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DIRECT MARKETING NEWS: Royal Mail offers free consultancy to DM first-timers

Royal Mail is offering a reduction in postage costs for advertisers who test a direct mail campaign following a free consultation with its team of experts, set up to help marketers identify the most relevant and responsive customers for marketing campaigns.

Over the last three years, Royal Mail says it has invested heavily in building a 30-strong team of consultants with expertise in audience planning and targeting who help customers improve return on investment through improved use of data. The service includes free access to powerful tools such as TGI, Billets and Ad Dynamix.

The initiative is designed to encourage advertisers who don't use direct mail to test it as a standalone activity or as part of an integrated campaign as well as enabling existing direct mail users to try different campaign tactics and maximise the use of their data.

The announcement follows recent research carried out by TPoll, on behalf of Royal Mail, that showed almost half (49 per cent) of marketers believe finding the right people to contact is the hardest part of customer acquisition. Having the right message (21 per cent), measuring return on investment (18 per cent) and cleaning data (6 per cent) were also identified as problem areas, but significantly less important than targeting.

Antony Miller, head of media development at Royal Mail, said: "Marketers place high importance on targeting the correct customers in the most effective manner to boost response rates. Effective targeting equals lower campaign costs but, as the research shows, many marketers have great difficulty in finding the right people. Royal Mail's consultants can help them solve this problem by identifying new audiences, advising them on how to best reach their customers and improve data quality in general.

"We want advertisers that do not use direct mail to test it and discover its effectiveness and for existing users to try new campaign tactics."

At the start of the year Royal Mail launched a DM sale offering a discount on new and additional mailings.