JICMail launch creates 'currency' to measure direct mail engagement

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, January 19, 2018

The Joint Industry Committee (JIC) for Mail has launched the first ever “currency” for mail, based on comprehensive readership research for the channel, to help advertisers with their media planning.

JICMail is said to provide robust audience data for mail, measuring the readership, reach and frequency of exposure to each item that comes through the letterbox.

This data is captured, in partnership with Kantar TNS, using a diary that follows each piece of mail for four weeks in a nationally representative sample of 1,000 households per quarter across the UK.

The JICMail board is made up of representatives from industry bodies and businesses, including the DMA, IPA, ISBA, Royal Mail and Whistl.

Worth an estimated £1.7bn annually, advertising mail is the third-largest media channel in the UK according to ad spend, but until now has been the only one without a currency to support media planning.

JICMail said the new initiative will enable both media buyers and sellers to understand the power of mail, with data that is of the same standards as similar metrics for television, radio, outdoor and press.

Chris Combemale, chair of the JICMail board and chief executive of the DMA Group, said: “Traditionally, direct mail has been measured on ‘after-the-event’ impacts like ROI, but these new metrics will provide insight at the all-important planning stage, enabling it to go head-to-head with other media when budgets are being allocated.

“Clients are increasingly demanding accountability for every penny they invest and in 2018 planners will finally be able to compare directly between mail and other media channels.”

The first six months of research, conducted prior to launch include, found that 51% of all mail, on average, is read immediately – whether addressed or door drop – with a further 19% followed up on later, and that each piece that enters the home is revisited 3.8 times on average across either format.

Additionally, it discovered that 21% of all addressed mail and door drop items go on to create commercial actions, for example prompting a purchase, visiting a website or going to a physical store.

Speaking at the JICMail launch event, held at The Postal Museum in London yesterday evening (19 January), Mike Colling, member of the JICMail board, IPA member and founder and chief executive of performance media agency MC&C, said JICMail brings mail in line with every other channel.

“Historically, mail hasn’t performed like a mainstream media channel and has really not made it easy for people like me to invest my clients’ money in the medium.

“We take readership, viewership and usership data for our advertising campaigns for every single other channel for granted. And when we as an agency have wanted to add mail to the schedule, or defend the fact that mail is on the schedule, we’ve been doing it without the basic tools of our trade. As of tonight, that changes.”

Following the initial launch of the first six months’ worth of data, a quarterly report will be issued highlighting the latest insight from the panel data, administered through Kantar TNS. This can be found at www.jicmail.org.uk.

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