Happy New GDPR Year!

Maybe the mere mention of GDPR at the beginning of January, when you’ve just got back into work after a festive couple of weeks is something you think you need like a hole in the head. Maybe this wasn’t top of your New Year’s Resolutions list—Make sure we are GDPR compliant before 25th May.

However, the thing to remember is that this new law is for our benefit and the benefit of all our clients, customers and associates. It promises enhanced rights for citizens, greater transparency and increased accountability. How can anyone say that’s not a good thing?

Another thing to remember is that if you’ve kept your data protection up to speed in recent years, the changes you’ll have to make aren’t that massive anyway.

Bust those GDPR myths…

There’s a whole lot of information out there, and misinformation—some of which is a result of several revisions of GDPR, so that some legislation, originally proposed, has not been ratified and will not apply. Here are five of the most common myths which are doing the rounds—entertaining to read about, but not true, or at least, reality heavily embroidered for effect.

Myth # 1 – Massive fines will ensue if your company isn’t compliant

The fact of the matter is that fines could be bigger—£17 million or 4% of turnover is the new maximum—but according to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), this will not become the norm. Minor infringements in the early stages of implementation will not be stamped on and the ICO’s commitment is to guidance and education rather than punishment. ‘Issuing fines has always been, and will continue to be, a last resort,’ says Elizabeth Denham, UK Information Commissioner. While there is no intention of allowing breaches to pass by unnoticed, there are warnings, reprimands and corrective orders in the ICO toolbox before they bring out the mighty sledgehammer of punitive fines.

Myth # 2 – Now that Brexit is going ahead, GDPR rules won’t apply to the UK

Apparently 1 in 4 UK businesses have stopped preparing for GDPR compliance, thinking it won’t apply to them if and when the UK leaves the EU, which is forecast to happen in March 2019. Well, for a start, GDPR enforcement begins 10 months before Brexit is predicted to happen. In addition, the government has issued a statement of intent to instigate a new Data Protection Bill, which will implement GDPR in full.

Myth # 3 – Our company is based in America so GDPR doesn’t count

But…do you offer goods and services to companies or individuals in the UK and the whole of the EU —either resident or visitor—or anyone from Britain or the EU living in a non-EU country? Many companies from across the globe may have offices overseas. If you have to process data from UK/EU citizens or visitors to Europe, including the UK, then, yes, GDPR applies to you.

Myth # 4 – My company data is stored with a cloud service provider, so it’s their responsibility to be compliant, not mine

Wrong – for the most part. You have a high duty of care to anyone for whom you store personal data and, to that end, it’s your responsibility to choose a reputable service provider to hold that sensitive information. You will be held responsible for GDPR compliance relating to your database – though service providers must comply with GDPR requirements too.

Myth # 5 – GDPR doesn’t apply in retrospect, so personal data we already have on our database isn’t subject to GDPR rules.

GDPR rules will apply regardless of when you collected the data—as long as that data is associated with a living person who was in the UK or the EU at the time. As an example, if you have contact information from prospective customers (B2C or B2B) gathered before 25th May 2018, this data must be compliant with GDPR.

Conclusion

Don’t believe everything you read in the media! And always err on the side of caution when it comes to data compliance. Remember that’s both B2C and B2B. If you are struggling with the finer details, at Mailing Expert we’ll be happy to talk you through them.

 

Mailing Expert

GDPR – sorting the fact from the fiction

 

Being ahead of the direct mailing game in the New Year

After a few glasses of good cheer and a rowdy chorus of Auld Lang Syne, New Year’s resolutions made at midnight on December 31st are almost bound to fail. Statistic show that only 8% of these resolutions are kept for more than a few days, and, as we all know, statistics are always 100% right…

NOW is a better time to be planning for next year so that we can all start January 2018 with a bang and not a whimper—especially bearing in mind that it’s only going to be a few short months until May 25th, the day that GDPR swings into action.

Certainly, for us here at Mailing Expert, our resolutions list always has this at the top: helping even more customers get the best possible results from their direct marketing. We’re keen to talk to anyone who’s interested in planning ahead, both long-standing clients, and brand new ones for whom 2018 heralds a first venture into the delights of DM.

