The Private Life of Mail: Media Planning advice | DMA

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The Private Life of Mail: Media Planning advice


Since the publication of the Royal Mail’s Private Life of Mail (PLOM – what a satisfying acronym) research, it’s shown that mail needs re-evaluation. In this four part blog series I’ll be covering the key things that media planners need to consider when planning mail into their campaigns.

Media planning tools have not typically incorporated mail, but this is changing.

When tackling a brief, the same steps should be followed, regardless of the sector, client or product.

The three core steps are as follows:

  • Explore and understand the brief, discussed below
  • Select media channels, define roles for each channel, cross channel integration
  • Measure and assess output, outcomes and impact

First, explore and understand the brief.

This can also be broken-up, into four sections as follows:

  1. Target markets - look again at your media channels. When researching our target market, and beginning to understand our audience’s behaviours, attitudes, and how and when they are consuming their media we will often turn to products like Kantar's TGI and IPA's Touchpoints. Mail has recently been added to both of these tools to give a full picture of how all media is consumed. When and by whom. Therefore if you haven’t rerun your profiles in a while now is a great time for a refresh.
  2. Competitor activity – look at their behaviour. We all look at what the competitors in our market-place are doing, in order to learn from where they are spending their media, counteract their activity and ensure that we protect or expand our market share. You can understand if a competitor brand is using mail or other channels by viewing Nielsen reports and also by using Ebiquity.
  3. Increasing Share of Market – you need increase your share of voice. In 2009 the IPA published a longitudinal study using Nielsen data. This research showed that brands who increased their share of voice – that is their proportion of media - over their share of market tended to take market share from their competitors.

The Royal Mail's Private Life of Mail study used the work of Peter Field (see chart below) to show that when mail is included in multimedia campaign, we see a threefold increase in share of market compared to brands not using mail.

Share of voice has historically not been a key planning metric for mail campaigns. It should be calculated and considered going forward.

Read part 2 of this series, The Private Life of Mail: Choosing your media channels

Read part 3 of this series, The Private Life of Mail: Measuring advertising mail

Watch part 4 of this series, The Private Life of Mail: Top tips for media planners

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