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Partially Addressed Advertising Mail with Graham Arrowsmith

Did you know that there is a new direct mail service called Partially Addressed Advertising Mail? We discuss what it is and how it is an attractive options for marketers.

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Three Delivery Options for Direct Mail Marketers

Door to Door

These are leaflets that you receive with your post, delivered by Royal Mail. This service was formerly known as Household Delivery Service or HDS. Royal Mail changed the name to  “Door to Door”. The service is described here:

The thing about door drops is that you have to target and select whole Postcode sectors. (i.e. Otterburn is NE19 1). That could be 3,000 households. Within that postcode sector there could be a fair degree of variability in demographics. Plus there is a minimum order of £500.

So, in Kevin’s local charity example, if he was to select just one postcode sector and that had 3,000 households, the cost per house of delivering the leaflet would be 17p. On top of that would be the cost of printing and fulfilment (correctly labelling, boxing the leaflets) – so it could end up being like the 25p he mentions in the podcast!!

And, you would be communicating with as many houses that you don’t really want as those that you do.

Personalised Direct Mail

When you receive direct mail piece using your name and address it is called personalised direct mail. It is fully addressed and heavily regulated by GDPR. General Data Protection Regulations include a basis for data processing called legitimate interests. Here, the mailer weighs up their interests in mailing the consumer against the risks associated with an individual’s privacy.

Legitimate Interests

The Information Commissioner’s Office expects you to balance your interests with the recipients interests in an assessment.

  • You’ve got to weigh up whether the recipient is going to be worse off receiving the mail, versus the legitimate interests of a mailer sending it.
  • Remember legitimate interests is not an automatic right, but it is geared towards a mailer with a genuine reason to mail to an audience.
  • Do you have an existing relationship with the person you are mailing? Weigh up your interests with the rights of the consumer not to be bothered by your mailing.
  • Ask yourself, will an individual reasonably expect to get your mailing?
  • Add an ability to UNSUBSCRIBE your name. So include an opt-out on your mailing.


And just a point to note about personalisation. When it comes to mailing a lot of businesses might personalise, but its extent is limited. So the name and address is shown in the window or printed on the letter. On a personalised letter, you’ll have Dear Mr Appleby, or Dear Kevin as the salutation.

But generally personalisation is not used that much. Nowadays, digital print allows you to personalise mailings in a much more inventive way. Which brings me on to the new advertising mail service.

Partially Addressed Advertising Mail

Finely Fettled has been asked to help marketers supply data for this new service. A new brand and website has been developed for this purpose – PartiallyAddressed.Info

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Partially Addressed fits in the middle between door drops and personalised direct mail. And that is a good place to be. GDPR compliant, capable of super levels of profiling and looks like personalised direct mail, but at a lower cost.

Why Charities Should Be Interested

Many charities almost exited the media that had served them when faced with the bad publicity caused by some and imminent GDPR legislation. Here is a new service that they ought to be interested in. GDPR proof and they can access the households who donate through profiling.

Co-host Kevin Appleby told us that his wife With launched a chiropdy business in an affluent part of Newcastle upon Tyne, known as Ponteland. Kevin targeted around 1,000 households, thinking they were affluent and probably occupied by the over 50s and dropped a home made leaflet through the door. It got Ruth’s first client.

Is this a million miles from Partially Addressed Advertising Mail? Not really.

What is Partially Addressed Advertising Mail?

Profiling existing customers

First, we create a profile of the client’s existing customers (because, they probably want more of the same).

The service offered by Graham Arrowsmith includes the services of possibly one of the UK’s best data profilers. He’s a statistical genius. It reminds me of the famous Brian Clough quote, the former football manager – “I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one.”

David Griffiths would claim to be the top one, because he is far more gracious than Clough ever was, but many others would see him as exactly that. The initial file will be analysed by David to establish the best matches to the client’s existing customer data. The model will help us find more people like the client’s existing customers.

What data is needed?

We need the household address and postcode. Not the name of the householder. We do not need any personal data to complete the profile. Some of the characteristics we use within the profile are held at household level and some at the higher level of the postcode.

We use up to 30,000 attributes to help us describe the audience the client has.

The average number of postcodes is 18 households. Partially Addressed works by profiling your existing customers. Then the profile is used to find similar looking postcodes. You would rank the postcodes from most like the existing customers to least like existing customers. Each postcode has a number of households. Whether that is 4, like Kevin’s postcode, or 50 like Graham’s. The mailing file extracts existing customers and those people who do not wish to be mailed by progressively going down the ranking list until you hit the required volume.


The Maths of Partially Addressed Advertising Mail

With a high end furniture client where the average margin is say 50%, and average order value is £1000, you will need 8 sales from a 10,000 mailing to break-even.

This assumes your mailing pack is £0.40 each.

If your mailing produced around 40% of a typical personalised mailing response rate, say 1%, then your mailing would generate 40 new clients. So, the mailing would be immediately cash positive.

Another thing about the affluent market

Graham explains that as a result of affluent people opting out of the Edited Register, the mainstay of mailing files, some households have been difficult to target.


How to get onto the Mailing Preference Service?

Go to:

There is an excitement about direct mail. It has long term memory. Graham’s MBA thesis was about the response rate of direct mail and the density of direct mail on the doormat.

The key about Partially Addressed is the ambition to EARN the right to get the name of the recipient.

What is a Collective Name?

Use a locality name like Pontefract Resident, or category name, like The Furniture Lover or Holiday Buyer. The collective name choice is not easy, so give it thought.

The Next 100 Days

  1. Test 10,000. At 0.4% response, then will your returns be enough to cover your costs?
  2. Get your profile done.
  3. Soup to nuts 6 weeks for design, creative and mailed.

Think about the following 3 things? Message ad your offer. What is your irresistible offer? And can you get into the conversation already going in your customer’s minds. This is a strategy to solicit people BEFORE they are ready to buy. So when they become ready they become INVISIBLE to other competitors.

Remember to test. Think a series of mailings not one mailing alone.

Contact Graham Arrowsmith

Visit my Partially Addressed site:

Call Graham on:  +44 1535 654930

Finely Fettled Website: