GDPR and what it means for programmatic (PT.1)

  • On November 30, 2017
  • In blog

GDPR and what it means for programmatic (PT.1)

What difference a year makes!

At the start of 2017 programmatic mail within the UK was really still an unexplored territory. 11 months later and Paperplanes is leading the way in creating highly relevant direct mail campaigns utilising programmatic capability. And now with key stakeholders such as Royal Mail also embracing the topic it feels like the capability is getting some real momentum behind it. But with GDPR regulations looming, what does this mean for our marketing activities?



As a key advocate of programmatic applications across new channels it has been fantastic to see Royal Mail MarketReach launch their programmatic mail campaign adding to the excitement and buzz around what is a truly innovative area. If you have not already engaged with the Programmatic Mail section on the website, then you should. As an added incentive there is an awesome interactive game you can take part in on the site which you never know, could trigger a nice surprise landing with you at some stage after.


But what about fraud?

Despite all the buzz around the ‘new school’ of automated ad-tech in physical form it’s a challenging time for the programmatic industry as a whole. Issues around fraud, transparency and visibility of planning and buying inventory online has intensified in 2017 spearheaded by criticism from key influencer’s such as P&G’s Marc Pritchard. If this wasn’t bad enough we of course also have the complex data regulation changes on the horizon. While this has posed some serious challenges for supply and demand side agencies it will ultimately play to the advantage of programmatic applications across different channels. I therefore believe the rise of programmatic mail and activities building awareness of this as a viable alternative to the norm couldn’t really be better timed.


GDPR – it’s a hot topic

I have spent the majority of 2017 spending time at some fantastic programmatic events, direct mail exhibitions and digital conferences and the one hot topic that has seemed to prevail no matter where I have been is GDPR. The General Data Protection Regulation is a European initiative that will come into force at the end of May 2018. They say the regulation will drastically impact how, where, when and who is targeted with marketing content. I don’t need to add any further content relating to the perceived ‘doom and gloom’ that has already been communicated regarding what GDPR will mean for marketers. What I do want to do, however, is add some food for thought as to why programmatic applications across direct mail ultimately provides brands with opportunity in this new world as opposed to challenge.


It’s also an opportunity…

First and foremost, let’s be clear. The real motivation of GDPR is to place transparency, control and choice into the customer’s hands as opposed to drastically challenging how a marketer chooses to communicate to customers. Brands need to get clearer on opt-outs, where data is sourced and ensure permissions are in place to contact. You could argue that all of these points are best practice anyway. What’s great about utilising the direct mail format here to trigger programmatic content is that all of these steps can already be built into how you plan, buy and design your campaign.

Providing customers opt-out on the creative message gives them control, triggering your re-targeting efforts to first-party data sets with the right permissions can already be planned up front. From this standpoint utilising direct mail for programmatic applications places a greater level of control back into the marketer’s hands at a time where control and accountability will be paramount.

It doesn’t need to be the end for consumer marketing, it’s just time to re-think the model and put best practices into play. To be continued in pt.2…


Leave Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *