One of the major challenges for businesses today is compliance with the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR represents the most significant and comprehensive change to data protection, privacy and security in the last twenty years. The regulation aims to give EU citizens and residents back control over their data, as well as to simplify the regulatory environment for international businesses by standardising regulation across the EU. The GDPR will take effect from the 25th May 2018 and will affect any business that processes the personal data of EU citizens and residents.
Of course, while there’s no shortage of information stating how ‘X% of businesses are unprepared for the GDPR and do not have a strategy for it in place’, here’s the thing: instead of looking at GDPR as a compliance burden, businesses need to start looking at it as an opportunity to explore and refine other options in the marketing mix to reach prospects – particularly print mail.
What’s so great about print mail ahead of GDPR?
As businesses find their feet and attempt navigate GDPR, the fact is that email marketing will be on the decline. Some businesses will have been diligent and proactive enough to manage their database and start developing a GDPR-compliant process for email marketing but many will need an alternate strategy to reach and engage with customers.
Print mail has long been an effective means for businesses to reach and engage with customers – we all receive, open and read our mail, an infographic from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) highlights that the average time advertising mail is kept in the home is 17 days, acting as a constant reminder. In addition to this, 92% of survey respondents who were mailed by a brand engaged with them directly after receiving a piece of direct mail that they liked.
What’s the impact of GPDR on print mail?
According to a quote on the ICO website, as well as in Royal Mail’s GDPR guide, The GDPR Opportunity With Mail, you “won’t need consent for postal marketing but you will need consent for some calls and for texts and emails under PECR.” There is, evidently, an opportunity for businesses to connect with customers through high-quality mail. But while consent is not required, businesses must:
- Include a contact method that individuals can use to opt out,
- Make sure that everything they do concerning an individual’s person data is recorded
- Check that the individual’s data stored on their system is correct
- Have a clear opt in process
- Have a legitimate interest in regards to contacting that individual (i.e. if the person has expressed interest in the business’ services or solutions in the past and the mail is related to or advertises those solutions)
- Have a clear process in place for the processing and use of data for audit purposes
What are the benefits of print mail over email in a post GDPR world?
- Value-driven and personalised
Thanks to low cost and immediacy of email, many businesses utilise it to reach and communicate with prospects and customers. It takes no time at all to produce an email and with email marketing tools, emails can be automated at scale. While it is a cost-effective method for communication with prospects, it lacks the level of personalisation and value that print mail, for example, can provide.
Print mail, on the other hand, while slightly more costly, has greater potential for personalisation and can help businesses to better connect with customers. An infographic by the DMA shows that print mail is far more engaging and memorable than email.
- Builds a better connection with customers
Most people today have multiple emails: work emails, personal emails, back up emails – all of which makes it hard to keep in touch. Few of us routinely clear our inbox and/or check all of our emails, meaning relevant information from businesses could go overlooked or accidentally be deleted. Furthermore, it presents a major compliance issue when businesses have multiple email addresses for one prospect and that information is not consolidated in a single location.
Using print mail allows businesses to build better connections with customers. When prospects read email, they may have a dozen of other things to attend to as well – but when businesses send mail, they have their prospect’s undivided attention. As print mail is essentially delivered to the prospect, they are virtually guaranteed to see it.
- More credible and of high-quality
Unlike email, print mail is inherently safer and more secure. There are no links to click, no forms to fill in and no viruses. It’s also easy to determine where the letter came from in the first place and if it’s important, a return address will be included.
Moreover, print mail is often addressed to a specific individual – far more personal than an untargeted email – and official insignia, business branding or messaging can be added to it to make it more professional and authentic; something which isn’t as effective via email.
Postal marketing can form an important part of a business’ overall marketing strategy, says the ICO. “Simple flyers and response forms to competition entries and interactive CDs, postal campaigns can generate important new leads and business.”
As the GDPR comes into effect, the value of print mail will undoubtedly increase. Above are just a few benefits of using print mail for your business.
To find out more about the value of print mail and how you can use it in a post-GDPR world, please download our free eBook.