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JICMAIL issues econometric challenge to evaluate the true effects of mail

27 Mar 2020 
JICMAIL issues econometric challenge to evaluate the true effects of mail

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Twelve-point data checklist lays down a challenge to industry

JICMAIL, the joint industry planning currency for advertising mail, has today released a whitepaper and checklist for applying previously unavailable mail interaction data to the marketing mix modelling process.

The measurement of marketing effectiveness has never been a more significant topic and JICMAIL is calling on econometricians to review the mail data used in their models.

Econometric models, for want of better data, routinely measure the effects of advertising mail across truncated time frames while narrowing in on only the most directly attributable sales effects driven by the channel.

JICMAIL reveals a wealth of mail interaction data that point to a far more significant role for mail in the customer journey.

Econometric models are missing the full range of interactions consumers have with the mail they receive. As such a challenge has been issued to the industry to measure the true effects of mail by enhancing model inputs and outputs with JICMAIL data.

The guidelines issued in the paper entitled Best Practice Econometrics: Harnessing the Power of JICMAIL to Measure the True Effects of Mail were drawn up as a result of an industry roundtable event attended by ISBA, the IPA, Royal Mail, Sky, British Gas, PWC, Mediacom, Brightblue Consulting, Holmes and Cook and JICMAIL in October 2019.

The fundamental principles laid down in the paper cover four key themes:

1) Converting mail volumes into advertising impressions to reflect the reach and frequency of exposure of advertising mail. A mailout of 1 million direct mail items will typically generate 4.8 million ad impressions – nearly five times the impact usually credited to the channel.

2) Analysing mail behaviour to test model assumptions using detailed industry, target audience and mail-type benchmark data. The data shines a light on mail behaviours such as discard rates: for example 45% of mail is still live in the home at the end of the 28 day recording period; and interaction rates by age: for example, 17-24 year olds interact with mail order DM more often than some older target audiences – 3.47 times a month on average.

3) Measuring the full range of mail effects beyond directly attributable sales – for example, web traffic, store footfall and word-of-mouth effects. 24% of direct mail containing regional information drives word of mouth, and door drops which contain voucher codes are three times as effective at driving store footfall.

4) Assessing brand specific and competitor mail data by analysing individual mailers in JCIMAIL’s 70,000 strong mail item database.

The paper, authored by renowned econometric practitioner Louise Cook, and the effectiveness expert and JICMAIL Data Leadership Director Ian Gibbs, presents a rallying call to the industry to get behind the MRS award-winning media planning currency by providing greater transparency on the true effects of mail.

“Three years ago, this type of in depth consumer interaction data simply wasn’t available to the mail channel," said Gibbs.

"Now that we have two and half years of data releases under our belt and adoption across agencies and advertisers, we’re challenging MMM practitioners to refresh their existing models to provide never-before-seen mail effectiveness insight to their clients.”

Best Practice Econometrics: Harnessing the Power of JICMAIL to Measure the True Effects of Mail is available for download. Submit your details here:



JICMAIL is the Joint Industry Currency for mail. It provides gold standard media planning metrics around mail reach and frequency on a quarterly basis to its 60+ subscribers. It differs from other JICs in that it also provides a range of commercial effectiveness data points across numerous client mailers across direct mail, door drops, business mail and partially addressed mail. Find out more at www.jicmail.org.uk

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27 May 2020 

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