Category Archive: Insight

  1. Print Item of the Month – October

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    Greggs and Just Eat roll out doordrop  

    Print Item of the Month for October goes to Greggs in collaboration with Just Eat. This eye catching die cut doordrop really got our taste buds tingling at Dragonfly, I mean, who doesn’t love a Greggs sausage roll? And to have it delivered direct through our letterbox grabbed our attention more than ever.

    Advertising their new partnership with Just Eat, Greggs have created this brilliant die cut doordrop featuring their signature sausage roll to entice customers to continue purchasing their baked favourites through restaurant delivery group Just Eat. Even though many people are still confined to being at home and can’t visit stores, this clever mailing advertises easy home delivery of your favourite baked goodies. The image really did look good enough to eat! Paired with the snappy tag line “Let the good times roll” and a highly incentivised offer of £1.99 (including delivery), what’s not to love about this doordrop?

    Did you know die-cutting is a very effective way to get very creative quickly, easily and cost effectively! You can print any image, be it your brands logo or a specific picture or shape like we saw Alzheimer’s Research UK do with their recent die cut orange. Die cutting is created by using a sharp steel blade to cut through the paper or card into your desired shape. It can be used for unforgettable promos, invitations, announcements, and customised campaigns.

    The only way this doordrop could have been better would have been if it was scented! Although, we would feel sorry for the postie as they’d be hungry all day smelling this delicious mail piece.

    If you would like to discuss how we could help you make the most of a die cut campaign in your next direct marketing project, then please get in touch. Our creative juices are already flowing!

  2. What printed channels are thriving in a COVID world?

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    2020 has proven to be one of the greatest obstacle courses of our lifetime. It’s been one hurdle after another with many sectors facing constant adversity, redundancies, store closures, reduced budgets, huge increases in demands for services such as charities, amongst a host of other services. In an ever changing landscape, it has proven extremely difficult for brands to plan their marketing campaigns but amongst all the grey clouds, direct mail and door drops have proven to be the real silver lining delivering some incredible results when businesses really needed them.

    COVID really has changed our habits both in business and as consumers. A huge 41% of consumers when asked, said that lockdown has made them realise how important mail is to them. This figure has been recognised and mirrored by brands with an equal 41% sending out more mail to consumers.

    Back in March when COVID first hit, the UK Government chose door drop as the preferred channel to deliver and amplify its message surrounding safety measures and local restrictions. There’s just no questioning it, direct mail and door drop are highly trusted channels when compared to social media and emails which are so often plagued with “fake” news.

    The latest JICMAIL (Joint Industry Committee for Mail) data confirms just how well received printed channels have been when they released their Q2 findings. Direct mail interactions were up an impressive 16% compared to this time last year, but this was nothing compared to its chart topping neighbour, the door drop. In the UK market, door drop interaction increased by a whopping 45%. At a time when health was high on many of our agendas, direct mail saw the largest increase in the medical sector up 11% to 5.02 interactions on average. Just as important, the item reach also increased by 9% to 1.23 as respondents were sharing mail with others within the home. As an example, if the NHS mailed out 1,000,000 packs to individuals at the height of the pandemic, it would have in fact reached 1,230,000 individuals and generated over 5,000,000 impressions.

    Beyond the Government and Health categories, interaction rates with mail have increased across almost all categories across lockdown:

    • Telco DM average frequency increased by +21% as households turned to more entertainment
    • There was a 23% increase for travel and tourism DM reflecting perhaps, the disruption to holiday plans
    • And utility providers benefited from 14% rise in their average frequency

    If your brand needs help accessing and understanding these incredible channels in more detail, our fantastic team are here and ready to support you on this journey. Contact us anytime on and together, we can explore how these channels can deliver for you.

    Sources: Royal Mail MarketReach – Mail matters more than ever, JICMail Q2 2020 figures

  3. The biggest challenges facing charities right now

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    It goes without saying that recent years have not been kind to the charity sector. There was GDPR in 2018 which left many brands without most, if not all, of their prospect database. Various negative stories circulated about misconduct and financial mismanagement and then 2020 of course brought COVID-19 to the table. It really has been a turbulent time and it would seem it will be a long road back to “normality”.

    The perennial hurdle of fundraising will always be one of the biggest hurdles faced by any charity. Many charity leaders reported huge increase in demand for their services putting even more pressure on to secure funding to cover this extra demand. There have also been huge job losses estimated to be around 60,000 in total across the UK alone. So a higher demand for services and less amazing people fundraising/providing services, putting huge strain on an already hard working and dedicated sector.

    A resounding 85% of charities expect COVID-19 to have a negative financial impact on their brands. The projected figure is an eye watering £12.4bn shortfall in income and charities will receive 29% less income than budgeted for. Despite government initiatives like the kickback campaign, smaller charities are finding it extremely difficult to take advantage as it requires 30 applicants minimum so they are forced to try and apply together which isn’t guaranteed to be available to all.

