Direct mail, transactional printing and GDPR

Although direct mail has not been as popular as digital channels for marketing purposes, its position has been getting stronger in the marketing mix lately. According to AA/WARC, the ad industry spend on direct mail increased by 5.9% from Q3 2016 to the same period last year.

This is not a surprise when we consider customer behaviour after receiving a printed mail. Research from IPA TouchPoints shows that 38% of people buy or order something after receiving printed communications and 87% of adults keep some mail for longer than a month.

GDPR compliance

It’s unlikely that a company hasn’t heard about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), coming into force on the 25th May. GDPR affects the collection, storage and use of any personal identifiable information.

This means companies must be able to show that customers gave them explicit permission to store details and get in touch. Contacting customers without their consent (or a reason that can’t be considered legitimate interest) will be considered a breach of the law and could result in a fine of 4% of global turnover or €20 million, whichever is higher.

Transactional printing: making print personal

Transactional printing, also known as data variable printing, is a digital, on-demand form of mass-personalisation printing. In a nutshell, it means each piece of printed mail has unique information, related to the recipient – this could be their name and address, or more sensitive and confidential information such as bank account balance or pension details.

GDPR: how does it impact direct mail and transactional printing

GDPR affects any company that holds and uses customers data for marketing – and print is no different. The very nature of transactional printing is linked to the use of personal identifiable information, as each mail is personalised to an individual.

But there is no reason to panic - as long as you can demonstrate that customers opted in to receiving your communications and you are careful about data storage, your marketing strategy shouldn’t be affected.

How The Printed Word can help

Learning that companies are aware of printed mail advantages and that the direct mail industry is regaining its popularity is great news, however it’s important to ensure any marketing activity is compliant with the law.

The Printed Word is a specialist in transactional printing. Our professional team has years of experience in a range of industries, including pension, finance, and insurance, offering an unrivalled service to each of our clients.

Our VIPP (Variable Data Intelligent PostScript Printware) Software guarantees data security and protects it every step of the way, from storing and transferring to printing.

To ensure our business is also GDPR compliant, offering extra piece of mind for our customers, our Group Financial Controller, Conan Sly, has been awarded the qualification of EU General Data Protection Regulation Practitioner.

If you have any other queries or would like to know how we can help your business with direct mail and transactional printing, don’t hesitate to contact us.