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The data giving marketers new insight into direct mail



There’s a way to uncover the latest data to help you find out how your mail campaign can perform. Royal Mail MarketReach has developed a new, improved Insight Engine based on data from JICMail – the direct mail industry’s new audience measurement standard. It’s a powerful tool that can help you drive success.

JICMail is changing the face of marketing. As you may be aware, since its launch in January, JICMail – the Joint Industry Committee for Mail – provides advertisers and their agencies with insight and metrics on their channels, so they can have a better understanding of mail.

The data, captured by global research agency Kantar TNS, uses a diary that follows each piece of mail over four weeks across a nationally representative sample of 1,000 UK households. The results were used to create a unique interactive tool to help people understand the impact of mail when considering carrying out a mail campaign.

See and influence the results you can expect, before your next campaign has landed.

The results are often enlightening and reveal the real impact of mail on customers. Not only that, for the first time marketers can use our new Insight Engine to truly benchmark their mail investments against other media.

Audience and performance insights

The new Insight Engine has the capability to focus in on specific sector insights in industries as diverse as automotive, travel, insurance, retail and utilities. Here are just some of the metrics you can use it to uncover:

  • People reached – the average number of new or existing customers who saw each item of mail
  • Times viewed – the frequency with which each item of mail was looked at
  • Days spent in the home – the average number of days each item of mail was kept in the home

You can also view your target audience and see the actions they take on receiving mail. Such as going online to discover more, visiting a store or contacting the sender. When you consider that 70% of consumers have responded digitally as a direct result of receiving mail, according to Kantar TNS research, it’s clear to see how powerful these actions can be.

Marketers can see the performance of mail campaigns in individual sectors

Now you can see the results you could expect from including mail in the marketing mix:

  • See the expected commercial actions per type of mail to help determine your marketing plan.
  • Discover the types of mail, from addressed mail to door drops, that work hardest for your sector.
  • See how a specific audience interacts with mail – for audiences from millennials to ABC1 professionals – to help you target the most profitable consumers for your brand in a way that really hits home.

All of which can help you hone your marketing plans and feel more confident you’ll implement them succesfully.

The JICMail data allows you to see how consumers have interacted with direct mail

The new Insight Engine is particularly timely. In a world that often thinks digital-first, yet is becoming increasingly aware of potential pitfalls, it proves that mail is a solid choice. Mail is opened, kept and shared by real people. In fact, mail is the most reliable form of contact for reaching people in their homes – a safe haven for your brand.

Mail is especially strong when you consider that, in a world of fake clicks, 87% of people consider mail believable according to our research. It’s a great way to open a conversation. Seventy percent of consumers respond digitally to mail and mail sent to the home is typically shared with 200 more people for every 1,000 mail packs sent. The data and insights you discover using our Insight Engine will help you incorporate mail to best effect within your own marketing mix.

Increase the effectiveness of your next campaign – use our new, free Insight Engine to uncover personalised, downloadable insights. Simply visit our Insight Engine and, with the data it reveals, discover how mail can perform – before you’ve actually sent anything.

Try the Insight Engine here. The Royal Mail MarketReach team are also on-hand to provide further insights and planning expertise. Call our dedicated team free on 0800 177 7209.

Jonathan Harman is managing director of Royal Mail MarketReach.

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Vice overhauls its UK Studios division



Vice has overhauled its Studios division in the UK which has seen managing director Kevin Sutcliffe depart, not to be replaced.

Sutcliffe joined Vice in 2013 from Channel 4, where he was deputy head of news and current affairs, taking on the managing director role for Studios last August.

According to Variety – which broke the news – with his exit the role will not be replaced. Instead, the former general manager for Viceland, CJ Fahey, has been promoted to general manager for Vice TV and Studios across EMEA which will see him take on responsibility for Vice’s TV and Studios output.

Fahey was most recently responsible for negotiating the landmark deal to bring 900 hours of Vice content to Channel 4’s digital platform, All 4.

In addition to Sutcliffe’s exit and Fahey’s promotion, Yonni Usiskin has also been given the creative director role at Vice Studios in the UK.

The overhaul of the Studios team is part of a wider attempt from Vice bosses to unite the UK Studios and TV business (Viceland) units under one leadership team.

It follows several rounds of redundancies across the global business, which has seen Vice lose approximately 2% of its 3,000 US employees and 4% of Vice’s 400-strong EMEA workforce.

It has also made a number of crucial high-profile hires in the last six-months, including Nancy Dubuc as CEO and former Havas executive Dominique Delport as chief revenue officer.

Elsewhere, the BBC’s Tamara Howe was also appointed to the newly created role chief content officer for EMEA earlier this year.

All copyrights for this article are reserved to their respective authors.

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Connecting head and heart: The new anatomy of advertising personalisation



Personalisation in the advertising industry probably began 60 years ago when Lester Wunderman first invented the idea of direct mail and the concept of targeting messaging to individual consumers.

It took the rest of the industry a few years to catch up but catch up it did and so began half century of mailboxes piled high with “personal offers” addressed to you, or similar(ish) to you, or someone who lived in your house three moves ago.

While it was understood that the more personalised the approach, the more likely it was to be read; the execution was too often poorly carried out, losing the impact for the intended consumer.

However, just as personalised advertising was approaching its half century it had the opportunity to reinvent itself with the advent of the internet. Digital advertising enabled newer, better opportunities for targeting, tailoring and personalisation. However, collectively the industry failed to treat this new toy with the appropriate respect and so consumers went from junk mail in the post to being stalked online by a product they might have idly clicked on during last week’s lunch break.

