Direct Mail and the EU Referendum

Slightly off-topic for a betting and gaming-focused business as it may be, we couldn't let the UK's European Union referendum pass without a look at the use of Direct Mail during the campaign. This caused much debate on both sides with the government choosing to spend £9 million sending a pro-EU mailer to every house in the UK.

Many people don't register political flyers and leaflets as Direct Mail, but that's exactly what they are. What's interesting though is that all of the things we talk about in this blog, from list cleansing to personalisation and response monitoring, are virtually ignored by political parties and campaign groups.

Of course, one key factor is different to an iGaming Direct Mail campaign, namely the need to demonstrate effectiveness and ROI. It's about sending a message and hoping it will influence the recipient, but you won't know the outcome until polling day, and even then it will be impossible to measure the influence your DM campaign had on the result.

This begs the question of whether a trick is being missed. The government's investment, hitting every home in the UK, may have been an extreme example, but both sides in the campaign have spent several million on their own campaigns, using political party lists, supporter registrations and the electoral register. Could this money have been better spent if a response mechanism was used?

Well, some mailers do have a call to action, asking people to register their support online, donate to the campaign or even volunteer, but it's very hard to verify how effective the Direct Mail campaign is in relation to other sources, such as advertising, news coverage and word of mouth.

The campaign has also been notable for the lack of incentives on offer. Political parties sometimes offer free gift incentives for donations over a certain amount, such as a free David Cameron mug, but we haven't seen such tactics in the referendum campaign, despite regular requests for donations from both sides, target mainly at registered supporters.

What's also been interesting in the campaign is the variety of sources responsible for Direct Mail, ranging from political parties to various campaign groups, including the official Remain and Leave organisations, as well as independent campaigns such as Mailers have varied from letters to fold-out posters and the 16-page official government guide, but we'll never know what worked best and how many were even read.

So what can Direct Mail professionals and iGaming marketers learn from this campaign? Not a huge amount in terms of content and outcomes, but it's interesting to observe it all the same. We've probably seen greater volumes than in any previous political campaigns and millions of people have been targeted, but all of the things we do to make our corporate campaigns more effective have given way to a scattergun approach.

To take advantage of all the latest trends and tactics that can enhance the effectiveness of your DM campaign, get in touch with Secure Direct Mail on 01624 698488.

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