The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force 25th May 2018. Developed to provide consumers with more power over how their data is collected and used, it will have a huge impact on the processes used by businesses to handle information.
While regulations are often seen as a burden on time and resources, GDPR provides an opportunity for businesses to stand out. The law is being introduced to encourage transparency and firms that can reflect this in their customer communications will begin to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones
How will this effect Direct Mail ? Well, the ICO has now clarified this in a new FAQ section on its website, which has appeared without fanfare. It reads: “You won’t need consent for postal marketing…you can rely on legitimate interests for marketing activities if you can show how you use people’s data is proportionate, has a minimal privacy impact, and people would not be surprised or likely to object.”
So, what are the benefits of postal marketing, especially with GDPR looming?
1 - Unlike e-marketing, postal marketing is a simpler way of reaching your audience. This means that once GDPR comes into force, some customers may only be reachable via post. Businesses prioritising the physical mail channel will incur less risk of non-compliance, fines and the associated damage to reputation.
2 - Physical mail still creates an emotional reaction. Marketing emails and text messages often result in consumers clicking delete or unsubscribe, but personalised physical mail generates higher response rates. Consumers believe that physical items add credibility and they understand that producing and sending them requires more effort. They feel more valued as a result.
3 - It’s often easier to reach desired consumers via post as they tend to only have one residential address. Oppositely, individuals can have multiple email addresses, including some ghost accounts that they simply use when signing up to services and aren’t regularly checked.
4 - Even unaddressed mail can have an impact. Door drops provide a way of reaching a certain demographic without having to collect customer data first. On average, unaddressed mail remains in the home for around 38 days – meaning there’s plenty of opportunity for your message to be read.
Reaching a mass audience
The ease with which digital channels can be used to target a mass audience simultaneously has seen them prioritised by many. However, the originality and personality which physical mail enables means that post is flourishing; and this will see it play a vital role in post-GDPR customer communications. Using the physical channel to reach the masses has never been easier with a variety of tools available.
Ultimately, GDPR will have a big impact on data processes. With consumers given more power over their information, businesses will have to take greater precautions when handling data and distributing electronic communications. Companies that can effectively use physical mail will be able to establish relationships that are built on transparency and trust, leading to customer loyalty that will positively impact the bottom line.