These blunt-force trauma tactics applied by the industry could be less like a friendly invitation to respond, than doorstep intimidation demanding money (or at least attention) with menaces.

Getting personalisation right is the Holy Grail of digital and as a result of conversations with clients, rarely get past social niceties before it’s brought up. Every client demands personalisation because they realise (much like the first agencies to get typists to address individual mailing labels) it can drive instant, measurable results to the bottom line, especially when sat on top of a smart e-commerce platform.

The steady move to e-commerce over the last two decades has increased the need for personalisation. Even the most traditional of companies, who may be used to selling through distributors, dealers and partners, are actively looking to incorporate e-commerce in their channel mix. However, this can be confusing to businesses relatively new to digital thinking as traditionally, the e-commerce and customer experience have been kept separate from each other.

Customer experience has taken the role of relationship builder or the “heart” of a brand, while the e-commerce function acts as the “head”, powering transactions and operations. For a truly personalised experience, head and heart need to converge and work together.

To date, the commerce experience has tended to be behind the login wall where it interacts with enterprise systems – often on an entirely different technical platform, with an entirely separate team to the front-end customer experience, which often sits under marketing’s purview. This can mean that personalisation is also disjointed with the front office employing tactics like geo-targeting or device analysis to tailor recommendations, while the back-end deploys different tools from logged-in journeys using more specific data to proactively suggest products aka The Amazon Approach.

However, adopting a truly joined-up approach requires not just lip service but substantial investment in infrastructure such digital platforms or data capability and more importantly, a true culture shift for many organisations.

Customer experience is now recognised as a journey that connects all touchpoints, meaning that personalisation needs to seamlessly span multiple channels regardless of where the customer is. As a result, the concept of “headless e-commerce” is starting to gain traction, recognising that customer experience is best handled by a unified experience platform for a more harmonious approach.

This approach recognises that the path to personalisation may begin way before a customer reaches a site. Advances in programmatic advertising can now not only crunch the analytics on visitor data before displaying an advert but can apply dynamic creative to assemble a creative execution targeted at that individual. This data can be passed onto the website on click through, replacing the outdated concept of a “landing page” as the site itself can be fully personalised for the visitor – down the product or service recommendations determined even before a customer reaches the e-commerce engine. Crucially, this can be done without using any personally identifiable data and so avoids issues around GDPR.

Once the customer reaches the logged-in experience, then the granularity of data increases exponentially and new AI (artificial intelligence) tools help to bring this information together rapidly with customer specific data such as purchase histories aligned to other sophisticated data sources. For example, ASOS can use AI to match clothing images that customers upload to similar items in their catalogue.

Some tools even combine this with external data such as local weather forecasts to tweak recommendations – imagine if ASOS can suggest an umbrella that matches the new coat you bought last week that can be delivered with a drone to your office just as the heavens open?

Now that personalisation is officially a sexagenarian perhaps it’s time to retire the old way of working and thinking to really maximise the e-commerce experience to create experiences that transcend organisational silos and enhance the customer journey.

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Brand Positioning

Norwegian CMS startup Sanity wants to kick content creation out of the 90s



As a digital marketer, you’ve more than likely to have had a run-in with a content management system (CMS). If you’re lucky, you might even get to use one every day.

Whether it’s WordPress, SilverStripe, Drupal or Django, tucked away in the backend, it’s easy to take these painfully functional workhorses for granted, but one Scandinavian startup thinks the status quo is well overdue for an overhaul.

Sanity is the product of Norwegian digital agency Bengler and co-founders Øyvind Rostad, Simen Svale Skogsrud, and Even Westvang, who want to build a CMS native to the connected world its forebears were never designed for.

“Most people working today don’t even want to think about their CMS systems,” said Westvang, Sanity’s CPO, to Business Insider Nordic; “I think it’s obvious that existing solutions [have] been stuck in the late 90’s for many years.”

The idea for Sanity stemmed from its founders’ own “personal discomfort” with CMS, who found the most common platforms were time-consuming, and ultimately, no longer fit for purpose in a digital ecosystem built on seamless connections between website, smartphones, social media and video.

Sanity is trying to eliminate a reliance on page structure as the governing principle of content creation. The product acts to centralise all content within businesses while taking into account new technologies and platforms, and also caters for real-time edits to the same content across numerous sources.

“For many companies, the website becomes the primary source of truth on what they’re doing,” said Skogsrud; “What you should do is structure your content around what your company actually tries to achieve – the projects, the people and the clients – and get rid of the page as the organising principle.”

Enabling for real-time content collaboration across teams, Sanity stores content in one database, allowing for distribution via integrated APIs to smartphones, web pages, or even brochures or coffee tables books – the key point being, that where the content ends up should not need to be predefined.

According to BI, the idea came about at Bengler when working for client OMA, a Dutch architect. Using one data source, a combination of “architectural images, presentations, books, crediting and timelines”, the team were able to create a website, business development tools and print-ready portfolios.

“Working with structured data let us unlock achievements like looking up their buildings on Instagram over APIs and adding a content curation interface to the CMS to allow adding them into the data repository, and onto the website,” explained COO Øyvind Rostad.

“Along with external news sources and their own activity we created a real-time narrative of how their works are being used.”

Backed by a suite of clever features and integrations, what Sanity really gifts to the market is a refreshed (and well overdue) perspective on content creation and its place within branding strategy and communications.

It’s not a stretch to imagine forward-thinking agencies adopting Sanity for their clients. At the same time, however, it’s also easy to imagine that many companies will be reluctant to kick their old addiction to the archaic.

Sanity is now looking to expand what it hopes to be a “category-defining” offering following a $1.1m (£880k) seed round from tech investors and founders in its home market, with sights set on San Francisco.

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