29 October 2017 Business

The life of mail will show impact of printed post

New research into how consumers used what arrives through their letterbox will underline the effectiveness of print says Marketreach.

The Royal Mail’s Marketreach group is putting the finishing touches to research into how marketing and other items that drop through the door have an impact of householder’s lives. It aims to produce user statistics that can stand comparison with the figures collected for television and radio audiences.

“Mail measurement crystallises everything we have learned about mail and how it is used in consumers’ lives,” Seirian Hanner, head of the Insight team at Marketreach told the Print Power seminar last week.

The research is built on the understanding that one person in each household is responsible for collecting and distributing the post and for acting upon it. The research has asked this person to log every item received and what happens to it: bills are paid, some items recycled and catalogues passed around and items purchased. Every interaction is logged to provide an insight into the life of mail.

“We’ve found that one in five items is still alive after five weeks,” she says.

“We have used the language that consumers use. It’s not just ‘mail’, but can be many things. We have found a way to capture that and understand how mail is used in the home.”

She used the arrival of a department store catalogue to demonstrate its passage. It arrives on Monday, on Tuesday it is browsed, discussed. Next the consumer goes to the website, redeems a discount voucher and makes a purchase. The catalogue is then stored for later use.

Marketreach is using consumer behaviour research company Kantar TNS to set up and manage the network of households that are providing the raw data and either logging how mail is used very day or across defined periods.

One of the outcomes will be how mail triggers online activity. “Digital activity is triggered by mail,” she says. Combination of mail and digital is a perfect partnership. We know because consumers tell us this.”

The plan is to publish the findings over the next few months. Then combined with the Mailmark system of coordinating delivery, direct mail can become part of an integrated marketing campaign “just as any other channel” Hanner says. “The print element can be layered on top of email in a programmatic campaign, sending printed messages to people that have browsed a website but have not completed a purchase. They can receive an incentive to complete the deal. And that has resulted in a 15% sales uplift.”

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Seirran Hanner

Seirran Hanner

Seirran Hanner described the work that Marketsearch has done to bring mail to the same standing as television and radio in terms of measuring the audience for the medium. Like the broadcast channels, the research monitors panels of householders to see how they interact with what drops through the letterbox.

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