the event of a data breach, give customers the right to access and delete their own data, and have security protocols in place. 
  • What is meant by “Consent” The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) defines consent as “any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her.” 
  • The term “personal data” refers to any identifying information. Names and email addresses are the obvious ones, but other information such as photos, ethnicity, gender, biometric data, religion, and IP addresses can also be classed as personal data. 
  • “Data processing” means anything that you do to the data – including collecting, recording, organizing, structuring, storing, using… even deleting it!
  • A “Data controller” is the person who decides which personal data will be processed and how. If you’re an owner or employee in your organization who handles data, this is you. Meanwhile, the term “data processor” applies to any third party that processes personal data on behalf of a data controller.

GDPR, Direct Mail, and Legitimate Interest 

Legitimate interest is one of the six lawful reasons for processing personal data under GDPR which “does NOT Require explicit consent”. A legitimate interest will usually apply when you use personal information in a way that the customer would reasonably expect and have a minimal privacy impact. For example, sending a direct mail to a customer who had previously purchased your product, or shown an interest in it, would be considered to fall within legitimate interest. 

Using transactional printing – a type of digital print that can be personalised to the customer – is one area where customers must remain GDPR compliant. Our professional team has years of experience across a range of industries – we can ensure that your personalised direct mail activity is GDPR compliant. In the process, by mailing only those that are true prospects, we are confident that we can help boost the ROI of your campaign. 

GDPR Compliant mailings: Programmatic Mail and PAM 

Programmatic Mail offers a cost-effective way of recovering lost and abandoned online shopping baskets. As customers have shown an interest in your product, mailing them is a-okay under the GDPR legitimate interest clause. We simply pop a bit of code into your eCommerce site which can track customer actions. If they abandon their shopping cart without making a purchase, a personalised direct mail is printed, packaged, and automatically shipped to your customer’s doorstep within 48 hours.

Programmatic Mail offers a cost-effective way of recovering lost and abandoned online shopping baskets

Another way to stay GDPR compliant and still send direct mail is to use partially addressed mail (PAM). We use your existing customer data to create a demographic match that allows you to target more customers without breaching GDPR. Partially addressed mail has an open rate of 88%, and an action rate of 26%. With an average ‘shelf life’ in the home of 7,2 days, PAM beats the average marketing email lifespan of 2 seconds hands down, without any nagging GDPR worries. By the same token, door drops are also GDPR compliant because they do not target individuals using personal data, instead focusing on specific postcode areas. 

Data sources

For any marketing campaign to be successful, you need clean, reliable, targeted data. That’s where PSE can help. We can cleanse and supply data to you and can report back to you how successful your campaign was. For those looking to extend the reach of their campaign, here are just a few additional data sources to consider. 

Co-operative data: A cooperative database is one where various companies and pool customer data and transactional histories to create a larger database. For GDPR compliance, it is important that these customers have not objected to the sharing of their data. 

Filtered data: Ensuring you’re getting your message into the right hands at the right time is the key to success. Cleaning your data can save you money on your postage as Royal Mail offer discounts. We can also filter your data by location, purchase, or key demographics such as age or gender, helping you to boost your ROI. 

Mosaic/Accord profiled data: By using existing customer data, you can build a mosaic picture of your ideal demographic, which can be used to purchase new prospect data. By doing this through a reputable data provider, you benefit from their assurances that the data will be GDPR compliant. 

Partially addressed mail: We’ve covered this one above, but, as a fully GDPR compliant way to extend the reach of your campaign, it deserves a second mention. PAM allows targeted mail marketing without the use of personal data. Replacements such as ‘Occupier’ or ‘Valued customer’ are used instead of the recipient’s name, with Royal Mail figures showing a reach of up to 30% more households than a cold-list mailing.

Profiled Door Drops: Door Drops give you GDPR compliant access to millions of potential customers. What’s more, research now shows that your offer will live in the home for 5.64 days and be interacted with on average 3 times! (Source JICMail) 

Data receipts – when traceability counts 

If anyone questions where you have acquired their data from, we can trace it exactly and let them know how we got their details, why they’ve been sent direct mail and how it’s compliant. Having fully traceable data helps you answer any potentially awkward questions. 

Storing and cleansing data

In an average month, 100s of thousands of people move house, and sadly many more die. This can result in your customer data degrading by as much as 30% annually. To comply with GPDR – as well as to save you money – it is vital that you cleanse your data regularly.

To comply with GPDR – as well as to save you money – it is vital that you cleanse your data regularly.

Let us worry about GDPR! 

To the uninitiated, GDPR can be both complex and confusing. Our team is here to help. We’ve studied the rules (all 99 pages!) so that you don’t have to. To find out more about offline marketing, view some customer case studies, or speak to one of our marketing experts for a free offline marketing audit, click here.  

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