I can’t quite believe I am going to write this, but for once I find myself agreeing with the Daily Mail, a notorious anti-direct marketing powerhouse, after it published an article suggesting that consumers will be deluged with unaddressed leaflets as a result of a new Royal Mail campaign designed to remind marketers that door drops are unaffected by GDPR.
I am in no way anti-leaflets. I believe they have a legitimate place in the marketing mix and can be incredibly powerful for small businesses and organisations with a location-based audience such as supermarkets.
However, it must be remembered that despite Royal Mail’s efforts to make them more targeted through technology such as Purls, they remain a scattergun approach to marketing; which is something that the direct marketing industry has been trying to move away from for years.
As a result direct mail has undergone a huge transformation as high volume industries such as utilities and financial services have changed their ways by taking a more targeted and personalised approach. ROI has consequently increased and the number of unopened mailings that find their way into landfill has decreased by a staggering 500 million in the past three years.
In just a few days, GDPR is going to change the landscape again and direct mail will become even more targeted. Sending people information that they are happy to receive will increase brand trust and ultimately enhance the customer experience. However, the ethos of GDPR will be entirely undermined if some marketers attempt to circumnavigate the new directive and find ways to ‘bombard’ (a very Daily Mail word) consumers with unwanted marketing collateral.
There are a number of recent research studies that reveal the public’s relationship with their letterbox has shifted. Consumers, particularly Millennials, are far more receptive to the mail because they receive less of it and as a result perception of direct mail is at its highest ever level.
Consumers actively welcome information through the post from organisations if it is relevant to them. It is no exaggeration to say that this has taken years to achieve and today the media exposés tend to be focused on digital marketing rather than the ‘junk mail’ scandals of old.
However, this can all be undone very quickly if the marketing community chooses to exploit an unregulated medium for quick gain then – if this is the case we’ll very quickly find ourselves back in the days of discontent.
Will Anthes is managing director of W8Data
GDPR boost for direct mail: the media backlash begins
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