We've also put your Marketing questions to Emma Springham (Group Marketing & Brand Director). Here are her replies:
Why is there no TV or national advertising to tell the public that they can use the Post Office to do a lot of their banking?
Advertising awareness for our banking services has proved to be most effective through branches and word of mouth. In branch we support with posters and leaflets. We have used radio, press and outdoor/bus shelters along with cinema advertising too and they help increase awareness, but regular local visibility is the most effective and cost effective way to drive awareness and usage. We do include Banking Services regularly in our monthly e-newsletter.
Advertising the brand and its services on an ongoing basis can be costly in the short term and requires longer term sustained investment. We focus marketing investment on a number of other cost-efficient channels (social media, customer emails and internet searches) across the year to drive customer action and increase reach.
Are we going to improve our social media and use it to drive customer attitude. CV-19 has shown is how easily people can be influenced. I would really like to see POL, RM and the greeting card companies to try and change people’s attitude to the written word encourage people to write letters and card.
We've invested additional resources in social media to support building customer satisfaction in addition to promoting the services we continuously provide. A joint initiative with the Royal Mail and Ebay developed useful tips to small businesses. More is being done and we'll continue to share these on One website.
Social media represents a significant opportunity for us. We're updating social media guidelines and training, in addition to investing in creating social media material for you to use. We encourage everyone to use social media. You can access our social media resources, including guidelines and draft posts and images promoting products and services here, https://www.onepostoffice.co.uk/toolkits
As social distancing will quite possibly remain until Christmas and beyond, should POL start their Christmas campaign early, informing customers to post early and possibly expect longer serving/wait times due to social distancing?
A working group has been setup to develop and deliver the strategy and plan for Christmas. We will focus customers' attention on key dates and timescales for posting, as well as provide helpful messages that enable them to get things done in branches swiftly. These plans are in development now, along with consideration on how we'll manage customer expectations during the busy Christmas period.
We need more digital info for our social media platforms – what is post office doing to help us?
Thanks. Social media represents a significant opportunity for us. We're updating social media guidelines and training, in addition to investing in creating social media material for you to use. If there are product and services posts you would like to see created centrally please let us know via email firstname.lastname@example.org, and as usual, the team will assess popular requests made by postmasters and get these produced so you can share on social media.
When will POL start a campaign to help customers understand the difference between Post Office and Royal Mail?
We sell many of Royal Mail's products and services, and owing to our long history with them, it is understandable that customers continue to see the connection between Royal Mail and Post Office. For the majority of customers, accessing Royal Mail is done through Post Office. As our range of other services become better understood and utilised, the differences between the two brands will become clearer.
We also have limited marketing budgets so we need to use that sensibly and rather than pushing and promoting that we’re different businesses, it’s important we focus on promoting the products and services that can help customers and drive sales. However, we are working with the PR team to explore PR initiatives that could help explain to customers the difference between POL and RM and how we work together.
Why don’t we advertise our Services on TV to connect people with an up to date picture of what services we provide?
This is an interesting question as we get so much mixed feedback from postmasters. Some say we don’t spend enough time and money on social media advertising, others say we don’t spend on TV advertising. One thing we do know is that Television advertising can be costly in the short term and requires longer term sustained investment. We focus marketing investment on a number of other channels across the year to drive customer action. Just to give further context TV advertising would cost c. £8m of sustained investment to be effective, supported by other media channels such as press or radio. One integrated campaign would require a minimum investment of c. £2m. That is a lot of money!
Could consideration be given to running a tutorial on maximising how we in branch use social media with some practical live example?
Social Media Guidelines and Training were developed and we began talking to branches taking part in a project the Retail and Network team were running. This was all put on pause during covid-19. We're updating these guidelines and training following feedback, and will share more on this in September.
Why do we get the items for display in our post office after the display date?
Although the vast majority of display materials are delivered into the network in advance of the campaign / offer start date, we realise that this is not always the case, and we're trying to minimise point of sale materials landing in branch after the go live date by setting up a new annual planning process.
For marketing and developing our business it would be a massive boost if we all engaged with social media. To achieve this Post Office WiFi in every branch would be the catalyst. Customers walking in to branches would receive a ping on their phone asking if they wish to connect to free Post Office WiFi. This would direct them to our home page and current messages.
Thanks, we agree social media is a powerful tool. We ran a trial of installing free Post Office WiFi in 25 selected branches in 2015, unfortunately the usage of the service by customers was low and not cost effective.