Interview with Amie Peters, Head of Direct Mail at AnPost on Admailer.ie, an online direct marketing campaign creation portal suited to the needs of SMEs.
Admailer.ie - How An Post is Turning Neighbours Into Customers
Interview with Amie Peters, Head of Direct Mail at AnPost who kindly provided insight about their direct marketing product - a portal suited to the needs of SMEs.
Admailer.ie is a new, innovative online service from An Post that allows small and medium sized businesses to send addressed promotional postcards to their local target audience. Admailer.ie turns neighbours into customers for less than the price of a stamp (that’s design, print and postage all for 54c ex VAT).
Our target market is small and medium sized businesses throughout Ireland, either B2B or B2C as Admailer.ie allows a choice of targeting consumers or businesses, or both. This market typically uses local press and radio advertising to promote their business. Now we’re seeing companies that would never have considered Direct Mail running regular campaigns through Admailer.ie.
Who is the main target of this service?
In An Post, we truly believe that small and medium sized businesses are the backbone of Ireland and are therefore committed to understanding their needs and developing products and services that assist them in growing their business.
Why did An Post decide to establish the Admailer.ie?
Part of our commitment is constantly speaking to businesses owners to find out what challenges they are facing when trying to market their business. One area that came through very strongly was how to use direct mail to generate sales from new customers, when these business owners were the marketing department, had a small marketing budget and very little time. It was a challenge that the An Post team was determined to find a solution for.
By understanding our customers’ needs and their barriers to using direct mail, we developed a no-hassle, easy to use system with a quick delivery time; which means that our customers can get their campaigns out very quickly, even to see sales within a week. Admailer.ie represents an opportunity for An Post to drive new volume sales by making Direct Mail easy and affordable.
Many different departments came together to make Admailer.ie a reality for the business. We had a small core project team of four people, with valuable assistance from different business units. I can’t thank everyone who was involved in the project enough.
This seems to be the perfect approach. And how many people were involved in this project?
It was a dream project. It took just 18 months from idea development through to launch. Admailer.ie is an outsourced technical solution; however a key part of the success of this project is that our IT team worked very closely with us, advising on key technical issues, and, in particular, IT Security, which is a key concern for any commercial enterprise.
And what was the time span between the project’s inception and completion and what resources were involved?
You can research a concept as much as you want, but you don’t really know how successful a product is going to be until you get a customer to use it. We knew that over half of Irish businesses were interested in this type of product, but what is the use of high levels of interest if it doesn’t deliver results for the customer?
- What was the greatest surprise in the course of developing this project?
Only when we tested Admailer.ie did we really understand the impact it can have for Irish businesses. The test campaigns surpassed our expectations; one customer, a local gym, achieved a 656% return on investment; another customer, a butcher achieved a 12% response rate. Since we launched Admailer.ie the feedback from customers has been fantastic, they genuinely love the service, they love the price and, more importantly, they’re loving the results.
Keeping it simple. The An Post team were passionate about the service and had lots of ideas to make it as remarkable as possible. However we had to restrain ourselves at times to make sure the end product was a simple, easy and effective experience for the customer. That was our guiding principle in any discussion.
Looking back at these 18 months of preparation, what was the biggest challenge?
Direct mail of course! We have a targeted direct mail programme to raise awareness and drive traffic to the website. We are big believers in ‘integration’, so we are also using PR, Radio and Online. In addition to media, we are running regular events, including our own ‘Grow My Business’ conference where over 200 Irish business owners attended, and guest speaking for professional and industry organisations.
And how does An Post plan to promote and generate new customers for Admailer?
This article was originally published in IPC Direct Marketing Flash, issue 3.