Here are some things which could go on your list:

GDPR prepared?

How is your GDPR strategy progressing, to make sure your company will be compliant by May 25th, meeting the new law’s strict data protection principles? A case of, ‘Don’t, for goodness’ sake, leave this until the last minute!’ While it’s a straightforward process, clearly denoted in the legislation, it takes time to organise more comprehensive privacy notices, to enact the rules on obtaining consent and so on.

Clear about ROI?

There are a number of forms of direct mailing and it’s important to know which method provides better monetary value when targeting a certain demographic. Implementing up-to-date analytics tools would be a great way to start this process, so that in 2018 you will know how and where to invest your marketing budget. Segmentation—discarding the one-size-fits-all approach and pinpointing the best way to reach individual customers—will help to optimise your returns in the coming year.

Consistency across platforms

In this cyber-enabled era, people may use many ways to access information about your products and services. It’s crucial to ensure that the brand experience is consistent on a mobile phone, a tablet or PC, in emails and in flyers, letters and brochures for direct mailing. Is your messaging and imagery cohesive?

What about those competitors?

While your main focus should be on creating a unique, personalised appeal in your direct mailing campaigns, it’s still useful to analyse what your competitors are doing. This could determine if there’s a new opportunity for you to seize which will help you to achieve your marketing and sales objectives for 2018.

And finally, …rest and be thankful.

If you are taking a few days off over Christmas and the New Year, make the most of it. Reflect on your achievements in the past year and gear yourself up for new challenges in 2018. If you’ve taken time to plan ahead, you’ll be able to enjoy yourselves, secure in the knowledge that when you’re back at work, everything’s set up for a smooth transition into another busy and, we hope, successful year.

 

Mailing Expert

Christmas Posting Dates 2017

We are ready for Christmas 2017, are you??

Christmas will soon be here; and we at Mailing Expert understand that
sending out your mail on schedule can be crucial to your business.
To help in this see below for this year’s last posting dates
(P.S. If you need any help with your Cards, Brochures or Calendars just give us a call!!)

UK Services (Including Advertising, Business and Publishing Mail)

Thursday 17th December Economy Mail
Tuesday 19th December 2nd Class Mail
Wednesday 20th December 1st Class Mail

Also not forgetting your international family, friends and clients….

International Standard (formally Airmail)

Wednesday 6th December
Asia, Cyprus, Far East and Eastern Europe
(Excluding; Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia)

Thursday 7th December
Caribbean, Central and South America

Saturday 9th December
Greece, Australia and New Zealand

Wednesday 13th December
Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Poland

Thursday 14th December
Canada, Finland, Sweden and USA

Friday 15th December
Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway,
Slovakia, Switzerland, Portugal and Spain

Saturday 16th December
Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and Ireland

Still looking for the perfect Christmas Cards to send to you family, friends or clients?
Give us a call on 01825 983 033 or have a look at our website to
see how we can add value to your seasonal marketing.

Christmas Post

‘Tis nearly the season to be jolly

Oh yes it is, like it or not! There’s a temptation to think that everyone will be too busy to bother with direct mail in the hectic run-up to Christmas, but who can resist opening a cheerful envelope containing a greetings card? It’s a golden opportunity for any company to nurture or develop personal connections with loyal customers, prospective clients, business associates, companies in the supply chain and local networks. Here are some top reasons why sending company Christmas cards is definitely worth doing—in addition to the warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get knowing you’ve brightened someone’s day.

Saying thanks

Do you know what people appreciate more than anything? Knowing that they’re appreciated. So, here’s your chance to make people feel special. Sending a card is a friendly way to thank customers for choosing your company over your competitors, or associates for helping to make your business a success by providing great products or service. When it’s time to buy again, or renew contracts, you’ll be remembered.

Making personal connections

Customers buy from people, not companies. The more personal you can make your card, the better. While it’s not always possible to sign every card by hand, we can reproduce your signatures and employ script that looks as though it’s hand-written. Even though, of course, people can tell the difference, it still has more impact than something printed in Times New Roman. It will let recipients know that you’re more than a faceless name on the end of a telephone—and someone who thinks of others, outside the realm of business and making sales.

