I was listening to the radio the other week when Kylie Minogue was being interviewed about her new ‘Golden’ album and she revealed it had also been released on a limited edition glitter-flecked cassette.

What?

When did a cassette revival happen? I was aware that vinyl had made a comeback of sorts but will we seriously be seeing new Walkmans on sale soon? Or do I need to ferret about in my loft to try and find my old sound system with its twin cassette deck?

I’m sure there’s plenty of folk out there regretting dumping their old LP collections given the price that some vinyl is now making. And while I can’t seriously see cassettes making a huge comeback, there are undoubtedly some things that fell out of favour which are now being re-evaluated.

And top of the revival list is direct mail (DM). While it never completely went away, consumers rejected what they saw as junk mail in their rush to embrace the shiny new e-shots they were receiving. For their part, businesses were only too happy to oblige with this cheaper method of direct promotion.

But things are changing with the imminent introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). While we’re all grappling with what we need to do to achieve compliancy, there’s a wee pot of potential treasure at the end of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) rainbow of guidelines. It claims that: “You won’t need consent for postal marketing but you will need consent for some calls and for texts and emails under PECR.” So it would seem that brands don’t need consent for postal marketing if they can use legitimate interests.

Last month, we attended an event on GDPR hosted by Royal Mail Market Research where it shared 12 ways in which direct mail could help businesses thrive in a GDPR world. None of the 12 suggestions included circumventing the new legislation as we’ve all got to do that but they did highlight some key points.

One that resonated particularly with us was that DM offers higher response rates than email*. Royal Mail said that in a world where trust is increasingly important to manage, DM is welcomed by recipients (and remember this event was before the Facebook story about data sharing broke). Recipients feel reassured that companies recognise and value them and care enough to send them mail.

The Royal Mail shared some case studies of how certain businesses and charities were researching their customers and supporters with a view to implementing ‘legitimate interests’ communications.

The clock is definitely ticking to get your data ducks in a row. According to the DMA’s email tracker report, 72% of marketers feel ‘somewhat prepared’ for the changes, which is encouraging.

While we don’t feel there will be a full-scale DM revival, we do think it’ll be used more as a two-pronged approach with digital marketing. And it’s hard to argue some of the statistics. According to IPA TouchPoints†, 87% of adults keep some mail for longer than a month, while 38% of GB adults bought or ordered something as a result of receiving mail.

So, we need to reconsider the term ‘junk mail’ and start appreciating the value it poses in the run up to, and post, GDPR? This is one revival we’re right behind. Can’t say the same about cassettes as it may also mean shellsuits, legwarmers and fuzzy orange headphones!

 

* US Data & Marketing Association Response Rate Report 2017

† TouchPoints 2017