21 Apr Mailmark: Using data for game-changing innovations
Updates to Royal Mail’s Mailmark Direct Data platform are enabling mailing houses to develop game-changing innovations.
Royal Mail started its journey towards customer barcoding in the Letters business back in 2012. Working with the SMP on the design, build and testing phases, the first live Mailmark mailings were made in February 2014. The idea was to offer customers and their suppliers web-based insight into the performance and delivery of their communications.
More recently, across the past 12 months, Royal Mail has worked with the SMP to look at how the data and information captured through Mailmark barcodes can be turned into meaningful insight to enhance the overall customer experience for both posting and receiving customers.
A successful pilot scheme, supported by the SMP, wholesale access groups and software suppliers, demonstrated that it was possible to package and securely send data on individual items to customers. SMP members could then import the data into their own systems for analysis and use.
Based on the success of the trial, the platform was recently upgraded and moved to a Direct Data reporting system in December 2020.
Mailmark reporting now allows SMP members to connect to Royal Mail systems using a Secure File Transfer Protocol web-based solution and automatically access and download all of their letter item data. Royal Mail updates the data daily and holds it for eight days to ensure customers can maintain continuity of supply.
Customers and their suppliers can now blend item track event data such as first seen location, first track event and predicted delivery with other data they hold to present a fuller picture to a delivery patterns and performance.
Such insights also provide the opportunity to develop new mail targeting tools such as those that select particular customer groups responsiveness to mail and then map this targeting across similar prospect groups.
This, together with the use of the Mailmark barcodes’ ability to carry a customer’s URL that will link the recipient’s smartphone to a personalised offer on the sender’s website, may become the next and truer measure of Mailmark Direct Data’s success at giving mail a digital future.
SMP members now have a unique opportunity to help create the new wave of innovation that ensures mail is included as a valued part of the communication mix.
One example of how data has been turned into a useful tool for customers is a facility developed by an SMP member to pinpoint the precise whereabouts of an item of mail at any stage of its journey.
The mail tracking software solution will allow customers to see the progress of mailings as they make their way through the UK postal system.
Using Mailmark data, the information is presented in easy-to-read charts, tables and maps, enabling clients to pinpoint the location of any mailing on a daily basis.
Not only that, it will be possible to see the type of people who receive the mailing, to help measure targeting. Using demographic codes, the system reports on the characteristics of people and places across the UK, making it easier to identify profitable prospects.
Innovation for the future
For marketers wondering how physical mail might remain relevant in the future, the use of data is key. The launch of the Direct Data platform provides a foundation from which mailing houses can develop further ways to enrich the data and drive new innovations.
One example is the ability to report on more than just the actual process of mail. By using revealing predicted delivery metrics, for example, SMP members could help their clients’ contact centre teams with new insights on how recipients responded to specific offers within customer groups.
Alternatively, they could work with customers to integrate this data into their clients’ marketing automation platforms, triggering follow-up communications to consumers as part of an integrated communication strategy.
Additions are currently being made to the Direct Data platform to widen the reach of the insight available. This summer, the new Economy service’s item level predicted delivery metrics will be added to the Mailmark Direct Data reporting.
SMP members are leading the way helping to shape a new wave of innovation that ensures mail is included as a valued part of the communication mix.