Could you be using regionality to engage customers?

The world of bricks and mortar retail is highly competitive with rising costs, pressure from online sales and uncertain economic conditions. Retailers are consolidating their product lines, offering and stores in the struggle to deliver profitable growth. But are these national companies, with stores in towns around the UK, using their significant local presence to improve the results of their marketing? And would it increase sales if they did? We thought that using local information would improve results so decided to look at the available research to see if we were right. It was quite an eye-opener.

The best research available is JICMAIL which records actions taken on mail in the home. The data breaks down into mail type, industry sector, customer demographic and content type. This let us look at both the effect of direct mail as a whole and also drill down into the retail and  supermarket sector and then look at how the effect of local marketing made a difference to results. Initially we looked at whether using local information in all mail improved the commercial actions it delivered.

Chart 1 – Commercial actions for all mail items

Chart 2 – Commercial actions for all mail items containing information about local services

Comparing the results for all mail items, and then all mail items containing information about local services, there is an immediate leap in advocacy from 14% to 24%. The research shows that using local information hugely increases the likelihood your customers will talk about your brand and your offer.

Next we looked at whether using local information affected the key metrics of reach, frequency and lifespan. Reach is whether an item is passed on to someone else in the home, frequency is how many times the item is interacted with and lifespan is how many days an item is live in the home.

Chart 3 – Reach, frequency and lifespan for all mail, all supermarket and retail combined and all supermarket and retail containing local information

Here we see for all key metrics, using local information improves results. Specifically, the inclusion of local content increases key mail effectiveness metrics, reach and frequency, by 5% and 12% respectively while Lifespan increases by a substantial 35%.

Lastly we looked at those most important metrics, how commercial actions are affected by the inclusion of local information in mail from supermarkets and retailers. Commercial actions in JICMAIL are defined as anything driving an action while could result in a purchase.

Chart 4 – Commercial actions recorded for all mail items, all supermarket and retail combined and including local information.

As shown in the chart, brand discussions almost double from 11% to 21%, items that initiate an online journey increases from 2% to 4%, use of voucher codes increases by 50% and the number of items read increases by 11%.

Impressively, it’s clear that the inclusion of local information in direct mail has a material effect on its success, improving both the number of people seeing and interacting with your mailing and also improving the resulting commercial actions. The next step to consider is how to make use of this information to improve the results of your mailing campaigns. Two obvious areas must be considered first.

  • Incorporate into an existing campaign
    Where possible, consider how to use regional information in a campaign you are already sending. This will make use of a workstream already established and could make it easier to swap out some existing content to bring in some beneficial regionality. Indeed, if you are already using offers and coupons, these could be tweaked to refer to your local store. 
    Where needed, we can help you evaluate your campaigns to consider which could be most profitably adapted to include regional information. This will also make it easier for you to evaluate the results and show the additional revenue and brand metrics delivered by the incremental inclusion of regional messaging and offers.
  • Include in a regular campaign
    You may already be considering a new campaign and now decide to include regional information to improve results. Our recommendation is always to consider whether your campaign could be long-term, delivered regularly over time to consistently deliver sales. Where you are running successful PPC or Ad Word campaigns, these are generally set to an agreed daily budget to regularly drive web traffic, so mail campaigns can be used in the same way. 9% of retail direct mail drives traffic to your website¹ so make use of this behaviour by consistently driving your customers to your online presence. 

Set objectives
Once you have decided which mailing campaigns could include regionality, you also need to consider what strategic target they will meet. There are three main ways to use regionality in mailings which need to be considered with your overall objectives:

  1. Support seasonal mailings with news of offers in local store
    Many regional stores will have displays and events for seasonal times like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter and, of course, Christmas. Use local information on the specific offers and events to connect your customers to their local store, letting them know what is happening and how they can get involved.
  2. Use to support new store opening/closing
    Where new stores are opening or closing, keep customers informed. Bring them into a new store with an event tailored specifically for loyal customers and offers to show your significant benefits. Where a store is closing, encourage them to visit their nearest alternative store or if there’s no obvious alternative, encourage them to shop online to keep their custom.
  3. Use to counteract competitor activity
    Where a competitor is opening a new store, use your regional store’s information to highlight the benefits of choosing you over your competitor. Use friendly staff photos, maps to store location and local offers to drive sales.

Your four-step plan to using local store information

Once you’ve decided how you are going to incorporate regionality into your mail campaigns, and see the benefits, there are specific steps you need to take:

  1. Plan the local store information you need.
    Initially you may decide to test the inclusion of local store offers. When this proves successful, you may decide to extend this further to include staff photos, local events or products and a map and location details.
  2.  Decide which mailing stream will support regionality at its most useful and appropriate.
  3. Agree how the information will be used most effectively.
    We can help you use drive-time analysis and customer geo-demographic information to ensure the appropriate message reaches the right customer.
  4. Consider the message and offer.
    8% of mail including special offers and discounts results in consumers buying something²

Help including regionality in your marketing campaigns
To ensure each message is sent in the right format with the right offer, the technical team at TLG will help you create a bespoke, attractive mailing you can deploy repeatedly to raise your profile, improve your brand awareness and deliver sales. We use digital printing techniques to vary each mail pack so it is fully personalised to your customer and ensure the highest quality mailing.

Using Partially Addressed Mail for customer acquisition
Another area we specialise in is the use of Partially Addressed Mail. Using existing customer postcodes, we can help you target, in a GDPR-compliant way, new look-a-like customers. Talk to us about including Partially Addressed Mail in your campaign strategy – a perfect way to introduce your local stores to new customers.

Why aren’t you using regionality in your mailings?

So we’ve shown that using regionality helps improve the results delivered by your mailings, so are you using it? We help with long term mailing plans to support your full marketing campaign. Talk to us about how to incorporate regional marketing messages into your mail and see your results take off.

Call 0113 231 1113

¹ Source: JICMAIL Item Data Q2 2017 to Q4 2019; Retailer (e.g. clothing, household electrical etc.) Addressed Mail sample size = 10690
² Source: JICMAIL Item Data Q2 2017 to Q4 2019; Special offers or discounts Addressed Mail sample size = 11663

To see JICMAIL insight go to www.jicmail.org.uk

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