Reminding people that you’re there

It’s not that easy to keep in touch with every client, or potential client, all the time. A bespoke card is the perfect way to say hello to someone you’ve not contacted in a while, and it won’t come across as salesy or pushy, because you’ve linked it to an occasion where it’s the done thing to exchange greetings. However, it does create dialogue, which could lead to something else in the future—a bonus for a kindly gesture of goodwill.

Sending more than just a card

If you’re sending a greetings card, you could include other material to make the season special for your customers.  How about a Christmas-related discount, reward or incentive or an invitation to an event you’re hosting? You could promote post-Christmas sales with a voucher. Or you could enclose a little gift. Everyone likes a lumpy envelope!

Here’s how Mailing Expert can help you

We have a range of stock designs which we can add your logo on the front and/or back, with your choice of message inside—and we can even print signatures for you and your colleagues, so you don’t get writer’s cramp!

Or maybe you have your own design or photo in mind to make your cards more personal? No problem! We can do this for you at no additional cost.

If you’re seriously short of time and need help getting your cards posted, at Mailing Expert we can name and address the envelopes, enclose the cards and post them for you in plenty of time for Christmas*

Give us a call on 01825 983 033 or send us an email to info@mailingexpert.co.uk to request a brochure or to discuss your 2017 Christmas Cards with us.

Mailing Expert

*Subject to artwork being received and/or signed off by you in good time. Cost for the personalisation and posting service is taken from the price of a First-Class stamp + VAT.

Communication developments in the last 20 years

Twenty years ago, what was happening in the world? In no particular order:

  • Tony Blair won a landslide victory in the UK general election
  • Céline Dion was topping the charts with, ‘My Heart Will Go On.’
  • Hong Kong was handed over to China
  • Dolly the sheep was cloned
  • The first Harry Potter book was published

Quite a year, one way and another, and lots to be communicated. How DID we communicate news in those far off days—and how did we make contact with our clients and potential customers on a business level?

Not like that…

Well, for a start, there was no Facebook, which didn’t emerge until February 2004. Today, it’s almost mind-boggling to realise that there are 65 million business pages on Facebook, and a quarter of the world’s population engage with it. It’s a wonderful informal way of interacting with, and building, an audience, and great for encouraging people to visit your website.

We didn’t use Twitter, because it wasn’t created until March 2006. Unbelievably, just 11 years on, Twitter has more than 319 million monthly active users. For your business, it’s an instant way to build connections with a relevant audience, to strengthen your brand, promote new products and services, or simply develop relationships.

We didn’t use image-based Instagram either, to drive customer engagement and sales or impart information in a snappy way to a possible 600 million users. That’s because it wasn’t launched until October 2010. Pinterest was launched at the same time, which enables businesses to create a virtual shop front to promote their products online.

There wasn’t even LinkedIn until 2003, which, although its focus is on job opportunities, serves a valuable function for branding, marketing and sales too, with business pages. Neither were there smart phones—we had to wait for 2007 for those—so our electronic communications were very much desk-based.

…like this

Direct mail, using the postal service! There wasn’t much choice but to use this method in 1997, but it worked—and it still works today. Everyone loves to receive mail, especially if it’s personalised and looks good. You might think it’s an older generation preference, but Royal Mail has carried out a survey which shows that 15-34-year-olds are:

  • 42% more likely to find mail memorable than the UK population as a whole
  • 27% more likely to welcome it
  • 71% more likely to trust it
  • 21% more likely to switch suppliers because of mail

Not for nothing does the Royal Mail’s brochure The Private Life of Mail carry the strapline, Mail in the Home, Heart and Head. The power of Direct Mail must never be underestimated, despite the advancement of all the digital platforms of communication.

Then there was the telephone and face-to-face interaction, which of course will never go out of fashion.

