Partially Addressed Mail

Reach prospective new customers without using personal data.

Addressed mail has been a proven, highly effective channel to reach customers for many years. Targeted and personalised mailings allow you to connect and engage with your audience, and, if done properly, will deliver great ROI.There was much speculation last year that GDPR was going to spell the end of direct mail. But, once the panic was over and everyone started to understand that through 'legitimate interest', organisations could still continue to contact their database it all seems to have settled down.

However, the biggest impact GDPR has had on direct mail is making it illegal for marketers to contact cold prospects where legitimate consent could not be proven. Where once upon a time, brands had relied upon sending mail to bought-in lists in order to acquire customers, GDPR forced them to rethink their marketing strategy. Some reverted to untargeted, less responsive door drops, others redirected their marketing spend to other communication channels entirely for fear of prosecution by the ICO.

In response to this, in October 2018, Royal Mail launched Partially Addressed Mail™, a new advertising mail service. This is has created new opportunity for businesses to identify and communicate with prospects without the need for their personal data. Originally trialed to run until 7 November 2019, Royal Mail have recently announced they are extending the service to run until 31 March 2020.

However on October 5th 2018 Royal Mail sent a letter to customers titled Trial of a new advertising mail service: Royal Mail Partially Addressed Mail™. The letter introduces Partially Addressed Mail as a new way to identify and communicate with prospects. The product promises 165x greater targeting than door drops while keeping marketers on the compliant side of GDPR. Royal Mail is offering steep discounts of 2p – 4p per item to incentivise the adoption of the product which has been well received by mail producers. The Software Bureau are excited to announce support for Partially Addressed Mail as part of the Cygnus data processing suite, with the addition of an acquisition data generation module (Conjure) and the associated postal sortation itself.

What is Partially Addressed Mail?

The service occupies a middle ground between door drops and fully addressed mail. It enables targeting mailings to households using geo-demographics at postcode level.

How does it work?

Instead of addressing direct mail to an individual, the item will be addressed to the household, or to a campaign-specific name. This enables customer acquisition without the use of personal data.

Partially addressed data is targeted at postcode level (c.15 households). It uses existing customer postcodes to target other houses in customer ‘rich’ postcodes. It also uses targeting software to identify similar customer postcodes using geo-demographic profiling.

  • ‘Top-Up’ data enables you to identify new prospects in areas where there’s a high proportion of existing customers. This gives you greater reach in areas where your service is already being used.
  • ‘Look-a-like’ audiences can be identified using tools which identify postcodes with similar characteristics to existing customers. This helps you find customers in new areas, but who are likely to be interested in your service.

Partially Addressed Mail - Targeting

Combining both methods could give businesses 30% more reach than fully addressed mail and significantly reduce data costs.

How does it differ to addressed mail?

  • Lower postage rates: As a new service, when Royal Mail introduced Partially Addressed Mail, response rates were unproven, but they are estimated to be slightly less than addressed mail yet slightly more than door drops. For this reason, the postage rates for Partially Addressed Mail is lower than rates for addressed mail rates.

Even though the service has been running for less than a year, statistics show that it is becoming an effective marketing tool:
28% of Partially Addressed Mail items drive commercial actions – like purchasing or going online*

Partially Addressed Mail items are revisited up to 4 times on average1

88% of Partially Addressed Mail is opened, read, filed or set aside for later**.

For every 100 items of Partially Addressed Mail, 10 are passed on and shared1.

  • Reduced data costs: Since there's no need to purchase personal data, there's an average saving of 5-10p per item on data costs. In addition, for the same spend, you can reach 30% more households than with a personalised cold list. 
  • 30% more reach: There is a minimum requirement of 10,000 items per mailing, removing personal addresses, existing customers and suppressed customers. 



  Fully Addressed Partially Addressed Door Drops
Best for Customers, lapsed customers, qualified prospects Cold prospects Cold prospects
Addressee To name Campaign-specific, e.g. Holiday Lover To household
Targeting Highly targeted Geo-demographic profiling – ‘Top Up’ & ‘Look-alike’ audiences Location-based
GDPR compliant
Mailing size As required Min 10k items High volume


Benefits of Partially Addressed Mail

Partially Addressed Mail is an innovative new option which enables acquisition mailings to continue. It’s GDPR compliant, giving you more targeting options and more choice in how to allocate campaign budget.

In summary, Partially Addressed Mail:

  • Uses no personal data about the recipient
  • Targeted to c15 households
  • Combines ‘top-up’ and ‘look-alike’ targeting
  • Addressable and campaign specific, e.g. to Valued Customer
  • x165 more targeted than door drop
  • Cheaper than cold mailing
  • Increases brand awareness

*JICMAIL Q2 2017 – Q1 2018

**JICMAIL Q2 2018 – Q1 2019