Direct Mail and the Age of Reason | DMA

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Direct Mail and the Age of Reason


It didn’t take very long for JICMail to refresh the industry’s perspective on Direct Mail. Following new data from the January pilot test - participated by the likes of Continental and Thames Water – the results reflect 2018’s fixation with direct mail’s perceived 'revival'… For us, it never went away.

JICMail – Direct Mail’s ‘Enlightenment Period’?

A joint venture between the DMA, IPA, ISBA, Royal Mail, and Whistl; JICMail gathers data using the same methods that BARB does with television audiences. With a nationally represented sample of 1,000 people, participants engage with their mail over a four-week period. This qualitative process improves insight by using new measurement metrics; including reach, frequency, and exposure to each piece of mail that pops through the letterbox.

This gives marketers and brands a clearer understanding of the relationship customers have with their mail; whether they share it, and how it makes them feel emotionally.

The Comeback Kid

Hot on the tails of Broadcast and Digital spend, is Mail, the third most invested in media channel. As of February 2018, annual ad spend stands at around £1.7 billion, having increased by a significant 5.9% in the last quarter of 2017.

This isn’t empty nostalgia, either. Direct Mail is more than capable of backing up its spike in popularity with the facts; 38% of customers will purchase one product after reading a related piece of mail, and 87% of people hold on to their mail for longer than a month. A whopping 92% of letters are opened, and 39% of homes have a dedicated area to display their mail; making tangibility an opportunity.

It’s an exciting time for direct marketing agencies - not least because it will drive more innovation from the industry’s best and brightest; but it’s about time mail was given the same love that is placed at the feet of automation or programmatic marketing over the last few years. Marketers have been drinking voraciously from the well of disruptive, digital technologies, but often at the cost of alienating consumers, and not to mention data protection bending. According to a recent survey by Baker Goodchild, nearly 60% of participants said that DM makes them feel valued by the brand, compared to 17% with email. Direct Mail endures, and it will continue to do so.

The JIC Effect

How has JICMail already helped brands?

We’ve already mentioned how Continental and Thames Water are trialing the new technology.

Frustrated by a pile of lapsed customers, Continental’s Business Optimisation Manager, Jeff Brook decided to run highly segmented, personalised campaigns. Relevant deals were offered based on historical transactional data and the store the customer usually visited.

It was a success; the direct mail campaign re-engaged lapsed customers and saw a boost in sales. One retailer, in particular, saw a 20% increase in MOT bookings within 12 days.

JICMail insight has also provided some valuable data on how effective a piece of mail can be to educate people. Thames Water’s recent campaign ‘Bin it – Don’t Block it’ was produced with the aim of changing behaviour, by informing their customers how drains are blocked by congealed waste. Nearly 600,000 mailers were sent up to three times to 225,000 homes to provide advice and give people a free container to collect fat.

Thames Water found that an incredible 90% of recipients came back with the impression that the company was educating people, and 87% said receiving it made them consider how they dispose of fat, oil, and grease. More than 80% agreed that they would use the fat trap.

As we can see, the effects of JICMail driven insight are capable of proving the penetration and brand effect of the medium. Thames Water will use this feedback to expand the campaign which will change customer behaviour starting at home.

Which is very much like Direct Mail, if you think about it.

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