Could Partially Addressed Mail be an option for me?

by Graham Dodd on 26/11/2019

Partially Addressed Mail hits the headlines on almost a daily basis at the moment.

But what is PAM in the first place?

Here is the definition on Royal Mail’s website (where there is also other useful information) – Partially Addressed Mail is for advertisers prospecting to new customers. Instead of addressing a mailing item to an individual prospective customer, the mail item will be addressed to the household. By addressing mailing items in this way, it enables customer acquisition without the use of personal data about recipients, by targeting households using geo-demographics at postcode level (c.15 households).

So is it unaddressed direct mail, or unaddressed door drop?

If the former, it’s cheaper than traditional direct mail, but if it’s the latter, it’s far more expensive that traditional door drops and even our specialist SMART-Drop service.

So, will it work for you?

As with most things, only testing will really tell you that.

Whilst there are already case histories circulating that claim success, is it reasonable to suggest that if those case histories are generated by business sectors and/or clients for whom traditional direct mail has worked well, then perhaps its not a surprise that PAM is working?

We already also know of failures however, from clients in business sectors where direct mail was not previously a core technique.

So if it is of interest and you are a traditional door drop client accessing the medium via postal sector geography (which most users are), we can help set up a test package for you.

As experts in using existing customer data combined with Mosaic to plan targeted activity, we can identify the most appropriate areas postcodes for testing and help ensure that the test has the best possible chance of working.

That can simply be postal sector drops versus PAM, but why not add in a solus SMART-Drop test as well?

After all, come May 2020, SMART-Drop has been completing door drops for a wide range of clients for 10 years – by targeting households using geo-demographics at postcode level (c.15 households)!!!

It’s an option and service no other provider has such extensive experience of.

Our SMART-Drop clients return to the service time after time, so testing PAM against SMART-Drop distribution will be really interesting (even if you do not undertake any direct mail activity).

From a planning perspective, the difference is using SMART-Drop to target 150-200 properties with an unaddressed item vs using PAM to target individual postcode units with an addressed item, minus the name – at significantly different entry costs.

Standard door drop charges starting at 6-8p per item, compared with a lowest postage charge for PAM (Economy) ranging from 17p to 21p per item – with additional costs for planning and fulfilment to be taken into account.

The question therefore being, will PAM produce 3 times better response/redemption/awareness than a door drop?

Our view is that PAM is a credible product in its own right and one that will have its place in the market, for the right client at the right time.

It will not replace door drops, it will merely compliment a door drop and addressed mail package, as SMART-Drop has been doing for a decade. The skill lies in using the most appropriate combination of these print media, which is where we can help.

Some interesting JICMail research has recently been released, considering PAM and door drop:

  • Item reach within households – PAM 1.10, door drops 1.05.
  • Interactions within households – PAM 3.97, door drops 2.76
  • Live in households for over 7 days – PAM 7.20, door drops 5.5

Not huge differences.

The most compelling statistic on PAM however reflects upon the prompting of a commercial action – PAM 26%, door drops 10% (but just think about the entry costs again).

But, that statistic is also then qualified to some extent by the commentary – Partially Addressed Mail that drives a commercial action is most likely to come from the following types of advertisers : Government, Utilities, TV/Broadband, Property.

TV/Broadband and Property I can believe.

If TV/broadband providers can avoid cannibalising their existing customer base, whilst engaging their neighbours with promotional offers, it makes absolute sense.

And property agents have long targeted households in the immediate vicinity of a recent sale, so again there is a logic, though I suspect the PAM entry volume may be an issue with a minimum 10,000 items.

But if you operate in another business sector (as most people reading this blog will!), how useful is this information to you without testing it yourself?

We can offer you a one stop service, including print, to help test and compare all your options, perhaps through a test matrix no other provider will offer.

For TLC, PAM is another opportunity for our clients to engage with their target markets and it will quite probably play a role for some – but not all in my opinion.

This article was written by...

– who has written 85 posts on Letterbox Consultancy for Door Drop Marketing.

Graham Dodd is the founder of The Letterbox Consultancy - he has over 40 years of experience in the door drop industry and remains at the forefront of innovation in the business.

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