Emails started life in 1965, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They were a way of sharing files and messages for academics. In 1971, American computer programmer Ray Tomlinson, introduced the @ and in 1976, HM the Queen sent her first email. The process was still largely in the domain of academic institutes until 1988, which heralded the arrival of Microsoft Mail. The first commercial Internet Service Providers hit the scene in the early 1990s. Hotmail launched in 1996 and Yahoo Mail in 1997—twenty years ago. Smart marketers realized that email communications were the future and began to make the shift into using email to communicate with customers.

 And our conclusion is:

How lucky we are, in 2017, to have such an abundance of ways to communicate! Each method has its place: each will appeal more to a different demographic, or be more suitable for certain products and services. Things move on with exciting digital developments—but mail through the letterbox will never lose its appeal.

Mailing Expert

Always look on the bright side of GDPR!

We’ve been talking about it for a while now, but if you’ve been on an extended trip to Outer Mongolia, you might have missed the news that on 25th May 2018, the UK’s current Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), will be replaced by the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

‘What?’ we hear you saying, ‘We thought we were leaving the EU.’ Well, regardless of what happens with Brexit, the GDPR will be taken on in this country as part of the overall data protection framework—a new Data Protection Bill. It will become law.

Whatever your company situation, now’s the time to review your data protection processes. Quite honestly, it would be madness not to.

GDPR rules OK

Whenever there’s new legislation decreed from above by the faceless minions of Her Majesty’s Government, or, indeed, European bureaucrats, it’s all too easy to fall into grouching and griping about your increased workload and all those documents that must be read, marked, learnt and inwardly digested. But consider this…what if GDPR is the best idea since sliced bread? And there’s us, spending all our time looking for the problems and worrying about piggy-bank-busting fines instead of thinking about the opportunities for B2B and B2C marketing.

Don’t worry, be data happy

The GDPR is not a hindrance to your business, it’s a help. It’s been created to make it easier for you to cater for the needs of your customers and to minimise possible data loss and data breach incidents. Working together, we can build universal best practice

protocols to enhance the way we manage information—and that benefits everyone – except, perhaps, cyber criminals and who wants to benefit them?

The big spring clean

Individuals will need to opt in to receive marketing communications, so for you as a business, this may mean a drastic culling of your database. Surely this is not such a bad thing? What a waste of time sending stuff to people who don’t want to receive it. If they’ve opted in, they’ll be engaged and your click through rate will be higher, without a shadow of a doubt.

Building trust

With the level of transparency that GDPR will surely bring, customers will be less fearful that their personal information will be misused. Not to mention the fact that data breaches are less likely and, therefore, so is the bad PR for your company, which would inevitably be part of the fallout.

Your brand will benefit from that feeling of trust, and, what’s more, customers will then feel confident that they could share more personal data—which will help you to be accurate in your marketing strategy.

Embrace GDPR

That’s what we’re doing at Mailing Expert and we’re happy to support you in doing exactly the same thing for your business. In the well-chosen words of Frank Sinatra, which you could sing out loud if you wish: ‘Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.’

For more information, don’t hesitate to call us at 01825 983033 or send us an email on info@mailingexpert.co.uk.

Mailing Expert

It’s holiday time! Does that mean suspension of marketing initiatives?

Marketing in August? When it seems that everyone in the entire world is making sandcastles on Bognor Regis beach or sipping cocktails at sunset in Bali (apart from you)? You’d think not, wouldn’t you – unless your business involves buckets and spades, sarongs or sun tan lotion. Actually, there’s no need to stop at all, as long as we all use a little bit of common sense.

For a start…

Not everyone’s on holiday

The streets of Paris empty out in July and August when locals take their annual vacation. Shops and businesses close down for an entire month, sometimes longer – but that’s not quite the same in the UK. Most of us, if we take holidays at all, may only be away for a week or a fortnight. Even then, with the blessing (or is it a curse?) of internet technology, many business people aren’t completely out of the loop, still checking emails and responding to requests – so a carefully thought out campaign may not be the waste of time and resources you anticipated.

Know your audience. Maybe it would be better to wait until September – but maybe not. If you trade internationally, check out their holiday periods and work around them, or with them.

Use the time wisely

It’s true that the pace of business can slacken off in the summer months, so make the most of the lull in activity by planning, researching, working on marketing strategy, enhancing your SEO.

