How Direct Mail Automation Can Ease Your GDPR Transition
If you’re reading this blog, that probably means that you keep up to date on the latest marketing trends and news. If so, you have probably heard of the GDPR, and are currently trying to figure out how to navigate this new regulatory environment and maintain an effective marketing strategy. Just in case, here’s a brief introduction.
The GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, is a European law that came into effect across the EU on May 25th, 2018. It imposes much stricter regulations on how companies use consumer data. As a result, any company that does business in Europe has to drastically change the way that it collects, stores and uses consumer data.
Even if you don’t do business in Europe, you may soon have to adjust your marketing strategy to comply with new regulations. Just last month, California unanimously passed a privacy law that resembles the GDPR, which makes it even harder for companies to get consumers to consent to direct marketing. It is reasonable to assume that other states and countries will soon follow suit.
The GDPR has an enormous effect on any direct marketing effort, especially phone and email messaging. However, it is easier for many companies to be compliant under the GDPR with direct mail than with phone and email marketing. This means that direct mail can help solve many of the problems companies face while transitioning to GDPR compliance.
The GDPR and Direct Marketing
To be in compliance with the GDPR, direct marketing must meet one of several standards, including consent and legitimate interest. The GDPR makes it significantly harder for companies to meet the consent standard. Recipients must now provide positive opt-in to be contacted by your company. You cannot use pre-checked boxes or add the consent request to your standard licensing agreement. You also have to refresh the consent agreement with any changes in communications policy and provide guidance for how recipients can easily withdraw their consent at any time. This means that it will take time and effort to gain and maintain consumer consent.
The legitimate interest standard requires a company to prove that its business interests in direct marketing outweigh the imposition on the recipient’s interests. According to the ICO, direct mail is likely to meet the legitimate interest standard as long as the company has a well-thought-out reason to contact the recipient. This is likely due to the fact that direct mail is the least invasive form of direct marketing, so the scales are tipped in the company’s favor.
How can you use direct mail compliance under the legitimate interest standard to ease your GDPR transition? First, you can use direct mail automation to drive consumer opt-in for email and phone marketing. Second, you can maintain consistent messaging by coordinating direct mail campaigns with your email communications.
Drive Consumer Opt-In with Direct Mail Automation
The fact that you cannot email consumers who have not consented to be contacted by your business presents a conundrum: how do you reach consumers and convince them to opt-in?
Direct mail can help drive consumers to opt-in pages, especially when combined with a marketing automation platform. You can set up a campaign that sends direct mail with a link to the opt-in form to customers and leads who have not yet opted in. You can automate subsequent campaigns to update consent when necessary, or convince consumers to renew consent after they have opted out.
You can include different incentives to opt-in on each piece of direct mail, and set up triggers for specific incentives based on consumer engagement with your brand. Just ask recipients to opt-in before downloading a free ebook, registering for your webinar, getting a discount code, or more.
Direct mail automation does not only help get opt-ins under the GDPR, but it also helps you to market to consumers who have not opted-in to email and phone communications.
Automate Email and Direct Mail Campaigns for Consistent Messaging
The GDPR consent policies for email will present a lasting challenge, even with strategic opt-in campaigns. Some consumers who might be interested in your product, may not consent to email marketing. As such, companies will need to figure out how to market consistently across multiple platforms in order to reach a broad audience under the GDPR.
This is where direct marketing automation solutions can really help companies in the post-GDPR world. It suggests that if you cannot reach someone by email or phone, you should market to them through direct mail. One challenge, though, is how to integrate your direct mail campaigns into your broader marketing strategy.
Using an engagement platform, you can set up workflows that automatically send direct mail to opted-out consumers every time that you send marketing emails. That way you can maintain consistent contact will all of your targeted consumers regardless of opt-in status.
With the right platform, you can set up the campaigns to include the same content on direct mail as in email. This keeps messaging consistent across channels without significant effort on your part.
The GDPR and similar regulations are drastically altering the marketing landscape. It can be challenging to adapt to the new restrictions, rebuild email lists, and maintain communications with consumers.
Direct mail, with its easier time meeting the “legitimate interest” standard, allows businesses to reach consumers who have not yet opted into email and phone marketing. This makes it a powerful tool to get user consent and build a consistent marketing campaign that targets all consumers regardless of opt-in status.
Best of all, direct mail is an effective marketing tool to get users to buy your product or opt-in to your communications. According to Forbes, direct mail has a thirty times higher response rate than emails; and according to SEMA, 73% of consumers prefer direct mail as an advertising method. So even if you haven’t yet been affected by a new regulation, you might want to add direct mail to your marketing strategy!
For more info on the GDPR and how it affects marketers, discover more content at marketo.com/trust/gdpr.
This blog post represents the views of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Marketo.