The Royal Mail has given the green light to Partially Addressed Mail, four months before the trial period had been due to end.
Partially Addressed Mail is a discounted mail service for acquisition mail that is sent to ‘occupiers’ or ‘the household’ rather than to a named individual, but within an identifiable postcode area. It has been tested by direct mail agencies and a handful of printers since November last year.
This has delivered a strong ROI for customers, says Royal Mail. The print businesses involved are members of the Strategic Mailing Partnership, headed by Judith Donovan CBE. She has welcomed the decision to approve PAM. “We are thrilled that Royal Mail has decided to roll out partially addressed mail as a full product offering. We would like to think our members played a part in how the product was developed for both agencies and customers,” she says.
Simon Ward, managing director of The Lettershop Group, has been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the new product. “The past 15-20 years have not been kind to the direct mail industry,” he says. “Customer requirements have changed and often there is a ‘race to the bottom’ to produce the greatest volume of mail for the cheapest price.
“Now, however, with partially addressed mail we have something that can demonstrate a really good ROI – our customers have been extremely impressed.”
The product was conceived partly as a response to misuse of personal data, outlawed by GDPR. It is built on the understanding that people living in the same street will have a similar income and outlook. When one has become a customer, buying a certain type of car or holiday, there is a raised likelihood that neighbours will be interested in the same product.
Under the conditions for PAM, existing customers are deleted from the file, along with those that have declared they do not want to receive direct mail. The campaign needs to comply with Mailmark and have nothing that can be used to identify an individual. For this reason, single household postcodes and where the address is an identifiable name, are also excluded. There is an average of 15 households per postcode.
A campaign needs to have 10,000 items as a minimum. This brings a saving of 4p for letters and 2p for each large letter, as well as reduced data costs which releases a budget to reach 30% more households compared to using a cold call list to drive the mailing.
One of the campaigns used to show how this works came from homebuilder McCarthy & Stone. It wanted to drive footfall to 67 open days across the country. Response rate was 5% using PAM than a cold call list, a 38% reduction in the cost per action.
The Royal Mail will open its online application for a PAM campaign on 25 November. “The announcement has been well received,” says the SMP.
By Gareth Ward
The Royal Mail has cleared the way to Partially Addressed Mail as a form of acquisition focused marketing mail. It means delivering the same message to addresses in the same postcode, suppressing the identity of individuals.