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GDPR: a new era and the moment for mail

November 5, 2018 | 5 min read

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As marketers assess their one-to-one communications in the immediate aftermath of the GDPR, they should consider mail. It’s trusted and effective, says Jonathan Harman, managing director of Royal Mail MarketReach. It’s now five months since the GDPR came into law and changed the rules for marketers.


GDPR: a new era and the moment for mail

But the GDPR is not just about the law. It’s also about the need for marketers to adopt a new mind-set. In a blog post, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “[This law] is about putting the consumer and the citizen first.”

It boils down to trust. Marketers must earn and respect consumer trust. And they must do it against a context in which that trust has been eroded largely due to misuse of personal data. At Royal Mail, we see the GDPR as a positive force. That’s because it puts the proper use of customers’ personal information at the heart of any brand’s communication strategy. It encourages brands to see customers as individuals.

Trust and respect

Brands whose communications earn and respect the trust of their consumers are the ones that will succeed in this new era. Those that don’t will risk seeing them opt out, potentially losing both them and their data. A customer lost is hard to win back, especially if you can no longer use up-to-date first-party data.

So how do you show you are treating your customers with respect when you communicate with them? First, the data you have is accurate and up to date, including address and preferences. Second, your messaging shows an understanding of their relationship with you. And third, it is timely, relevant and valuable to them.

To manage the transition to this new era, you may need to re-evaluate your media mix. Defaulting to just digital may not be best way to go.

This is where mail comes in. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) says marketers don’t necessarily need consent for mail marketing and may be able to use legitimate interests.

With mail, therefore, you have the confidence of knowing you have fewer regulatory unknowns Whereas the new ePrivacy Regulation, expected to happen soon, may demand a further rethink of marketers’ digital strategies.

Five pillars of mail

Mail is built on more secure foundations that make it ideal for one-to-one communications. Think of them as five pillars.

One, mail reaches almost 30 million homes. While many consumers will have multiple (and some lapsed) email addresses, they generally only have one postal address. There is a high certainty, therefore, that you are reaching the right person and they will see it. About 40% of digital ads fail to meet industry viewability standards. By contrast, 94% of mail recipients take at least one action with mail – opening, sharing, processing or displaying. Mail gets through.

Two, when mail lands on the doormat, it is trusted and welcomed: 70% of consumers say mail makes them feel valued , and 87% say it is believable compared to 48% for email.

Three, mail makes a lasting, as opposed to transient, impression. It is read and re-visited an average four times, and 27% stays in the home for 28 days where it may be seen by more than one individual.

Four, it is memorable. When consumers are bombarded by thousands of brand impressions a day, they remember mail. Independent research shows that long-term memory encoding is 49% stronger for content delivered by mail than email, and 68% say they are more likely to give mail their full attention than email. Mail cuts through.

And five, mail works: 45% of mail recipients have made an inquiry or requested information by phone after receiving mail; 36% have bought something; and 29% have visited a store. Mail has a proven ROI.

Secure and effective

Our latest guide - GDPR: The Moment For Mail – has just been published. It shows the different ways in which you can use mail right now, as well as how it can work with other channels.

With the GDPR, you may think it’s risky to use one-to-one communications. You may worry about third-party data compliance or availability. You may conclude it is better to rein in your communications for the time being. But you may be missing an opportunity. Mail offers a secure and effective means of communication now. The customers you can contact today are the ones you should be investing in.

Download the free practical guide from Royal Mail Marketreach. It’s packed with case studies, research and statistics on how companies have trusted mail to get the most from personal data.

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