The Strategic Mailing Partnership, the body that represents mailing houses throughout the UK, has welcomed Royal Mail’s decision to roll out partially addressed mail as a new product.
SMP members were among participants in a trial of the new service, where instead of being addressed to an individual, mail items are addressed to the household, using demographics at postcode level, so brands can target small groups of around 15 households. This enables mail to be targeted using demographics rather than personal data.
Since the trial began a year ago, Royal Mail said customers had reported a strong return on marketing investment. SMP members taking part in the trial enjoyed lower postage costs of 4p less for letters and 2p less for large letters; reduced data costs and therefore available budget to reach an estimated 30% more households compared with cold list mailing.
SMP member Simon Cooper, managing director of the Lettershop Group, played a key role in the trial. He said reduced costs, improved return on investment and the option to target particular demographics were all key factors in the system’s success.
A further benefit, said Simon, was speed to market – a partially addressed campaign could be instigated and completed within days. Customers could also enjoy a good return on investment compared with blanket door drops.
In addition, the mailings are GDPR compliant as it targeted a street rather than individuals, without the requirement for individual names.
‘The past 15 to 20 years have not been kind to the direct mail industry,’ said Simon. ‘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 return on investment – our customers have been extremely impressed.’
SMP chair Judith Donovan added, ‘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.’
As part of the trial process, homebuilder McCarthy & Stone conducted a trial of partially addressed mail, to drive footfall to 67 open days across the UK. Not only was the response rate for the partially addressed file 5% higher than that of cold mail, delivering a cost per action that was 38% lower.
The SMP represents mailing houses of varying sizes and turnovers, located across the UK.