The United Kingdom’s postcode system may seem like a bunch of letters and numbers to an outside observer. But to a growth-minded marketer, the jumbled letters and numbers represent an intricate matrix of potential.
There are 1.6 million active postcodes in the United Kingdom. On average, each postcode equates to 20 households, 30 adults, or 40 people. For comparison’s sake, the United States is much more complex; each postcode area has 10,000 people living within it.
According to Ian Goodliffe, Senior Location Planning Specialist at Pintarget, the UK’s small postcode areas can help marketers be more laser-focused in their target marketing of customers.
He joined the What’s Possible Community sessions to provide clarity on why marketers should be harnessing the power of postcodes.
“A postcode in the UK can sometimes be an individual street or part of a street,” Goodliffe stated. “As a result, much can be collected when sifting through postcode data. If postcodes have not featured in a brand’s marketing strategy in the past, they may become a primary focus in the future.”
Why is that?
“In the next year, I think we are going to see the complete demise of cookie data. Clients have traditionally really relied on this to target people by their demographics, specific locations and other variables,” says Rachel Hall, Group Director of Pintarget.
Without cookie data, Hall says, brands will have to relook at what data they can access and believe the most valuable data will be the goldmine of information within postcodes.
And, of course, COVID.
For typically retail-focused brands, seeing in-store traffic drop was a very swift reality check. Hall says this led to the 80% of in-store sales falling to 20%. Marketers have, in the last year and a half, had to change strategies and speak to their customers where they are: at home.
“There has been a huge shift to digital transformation,” Hall highlighted. “McKinsey, right at the start of COVID, said that within three months there had been this digital transformation that was equivalent to what you would normally see in ten years“.
What’s in a postcode?
While some customers are shopping from home, some have changed their habits and are now shopping more locally. According to Hall, postcode data can be valuable for finding the hotspot areas of a particular geographic area.
“You can identify individual postcodes and isolate the specific audiences that you need to target and, therefore, the ability to reduce wastage in terms of more general media spend,” Ian remarked.
“If you aim at this target using ACORN, and using populations, it becomes a much richer and more targeted approach to marketing“.
The experts at Pintarget also note that one great benefit of the postcode data analysis for marketers – aside from telling them who their customers are – is that it will inform them of who their customers aren’t.
Hall notes that this very targeted approach, particularly for e-commerce clients, will help them identify the correct areas to pick, which will help their company scale most efficiently and engineer dynamic growth for the brand.
Marketers’ can speak to customers in various ways according to their geographic requirements while utilising the latest mediums, platforms, and technologies that were typically only available to huge corporations with national marketing campaign strategies.
“There have been massive advancements over the last ten years. The digital revolution has affected the media world. It’s now possible to use any medium that we have previously used nationally in a very targeted way – which is fantastic. It is a hugely amazing opportunity for smaller brands,” Hall notes.
No 18-year-old is the same
Marketers have traditionally defined people by their age and their demographics, Hall comments.
“If you look at an 18-year-old who lives in Stoke and an 18-year-old who lives in London or Bristol, all of them will be completely different,” she explains. “They will all have completely different interactions with brands based on who lives around them, the retail opportunities they have, the leisure facilities they have, the schools that are available to them. All of those things will affect who they are and who they become“.
Consequently, marketing campaigns need to become more focused and targeted, considering how nuanced an individual customer in a particular geography is.
Rachel’s recommendation to growth-minded marketers who are looking to speak directly to their customers at an incredibly targeted level is:
- Be honest with yourself about the data you have
- Get someone to audit it
- Do a test and learn campaign with the data. It’s not expensive, and most importantly, it is measurable
- Don’t underestimate the power of the postcode