How brands can use data to design rewarding customer journeys, post-GDPR

Looking at Mail

Whether you’re focusing on acquisition or winning back lapsed customers, mail is trusted and proven, says Jonathan Harman, managing director of Royal Mail MarketReach.

Most marketers will be familiar with the legal requirements of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). They will know getting it wrong could incur fines and, probably, reputational damage.

But it’s also important to understand the spirit of the GDPR. This requires marketers to adopt a new mindset.

The GDPR is essentially about the proper use of personal data. Marketers who use, or want to use personal data, need to earn the trust and respect of potential or existing customers. But consumer trust is difficult to win and easy to lose, and it has been eroded by the misuse of personal data.

To manage the transition to this new era, you may need to re-evaluate your media mix.

The consumers you can talk to right now are those worth your investment. They are likely to have an existing connection with your brand and have not withdrawn their permission.

To earn and maintain their trust, your brand communications need to show respect. And you show this by using accurate and up-to-date data. Your messaging must be timely, relevant and also show an understanding of your relationship with them.

Customer journeys are increasingly complex, and few are the same. You will no doubt be devising strategies across several.

At one end, it is about acquiring and then converting customers. Once on-board, you may wish to welcome them. You may be seeking to up-sell or cross-sell to them. Or they may be lapsed and you wish to re-engage to win them back.

Let’s focus on three customer journeys – acquisition, conversion and up-sell.


You may lack personal data on prospects, but you might be able to still find relevant data points, including data from third parties. The key is relevancy; examples include geography, lifestyle or postcode information. But if acquiring enough data is difficult you can use partially addressed mail or door drops, which may not require the use of personal data. But whatever you use, it’s useful to communicate something valuable, such as an offer you know has worked with existing customers and be responsible.

Renault identified a key adventurous ‘hero dads’ segment for its Kadjar crossover model. It initiated registrations of interest with an email, and then used a creative mail pack featuring a life-size Ordnance Survey map overprinted with information about the car.

It sold 1,629 models from the campaign of which, using a control group, it estimated that 20% were incremental.


A multi-touchpoint world means prospects can show interest without converting. Mailing a timely, relevant offer, can close the gap especially if it contains an offer or value-add benefit.

Pet insurer Sunlife took information from its online quote generator and mailed owners a pet treat pack – peppermint for cats, bacon for dogs. Its aim was to ‘convert’ the pet, not the owner. Packs were digitally printed with the pet’s name.

Sunlife achieved a response rate of 7%, almost double its target and sales rose by 21%.

Cross-selling and up-selling

You may have existing relationships you wish to deepen by cross-selling or providing extra value. A mailing with an offer linked to something they have previously bought demonstrates value and relevance.

Ikea has five million members in its Family Club, but only a third swiped their membership card when they made a purchase. Ikea used mail as part of a multichannel effort to highlight a ‘Swipe a Surprise’ promotion that promised a prize every time they swiped.

Over nine weeks, Family Club members purchased an incremental £1.5m of Ikea products, and inactive members were 3.25 times more likely to visit during the campaign.

Royal Mail MarketReach’s latest guide, ‘GDPR: The Moment For Mail’, is designed to offer marketers a practical guide to one-to-one communications in the GDPR era. You can download the free guide in full here.

Want more like this?

Want more like this?

Insight delivered to your inbox

Keep up to date with our free email. Hand picked whitepapers and posts from our blog, as well as exclusive videos and webinar invitations keep our Users one step ahead.

By clicking 'SIGN UP', you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

side image splash

By clicking 'SIGN UP', you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy