Hitting home with data

4 minute read

Home is where the data is

Many marketers isolate their direct mail channels from their other media activities. By thinking more about what you need from data to reach, relate to and activate your desired audience, the performance of each channel will become more effective. When you are considering what data you need, don’t overlook the data potential in people’s homes.

Using geolocation data to reach consumers

Using geolocation data for marketing has allowed more targeted, personalized and relevant messaging and channel sequencing. Not only has it given marketers new ways to reach consumers, but it has also provided unique opportunities to connect marketing efforts across channels and increase contextual relevance. It has become integral to presenting a unified view of consumers that brings online and offline together.

Geolocation data has many different functions, including presenting ads, relevant content, promotions or coupons. It is also used increasingly to understand the customer journey and connect data within it. From a search perspective, location data is used to increase the relevance of the results page. Although mobile technology likely comes to mind first, geolocation data is simply the estimation of a physical location using an identifier like IP, GPS, Beacon or postal code.

Leveraging postal code data to optimize targeting

If you aren’t looking at postal code data, your targeting effectiveness might not be fully optimized. And the fact that people are more likely to share their postal code with a brand than they are their address makes capturing it a relatively easy way to increase relevance and unlock more actionable insights.

There are 850,000 postal codes in Canada reflecting where we live, shop and work. Each postal code includes an average of twenty individual addresses. They can be used to precisely target people, shape competitive strategies or contextualize your customer understanding. Address intelligence helps you find the people who look most like your strategic target or existing customers. It can also help you understand the changing dynamics of neighbourhoods and calculate household penetration, size opportunity and competitive saturation.

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Postal codes hold a ton of data that you want

There’s more to a postal code than six alphanumeric characters. Where we live provides a stable data anchor that says a lot about who we are and how we live. Our homes have become information hubs for all kinds of data that reflects our motivations, decision making, aspirations, behaviours, interests, lifestyles and life stages. We are regularly – and increasingly – shopping from our sofas and beds. Where we live has become a delivery centre for groceries, on-demand dining, curated subscriptions and other online purchases. The postal code can tell us where Canadians shop, their household income, what they drive and how many IP addresses are in the area.

A study conducted by PebblePost, a leading digital-to-direct mail marketing platform, validates the critical role of the home in driving brand engagement and reveals that the majority of purchase decisions are planned and made at home with other members of the household. This makes the home an influential space for targeting.

The central role of the home, coupled with 90 per cent of intent data available online and 90 per cent of purchases occurring offline, means that marketers must align digital and traditional marketing strategies – including direct mail – to maximize ROI and drive conversions across every purchase channel.

Pebblepost study highlight

The postal code offers a quick way to add new intelligence to customer profiling and targeting strategies, including:

  • Age, household structure and income
  • Interests, hobbies and lifestyle preferences
  • Online shopping, pet and car ownership, life stage and category spending indicators
  • Household ownership, dwelling type and amount of time lived at an address

From a media perspective, you can use postal code data to understand audience coverage and composition, which puts direct mail on equal footing with other media during planning and aids in ensuring reach and targeting goals are met, both in the media mix and within direct mail efforts.

Within an omni-channel context, postal code data can be married with first-party data (customer service, store, email, social media and website) to improve targeting across media and demonstrate how well channels work together. Thanks to programmatic technology, brands can now turn their digital traffic into addressable households that can be retargeted with direct mail to close the marketing-sales-retention loop much faster with increased tracking capabilities through address matching and pixels.

Marketers can quickly up their game by combining postal code data with digital to enrich their ability to understand, segment and target customers with relevance. You don’t have to be doing direct mail to get the benefit of postal code data. However, direct mail is the only channel that can truly deliver on the benefits of postal code targeting to improve marketing effectiveness.

3 ways to put postal code data to work for you

To help marketers get smarter with targeting, Canada Post offers three different ways to use postal code data for direct mail marketing. Each method affords various opportunities to optimize your targeting strategy and media mix.

  • Neighbourhood Mail connects you to every home and apartment in specific neighbourhoods across Canada. Maximize audience reach and geofence using broader targeting attributes like drive route, household income and trading zone boundaries.
    Digital integration tip

    Layer mobile and postal code data together to improve geofencing tactics.

  • Postal Code Targeting improves relevance and composition without personalization for acquisition efforts where your targeting criteria are narrower or psychographic. Efficiently optimize acquisition and promotional efforts with customer suppression.
    Digital integration tip

    Test communication quickly and inexpensively via social media, then overlay learnings onto postal code data.

  • Personalized Mail enhances one-to-one customer engagement and retention. Deepen brand experience, increase personalization and lifetime value. Layer postal code data onto existing customers to find lookalike audiences.
    Digital integration tip

    Use digital behavioural targeting and programmatic mail for retargeting to improve qualified audience conversion.

This is an abridged version of the article, “The Channel is not Your Audience” which appears in INCITE’s latest issue, “MY NAME IS NOT DATA”. Download INCITE to read the full version of this article to find out how channels are dictating targeting and the role data plays in the problem – and its solution.

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