Try something new

You know you’ve always been meaning to make the time for using Twitter more, or Facebook, or LinkedIn. The summer months give you that opportunity to experiment, while there’s less to do in other areas.

Be ready for action

Like a good boy scout or girl guide, you can Be Prepared! When September comes around, (all too quickly, you’re probably thinking), you can be ready to launch a stunning campaign when your clients are all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after a break and keen to get on with the next phase of the working year.

However…

Don’t you just dread coming back from a holiday and your in-box is overflowing with a huge volume of emails and your in-tray is stuffed full of post which needs your attention? Your clients won’t be any different, so best to judge your time carefully here and avoid the first few days of September – that’s unless your marketing is so brilliant that it will shine out like a star in the gloom of too much correspondence.

Be entertaining

Yes, that must always be your aim, but never more so than when you send out material in the summer months, when people’s thoughts may already be up in the air en route to Malaga or the Maldives, rather than focusing 100% on what’s on the desk in front of them. We’ve all been there!

We’re always here to help

We’re not saying that we never take holidays, just that we plan them so you’ll always have a Mailing Expert on hand to answer queries, offer guidance and fulfill your Direct Mailing requirements.

Why not contact us on 01825 983033 or send us an email on info@mailingexpert.co.uk

Mailing Expert

Time to spring clean your data? (Yes, we know it’s July!)

For any direct marketing campaign you need data – people’s names and contact details – and for an effective, cost-effective initiative, the data you use must be accurate.

Out-of-date data – does it matter that much?

A great big YES in answer to that question, for a number of (quite obvious) reasons:

Using inaccurate contact details, you may:

·        Waste your time and money

·        Miss important potential clients

·        Damage your company’s reputation

·        Breach compliance with the Data Protection Act (soon to be GDPR)

·        Annoy people for whom the mailing is irrelevant

·        Distress relatives of the bereaved

Some facts about data decay

Just because you’ve lived in the same house for the last 15 years and your place of work has been at the same address since the beginning of time, it doesn’t mean that everyone else is in the same position.

According to research,[1] each year around 13% of people in the UK will move home; 300,000 will marry or have a civil ceremony, meaning they may change their surname; 600,000 will die; 200,000 will emigrate and hundreds of thousands may move to the UK.

Every year, the Royal Mail has to make about 1.25 million address changes to its Postcode Address File (PAF) – that’s more than 3000 a week. The PAF gives us access to over 29 million residential and business addresses (at the last count.)

It’s said that if you communicate with someone, there’s an alarming 20% chance that their contact information will change in some way within 30 days, and, in 5 years, if you do nothing to clean your data, you may have nothing relevant left at all in your database.

When was the last time you cleaned your data, or had it cleaned?

How we can help at Mailing Expert

We can offer you a full range of data cleaning services – which doesn’t ever involve the use of spray polish or feather dusters, by the way!

Or we can offer an audit, which determines what you need. We can hone and refine the data you wish to use for a marketing campaign to get it in the best possible shape to maximise its value. Here’s what we’d recommend:

1.     Screen against the PAF database

2.     De-duplicate – removing any records which are essentially the same

3.     ‘Goneaway’ (people who’ve moved) and bereavement screening

4.     Check against the Mailing Preference Services register – people who’ve said they don’t want to receive mailings.

Doing this will make sure you make the most of savings available of postage as well as reducing the impact of negative publicity arising from incorrectly sent mail.

Contact us for a chat on 01825 983033 or info@mailingexpert.co.uk about your data needs.

 

Mailing Expert

[1] Mycustomer.com

What’s happening on 25th May 2018?

  • It’s Julian Clary’s 58th birthday
  • It’s 41 years since Star Wars was released
  • GDPR replaces the current DPA

Cause for celebration all round? Maybe – but certainly, cause for preparation – and we don’t mean saving up to buy Julian Clary’s dog a diamante collar.

So – there’s less than a year to go and it makes absolute business sense to Be Prepared, exactly as the scout motto says. Don’t subscribe to lastminute.com; you’ll only regret it.

And what does GDPR stand for? General Data Protection Regulation, which replaces the Data Protection Act (DPA).

