Royal Mail testing new post-GDPR targeting method

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Monday 23 July 2018

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Royal Mail has started testing a new mailing technique that will enable acquisition mail to continue following the introduction of the GDPR legislation.

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Clarke: "The industry is hoping this product can be rolled out as soon as possible"

Partially Addressed Mail is a GDPR-compliant, standard addressed advertising mail product with new customer targeting options.

Danny Clarke, managing director of Kent-based direct mail specialist Howard Hunt, which is one of a handful of partners collaborating with Royal Mail to trial the initiative, told PrintWeek: “Partially Addressed Mail is an innovative, more targeted way to use door drops in compliance with GDPR.

“The initiative allows acquisition mail to continue using strictly non-personalised data, geo-demographics, or models according to fully consented individuals. Mail will be addressed through substitutes for the recipient’s name such as ‘Occupier’ or ‘Valued Customer’.

“We believe that this initiative has the potential to be a fantastic acquisition channel for our clients, especially as it is GDPR-compliant.”

Partially Addressed Mail can take on three models – boost, postcode level and household level.

Under the boost model, if a postcode contains a high proportion of existing customers, the remainder of the postcode can be ‘topped up’ with a prospect variant. Targeting here is based on brands’ existing customers rather than using any third-party information.

Acquisition via postcode level targets whole postcodes. This operates similarly to a micro door drop at postcode level but is delivered using advertising mail. Targeting is based on existing geo-demographic segmentation that are already aggregated.

Under the household level model, acquisition mail is replicated as closely as possible by using publicly available and household level data or using modelled consented information.

For maximum effect and in advance cases, Royal Mail suggests combining all three techniques to achieve optimal acquisition for a given campaign.

The trial aims to gather insight and analyse performance, which will allow the future development and optimisation of the new initiative.

“The industry is hoping this product can be rolled out as soon as possible but it is down to Royal Mail getting approval to officially launch it,” said Clarke, who added the market as a whole has seen a short-term reduction in addressed mail volumes in recent months.

“This is typical during the summer but we also believe this is an effect of GDPR, the World Cup and seasonality.

“However, our clients are reporting that direct mail is working very well in terms of ROI and we are excited by the opportunities that partially addressed can offer as an acquisition tool for our clients.”

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