It’s a familiar image in many homes occupied by students or young tenants: A kitchen noticeboard or fridge door covered in unaddressed mail advertising everything from fast food to the latest mobile phone deal.
This group receives the least number of addressed mailshots but, according to the Royal Mail’s The Life Stages of Mail research by MarketReach, these so-called sharers are 75% more likely to respond to door drops than other people.
In shared homes, leaflets containing relevant advertising or discount coupons are often retained for later use or left in a communal area.
Using data to build a better understanding of households
For brands that do send unaddressed mail into these shared homes, the data collected when people respond can help brands build a better understanding of who lives in a household. In fact, 4 % of sharers provided personal or household information to a company after seeing an unaddressed mail, according to the research.
In addition, 8 % of sharers say they bought or ordered something after seeing an unaddressed door drop and 20 % have used a coupon or voucher delivered by this method.
Virgin Trains targeted sharers as part of a broader campaign when it wanted to sell more off-peak seats on its Manchester to London route.
Its creative agency TMW Unlimited created a tongue-in-cheek door drop entitled ‘The Northerner’s Guide to London’ with a comic look at Southerners. The company wanted the door drop to engage with its Northern audience, including people in shared accommodation living within a 30-minute drive of Manchester Piccadilly station. A £10 voucher for someone’s next journey offered a tangible reason to travel.
People will often be sharing accommodation because they are studying or have just started work and money is tight, yet they want to be independent. Half of them are aged 18-24 and members of this group tend to be well educated. But they have to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities. Their choices of where they eat and drink and what clothes and technology brands they buy are often influenced by who they live with.
Local businesses can use door drops to compete for new business
Unaddressed mail can certainly help local businesses and challenger brands compete with larger national competitors using relevant offers that take into account local knowledge.
Since 2014, home broadband company Relish has used unaddressed direct mail in London to raise brand awareness among people sharing flats and houses. It has identified specific areas of the capital where it can guarantee the fastest broadband speed. More than 40 variants of one door drop were created with a cheeky tone of voice and hyper-local headlines for relatively small areas such as Barbican and King’s Cross.
“A major part of our customer base is made up of flat shares,” says head of marketing Bridget Lorimer. “Direct mail is really important to only talk to the people in our coverage area. When you target at this level you can extend the personality and appeal of the brand by making it really local and relevant.
“Clever use of data is at the heart of what we do. We base this on a person’s location, dwelling and mosaic profile and we can target multiple people within a single dwelling.”
She adds: “The response rate to door drops has been much higher than for email but when you combine the two – a DM piece with a follow-up email, you are on to a winner.”
Mail is seen as a novelty among younger consumers
If mail is going to be shared the content and imagery must grab the attention of whoever picks up the door drop when it comes through the letter box.
Sky uses door drops to reach sharers and in a campaign to persuade Freeview customers of the benefits of pay TV it took images from its most popular show Game of Thrones. This was combined with a half-price offer while the mailshot was an unusual square format.
“The ability to reach beyond individuals is possible with the use of door drops,” says Sky’s sales and marketing director Chris Collinson. “The tangible nature allows key benefits and messages to be shared through the creativity. It allows for more comprehensive and complex information to be delivered in a way that can sometimes be difficult to communicate through other channels.”
He adds: “Using models and insight we can identify key groups of prospects including the tough Freeview audience who are likely to have certain barriers to adopting Sky. We can tailor our messaging in an impactful manner.”
Collinson says physical mail is also seen as a novelty by young adult sharers. “Many advertisers choose to target them solely through other marketing channels but for us this age group engages with physical mail as much as the older generation.”
Ultimately, sharers will engage with memorable and quality mail. They do trust direct mail and if brands can engage with them before they buy their own home they could be customers for life.
- Sharers are 75 % more likely to respond to door drops
- They are 45 % more likely to find mail memorable
- 57 % of them compare what they do with others in their social circle
- 22 % have bought or ordered something after receiving direct mail in the last 12 months