Postal operators regularly conduct research on the state of direct marketing, including direct mail. Below, we present a summary of what the best-in-class research initiatives look like.

Research by Canada Post

The Connecting for Action report looked to answer the question: “How do today’s Canadian consumers consciously and subconsciously engage with different forms of advertising media – direct mail, email, display and pre-roll video?” The underlying study provides a neuromarketing perspective on how direct mail works with digital advertising in integrated campaigns. It was conducted for Canada Post by Ipsos in partnership with Neurons Inc.

Key questions in mind with this research were:

  • What is the best media mix to optimize consumer attention, engagement and response?
  • What sequence works best when using digital and direct media channels?

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Research by Market Reach, Royal Mail

This long-term initiative includes multiple research papers, guides and case studies. The Private Life of Mail is one of the best research papers available on mail advertising – over a period of 18 months, researchers used advanced techniques to look inside consumers’ homes, their emotions and rationale behind receiving and using direct mail. This research included 12 households covered within an ethnographic work, including CCTV in participants’ homes, 14 focus groups and 99 in-depth interviews, 213 participants within the neuroscience and tactility work and 9,504 respondents across the telephone and online quantitative surveys.

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JICMAIL audience measurement system

Royal Mail is one of the partners of the JICMAIL initiative. Established in 2017, the Joint Industry Committee for Mail provides the first recognised audience measurement system, similar to what exists for other large national ad channels such as TV. JICMAIL provides the same corporate governance on the collection and publishing of data as other JICs, such as BARB and PAMCo.

It continuously collects that data from a panel of 1,000 households weighted for demographics, region and household make-up. Respondents use an app to photograph every piece of mail they receive, reporting on what they do with that mail over the following four weeks.

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Research by Le Groupe La Poste

Launched in 2011, BALMétrie is an Economic Interest Group (GIE) which consists of Le Groupe La Poste and partners from the media/advertising sectors.

Its objectives are to quantify the power and attitude towards mail campaigns and its cross-media complementarity. The research also aims at demonstrating the modernity and attractiveness of the media to consumers.

Key findings from the study conducted throughout 2016 and 2017 on a total of 12,000 people were:

  • On average, French people read 10 letters per week. 2/3 of those letters are advertising.
  • 84% check their letter box every day.
  • Mail items which are lengthy or complex tend to be read during the weekend (eg. local magazines).
  • On average, French consumers recalled reading 6.9 door drops each week.
  • Following the receipt of a door drop or direct mail, 39% visited a supermarket website.

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Research by Deutsche Post

Dialogmarketing Monitor is a report analysing the advertsing landscape in Germany since 1997. The report is based on almost 3,000 telephone interviews with marketing decision-makers from across the country.

  • German companies spend €41.6bn (+ 2% YoY) on advertising. Of that, €22.9bn for classic and €18.8bn for dialogue media.
  • Dialogue marketing is the growth engine with 4% growth, classic media are only growing moderately.
  • Only newspaper/magazine ads suffer losses - all other media are growing.
  • Online marketing and commercials with around €400m growth YoY.
  • Every seventh company uses addressed advertising mail. Commerce invests the most in this medium at around €3.9bn.
  • Targeted customer advertising is used by every third company. The most important medium here is the physical mailin
    g followed by email.
  • Above all, the personal customer approach, the customer loyalty effect and the perceived high value are reasons for the use of addressed mail advertising.

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Research by PostNord

Using neuroscientific methods, the study measured how the brain responds to different types of communication. The study provides a deeper understanding of the roles that printed and digital communication play in people’s day-to-day life – and offers answers as to how effective printed and digital advertising are. The report also investigated how printed and digital advertising work in synergy with one another.

The study is based on actual campaigns from brands such as IKEA, Lindex, Panduro Hobby, ICA, Plantorama and SuperBrugsen (COOP). 200 people participated (100 in Denmark, 100 in Sweden) and the survey was conducted in a domestic environment.

The materials tested were:

  • Printed advertising: Folders and advertising sheets (addressed / unaddressed)
  • Digital advertising: Banners, digital folders and e-mail (Smartphone / Laptop)

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Source: IPC members, IPC analysis