Washington Direct Mail managing director Lynn Beasley thinks GDPR could represent both the biggest opportunity and threat to the print industry in 2018.
What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?
A Lotus Elise, but I forgot to tell Father Christmas so it’s likely to be a pair of slippers.
What trend (business or technology) do you think 2017 will be remembered for?
For Washington Direct Mail this would be the rehabilitation of direct mail marketing back into marketing, and especially into digital marketing strategies.
There’s been a growing acceptance in 2017, among heads of marketing and campaign managers, that email no longer has the cut-through it once did, and that hyper-personalised and ‘online-moment-driven’ direct mail is the way to go.
This is being proved again and again with the clients we do work for. They’re creating sophisticated, data rich, low-volume, high impact and return campaigns that have redemption rates of up to 25%.
What do you think will represent the single biggest opportunity for printers in 2018 and why?
GDPR. There is a real opportunity, because of the tight criteria of the new legislation, that there will be an increased use of unaddressed open data for door drop campaigns. This could be a godsend to the direct mail printing industry because of the increased volume of printing necessary when compared to addressed direct mail. We’ve already made certain we’re perfectly aligned to pick up this work, and we’d advise others to do so too.
What do you think will represent the single biggest threat for printers in 2018 and why?
GDPR. There’s a real danger that, despite all the warnings and awareness, marketers and marketing teams will be caught out by the new data protection legislation, and find they cannot continue with data-driven direct mail campaigns until they get their opt-in processes sorted. This could mean some existing customers having to delay or cancel work with printers until the situation is resolved.
What’s the one thing that the industry should do more of, or do better, in 2018
Diversify and invest in linking together data points to variable printing. It improves response rates phenomenally and helps ensure returning customers. Printers who solely supply print will continue to be squeezed.
What was your biggest disappointment in 2017?
It’s been an absolutely fantastic year, and my only real disappointment is that we couldn’t do more! Everyone, literally everyone we know, is time-poor these days, and we’re no different, so there comes a time when you simply have to say, “Okay, these are the priorities and these need to be put on hold”.
What was your highlight of 2017?
Probably bringing litho printing in-house to reduce external overheads. It’s exceeded all our expectations, allowed us to expand our services and helped us to win several profitable new contracts that would have been unachievable without it.
What are your hopes for 2018?
Oh, that’s easy! Newcastle United to stay in the Premier League!
What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Honesty is the best policy.
What was the most important thing that you learnt in 2017?
Don’t be afraid to take risks, but know what you are getting into beforehand.
What if anything will you do differently in 2018?
I’m definitely going to practice mindfulness!
What’s your favourite Christmas cracker joke?
How do you make a Welsh Cheese? Caerphilly.
What was the best Christmas present you ever received?
A red tricycle with a boot on the back.
Are you making any New Year's resolutions? If so, what?
Nope, I never do! I spend enough time making lists of things I need to do without giving myself something else!