See here for the blog we wrote earlier which explains its evolution.

In brief, the GDPR concerns the rights people have over their personal data*. The DPA has become outdated since technology has progressed so rapidly in the past few years and so much business is carried out online. The new regulations aim to streamline data protection across Europe so that, no matter which country you trade with, or in which country your data is held, there’s consistency in the way data is handled. Helpful for businesses. Reassuring for individuals.

By the way, the fact that we are in the process of leaving the EU makes no difference because the GDPR applies to every business which holds or processes the data of EU citizens. If we want to trade in Europe then we will be obliged to show that UK standards are equivalent to the EU’s GDPR framework. Additionally, GDPR will become mandatory in the UK so even if you don’t trade overseas, it will apply to you.

There’s plenty to be getting on with in the meantime, meticulously outlined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Here are five things you could put on your To Do List in the next few weeks. We’ll suggest more in subsequent blogs about GDPR.

  1. Appoint a data protection officer – crucial. It’s vital that someone takes the lead in this matter, otherwise there’s a danger it will be lost in the piles of other policies every company has to deal with. And, that someone should report to a board member or ideally be a board member.
  2. Raise awareness you may know about the impending change in regulations but do all the key decision-makers in your company?
  3. Organise an information auditunless you know the current personal data situation in your company (Whose data? Where from? How shared? To whom?) how can you possibly plan for the future?
  4. Check procedures – do they cover the new rights individuals will have?
  5. Plan timetable to amend privacy notices – make sure they will meet the new requirements in plenty of time for GDPR.

At Mailing Expert, we’re ahead of the game. Why not join us? Together we can make this happen.

 

Mailing Expert

 

* personal data is not only an individual’s name & address it is anything that identifies an individual from other information, including physical characteristics, pseudonyms, occupation, address, email et cetera or a combination of identification elements; that means business contacts too.

Thoroughly modern millennials – forget the hype, learn the truth

What is a millennial, anyway? It seems to be one of the most common media buzzwords of the moment, particularly around General Election time, because this section of society is one which all political parties are keen to capture. In fact, there are a number of definitions of a millennial, but in general it refers to someone who was born between 1980 and 2000, which is to say, the twenty and thirty-somethings of today.

Introducing a (stereotypical) millennial

Let’s call her Tiffany (the 11th most popular name of the 1980s.) She’s a digital native – and that description means she grew up around technology – the smartphones, the iPads, the tablets, emails, texts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp… They’re second nature to her and she’s rarely to be seen without her face looking down at a small screen and her fingers moving at twice the speed of sound as she texts her Best Friend Forever.

As for marketing to engage people like Tiffany, well, it must be some form of digital communication because that’s what millennial’s prefer. Tiffany doesn’t go in for reading unless it’s Kindle, and most of her interactions with other human beings are digital.

So that’s how we must organise a market campaign targeting millennials

Forget Direct Mailing…waste of time and money. We must approach them through social media, send an email or a Tweet or link to an all-singing-all-dancing website. That’ll hook them.

WRONG!

A number of surveys have gathered evidence which shows almost the exact opposite. Here’s one from the US Postal Service[1] and we’re sure the same applies to millennia’ls in the UK.

What do millennial’s really like in a marketing campaign?

·         87% of millennial’s enjoy  receiving Direct Mail

·         Nearly 50% say they ignore digital ads but only 15% say they ignore Direct Mail

·         57% tell us they’ve made purchase based on DM offers

Yes, just like Baby Boomers – the post-war generation – they like to have something tactile and tangible which they can read at leisure and keep if they choose to. Just like Baby Boomers, their recall is 70% higher from DM to a digital ad.

So what next? Digital or Direct?

Do both! For marketing we have more platforms to choose from than ever before – and don’t we know it, constantly bombarded with digital noise which often causes us to tune out and switch off.

Direct Mailing will help your voice to be heard above that onslaught of electronic communications. It’s something we’re good at here at Mailing Expert (our name wasn’t picked out of a hat!) so please contact us 01825 983033.

 

Mailing Expert

[1] STILL RELEVANT: A look at how millennials respond to Direct Mail – USPS, 2016