The Smart Mailbox

Smart Mailbox

Simplifying the path to purchase for buyers and brands, ReachMedia is leading the way in smart letterbox flier distribution in New Zealand. 

Sharing messages through mailbox drop is simple, and with a well-designed and attention-grabbing mailer, businesses can appeal to customers in a relatively cost-effective and proven way. The latest Roy Morgan research report into consumer behaviour suggests that of those who read them, six out of 10 people will end up buying from a mailer and 52 percent will visit the store’s website. 

But, let’s face it, people have become more media savvy, and if not targeted correctly, a flier can end up in a pile of unopened mail meaning valuable marketing dollars are lost. This, coupled with competition from its digital cousin, letterbox advertising has had to evolve. To be successful,  it must leverage smart online solutions to champion its offline offering. 

Champion of this smart approach to letterbox advertising in New Zealand is ReachMedia CEO Struan Abernethy. He is a believer that letterbox advertising has a unique customer experience offering over digital, “[fliers] come into the home in a tangible way and are consumed by a number of the physical senses.” He is however also keenly aware of the challenges faced by traditional letterbox distribution. “The medium can no longer operate with a scattergun approach. Instead a smart approach is needed to ensure a relevant customer experience and an appropriate return on investment to the brand.”

Online smarts for offline strides 

From smart letterbox campaigns to digital out-of-home, the insights company is now turning intelligent, data-led analytics into accelerated marketing strategies that champion the customer and their experience with media and brands. What started in a garage as a simple operation to digitally transform letterbox almost 20 years ago, has today become a bunker of data scientists and marketing wizards. “At ReachMedia we knew a long time ago that offline channels would fast be on the back foot to digital due to their lack of hard measurement ability,” says Abernethy.

By aggregating billions of data points, ReachMedia helps marketers better understand New Zealand households, their spending habits, digital behaviour, and geographic movements to determine when and how they interact with media. “We are in a unique position to combine the power of offline and online strategies to meet buyers where they ‘hang out’. It’s the most potent strategy and one that’s not currently answered in the New Zealand market. We now have so much data and insight into how shoppers shop and the dynamic nature of how they gather information that our solutions align perfectly to benefit shoppers and brands alike.”

Abernethy says that this data-driven approach allows them to leverage their in-house data science services to get mailers to the right households depending on the brand’s audience. “Combining offline with online by using retargeting of letterbox offers with mobile advertising and the like, data and technology underpins the ReachMedia offering. From measurement and accountability to proprietary software to drive online experiences from printed material – it’s never one or the other. It’s making sure each channel supports and compliments the other, making it work harder and driving greater ROI and accountability,” Abernethy explains.

This coupled with smart use of technologies such as their GPS walker app, which enables the most accountable delivery performance metrics in the market, makes ReachMedia’s offering unique to the New Zealand market. 

With some of New Zealand’s largest retailers – K-mart, Harvey Norman, Noel Leeming – including ReachMedia’s smart letterbox as a key part of their marketing mix, Abernethy says that the company is here to raise the bar for what effective letterbox marketing can be. “From a marketer or business owners’ perspective, there is more pressure than ever before to justify spend and have it show up as sales and revenue. Our abilities to give insights to audiences means businesses can make informed decisions more confidently. There isn’t really a better user experience than that when you’re trying to grow your business.

“At our core though, this is a journey about great people and great solutions. The culture is shifting and we’re fostering a very creative, empowered team of good humans to deliver innovative answers to our customers’ growth goals. We help speed up the purchase processes and generally, make life easier for buyers and marketing spend more justified for marketers.”

Being big believers in the power of their own marketing strategy, obviously, the company is about to launch their own campaign that spans both digital and letterbox/direct mail realms – offering businesses the opportunity to apply the same strategy to lift performance and drive revenue. “We’ll be speaking to business owners and marketers via a letterbox/PO Box piece as well as reinforcing our messages on social media, Google and email marketing. We have some select partners for parts of this picture, but our own offering covers letterbox, direct mail and mobile marketing,” Abernethy says.

Humble in his approach to business, Abernethy is certainly not humble about the fact that they are the only marketing business in New Zealand that does what they do. He believes that smart marketers and business owners understand this offline/online customer buying picture and the intricacies of how it all needs to hang together – especially when it comes to measurement, results and ROI. But he’s not resting on his laurels waiting for someone else to catch up. 

“Innovation is in the coffee at ReachMedia. We basically become viewed as a partner for growth by our customers and our footprint across New Zealand means we’re supporting local communities through the employment of our distribution team of around 3,500 Kiwis and I am really proud of that.” 


ReachMedia have also developed the market-leading audience measurement system for OOH media in New Zealand – Calibre. Blending mobile location data with traffic counts, purchasing data and segmentation variables, Calibre provides reach, frequency and audience enrichment for out of
home campaigns. 

Commissioned by JCDecaux and made available to the wider industry, since 2017 the Calibre platform has provided simplicity, efficiency and accountability to out of home planning for media owners and agencies. “It would be fair to say that pivoting into audience measurement for OOH media seemed a left-field decision to some at the time,” Abernethy says.

“A number of years on, it’s one of the smartest things we’ve done. The reality is that we’re uniquely positioned to partner with outdoor media providers. We have decades of experience as a media channel provider, relationships with many of the same agencies and direct clients, plus an established data science capability built around understanding and optimising real-world audiences. That is a combination that isn’t available anywhere else.”

This article was originally published in the June/July 2020 issue of NZ Marketing. Click here to subscribe.

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About Bernadette Basagre

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles, The Register and Idealog. To get in touch with her, email [email protected].

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