Submitted by: Ulbe Jelluma 21/01/2017
Direct mail remains in the top of channels used by advertisers, in Germany the number of companies using direct mail increased with 2.5% in 2015. Postal operators now offer smart software to re-target unknown website visitors with a printed mailing. Is this the missing link in integrated online and offline communication?
In terms of advertising expenditures direct mail is part of the top 3 channels in Germany, France and the UK. No surprise the sector is working hard on innovation. Deutsche Post for example created a solution to mail visitors of a website. For example; a person has been checking sport equipment in a webshop twice when returning for the third time to the shop. (By the way, Deutsche Post estimates that 97% of website visitors doesn't buy at their first visit). When he doesn't buy after having checked the sport equipment, you would say he is a lost customer. But it isn’t!
Via a database partner Deutsche Post is able to identify a “micro cell” of the population where the non-buying surfer lives. This “micro cell” can be a number of houses or an apartment building. The webshop owner can use the addresses of this “micro cell” and send the people living in this area a special offer on sport equipment. When the product is eventually bought Deutsche Post will know and report the webshop owner. This solution called Consentric offers webshop owners the possibility to address potential buyers with a highly effective mailing. Depending on the size of the “micro-cell” there will be waste of the mailing, i.e. not all the people addressed in the micro-cell might be interested in sport equipment. That is why the message of the mailing could be broader to motivate a website visit. Click here for the video(in German) explaining Consentric and the related analytics.
In an interview Jonathan Harman, Managing Director of Royal Mail MarketReach refers to disruptive innovations. Customers for example would be able to manage their letter box with an app. This will allow them to see which items are on their way and for them to signal when they will be in to receive the parcel. Pictures of the pack on its way could be shown. This interaction with the upcoming delivery will increase the chances to respond to the content of the pack. The reception of the pack during the morning mail allows an online retailer to more precise follow-up activities.
And with mail carrying Mailmark barcodes, new possibilities will open up. For example; determine a mail pack to be the only package to be delivered that day (which could be at a different rate, compared to combined delivery). Harman concludes by saying that “ ...we need to start thinking of mail as a programmatic channel now. Brand are triggering mailings based on online behaviour today. Highly customised, digitally printed mail pack are being sent today - and for less than you might think”.
These developments show the continuous focus on personal communication, addressing consumers as individuals and also integrating the online and offline as part of the brand experience.