At a glance
- Advertising mail doesn’t require customer consent
- But align your DM marketing with GDPR best practice to build deeper trust
- Mail is an effective way to pick up permissions for other channels, like email
The biggest shake-up of data privacy laws in 20 years, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is looming.
It’ll extend wide-ranging new protections to individuals and their information. And it’s a prospect that makes plenty of marketers – worried about seeing their databases decimated – twitchy.
Except, perhaps, those that communicate via advertising mail – the only format that doesn’t require consent from the customer to speak to them (provided the message is of 'legitimate interest' to the recipient).
It’s a privileged position, to be sure – not least because, while GDPR will force digital marketers to wade through rolls of red tape, for ad mail it’s an opportunity.
Fewer regulatory unknowns might just prove incentive enough to invest more in the medium.
That’s not to say mail marketers shouldn’t take a leaf out of the GDPR playbook.
Zoe Rowland, Head of Governance for Cancer Research UK, says the charity’s opt-in model for DM is “compliant with the spirit of GDPR best practice and creates deeper supporter trust, engagement and value in the long term”.
The charity’s Head of Individual Giving, Kathryn Toner, agrees: “You’re building relationships with the people who want you to talk to them. And once you’ve got that consent, what you have to say becomes far more valuable.”
Embracing DM doesn’t mean you should ditch digital, though, argues Toner. “Mail is most effective as part of a multi-channel way of communicating.”
It can, she says, act as a trusted gateway to the more targeted, transparent online conversations with consumers that GDPR champions.
GDPR is all about trust, adds Jonathan Harman, Managing Director of Royal Mail MarketReach.
“It provides an opportunity for organisations to truly embrace data protection as a brand differentiator – a core value that engenders better, more trusting relationships with consumers.”
And mail, he reckons, “has qualities that help brands gain the trust of their customers”.
A recent Royal Mail study reveals that 87% of recipients consider what is communicated by mail to be believable, compared with 48% for email.
What’s more, 70% of recipients feel more valued when receiving mail from an organisation, while 70% say mail gives them a better impression of the organisation sending it.
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