Royal Mail MarketReach is planning to muscle in on programmatic advertising trading desks with trials of a scheme which links online cookies with postal data to target consumers with mailshots rather than through online display or email.
Working with its newly appointed media agency, Mike Colling & Company, a mailing house, and a small group of clients who invest in multiple media channels, the postal giant’s business division is starting trials of the scheme imminently. If successful, the initiative could be rolled out within a matter of weeks.
Speaking at a Mediatel event, MarketReach managing director Jonathan Harman said: “We see mail as a medium that is complementary to digital activity and the great benefit of this approach is that as soon as you identify an individual – and match their postal address and the online activity through a cookie – then you’ve got the ability to really join up the customer experience.”
However, Harman conceded that this will not be an approach that every company will want to take, given the associated costs. He predicted it would be used much less than display advertising and that only “higher value prospects” should be targeted.
Programmatic trading desks will set the reach, frequency and cost-per-thousand (CPT) rules, although Harman told MediaTel Newsline: “We expect mail to be used less frequently, but ultimately we will work out the right thing to do through experimentation.”
Since Harman joined Royal Mail’s business division in 2012, MarketReach has stepped up its use of digital technology. Despite a slow start, the Mailmark barcode technology and online-reporting scheme, hailed by Harman as “Google analytics for mail”, is now being widely adopted.
Meanwhile MarketReach’s Mailmen ad campaign, devised by Publicis Chemistry – which includes online as well as physical mail executions – has been credited with helping the firm achieve a 5% increase in direct mail revenue, reaching £1.167bn in the past 12 months.
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