    It’s not all doom and gloom though. At The Dragonfly Agency, we have seen numerous good news stories lately where charities are seeing huge uplifts against projected ROI on campaigns and proving just how generous we are in the UK even in these difficult times. If you’d like to know how your brand can still be marketing and generating huge ROI despite all of the above, please feel free to get in touch with the team on, we would love to provide a FREE consultation and bring some incredible opportunities to life.

    Sources: IoF (Industry of Fundraising), Pro Bono Economics and Charity Finance Group

  4. JICMAIL: How The Dragonfly Agency used JICMAIL to improve donor recruitment with Direct Mail

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    The Challenge

    To be able to continue to fulfil their purpose, charities must continue to grow their donor database. One charity working with The Dragonfly Agency needed to develop a strategy that would deliver more donors and raise much needed funds. A key issue was that their database had a mix of ages and demographics with no clear-cut target audience for new donor recruitment. This made it difficult to define personas and an ideal prospect profile requiring a fresh approach to identifying new prospects.

    This charity also used digital as their default communication channel and they had a preconception that mail was an expensive method of recruiting new supporters. Dragonfly recognised the need to address this bias and adopt a more omnichannel approach as they set out to help the charity client achieve their acquisition goals.

    The Approach

    Dragonfly drew upon their experience and expertise in charity recruitment and marketing communications, supported by the relevant JICMAIL data, to craft their recommendations. JICMAIL was used at multiple points in their planning cycle:
    1) Dragonfly used JICMAIL data to uncover the hidden target audiences that would be receptive to charity direct mail. JICMAIL showed potential target audiences for these mailings including:

    45-54 year olds – This cohort shows an average frequency or number of interactions of 5.2 times for typical charity DM but receive less mail than average making them a potentially receptive audience
    • Male audience – Male audiences also receive less ‘request for donation’ mail but show a high interaction level of 5.19 times per item, again making them a high potential new donor audience
    • ‘Domestic Success’ Mosaic category – This Mosaic type has an interaction of 6.35 showing a high level of interaction while again receiving less mail than average.

    2) The JICMAIL data set was also used to show how for these audiences, the tangible nature of mail had a role to play in providing cut-through. For example, 81% of people who received a request for donation, opened the pack and 16% of people who opened the ‘request for donation’ mail pack made a donation.

    3) JICMAIL also provided essential new schedule delivery metrics for the client. By using the JICMAIL campaign calculator, Dragonfly demonstrated how the reach and frequency delivered from small scale test volumes delivered significant campaign impressions for new audiences. The Domestic Success MOSAIC group data set shows a 1.06 reach and 5.68 frequency figure, and when combined, this means a mailing of 4,500 items provides 26,181 opportunities for the proposition to be seen, whilst reinforcing the brand and highlighting the call to action – in this case, a request for a donation.

    4) The agency took these insights into developing testing recommendations which looked to integrate mail into a multi-channel mix. The test campaign was planned across distinct phases with the use of mail designed to be integrated with not just comms, but with all other marketing efforts. Initially, the charity purchased cold data for the identified new prospects and sent these recipients a donation request carefully designed to appeal to that audience. They then reconnected with the same audience 3 months later by sending a follow up mail pack, after carrying out some local events and face-to-face marketing. After the second mail campaign, an email was then sent which replicated the donation request.

    The Outcome

    The test was continuously monitored for performance against the pre-set campaign KPIs. The details remain confidential, but the test was a great success exceeding both client and agency expectations. For example, the initial response to the cold mailing was in itself, encouraging at c1%, but what was most significant was the effect of the second mailing in warming up the prospects, and supported by email, providing the final trigger to respond.

    This omni-channel approach helped convert more prospects and achieved a higher average donation amount, beating the test KPI’s by 28%. The client was delighted by the outcomes and Dragonfly were also pleased to see how their use of JICMAIL insight helped the client re-appraise the outcomes they could achieve by including the mail channel into their digitally driven solutions.

    For Dragonfly, they have been enthusiastic adopters of JICMAIL across their clients, confident that JICMAIL provides essential and objective channel data that supports their expertise and value they bring to clients.

    “We have been huge advocates of JICMAIL for some time. Having the resources to substantiate the logic is a game changer for our industry. It’s superb when we can share this insight with our clients to improve their communication strategy, which in turn means they raise more essential funds. We apply JICMAIL metrics and insight in to all our client’s

    Isla Munro, Managing Director, The Dragonfly Agency

  5. Print Item of the Month – September

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    Alzheimer’s Research UK

    Alzheimer’s has been widely talked about online recently, with many charities, celebrities and other companies trying to spread awareness and get people talking about this horrific disease.

    When we saw a Facebook advert from Alzheimer’s Research UK offering us more information around this cruel disease we could not resist signing up for all the details. The pack arrived promptly and is filled with lots of lots great materials which really made us stop and take notice.

    What made the mailing so special?

    Alzheimer’s Research UK  have opted for something different. It is often said that charity mail can follow the same format and therefore get lost amongst other mail, which is why it is vital to mix it up and stand out from the crowd. Alzheimer’s Research UK did exactly this by choosing to include a die cut orange in their pack alongside their letter, info pack and newsletter. This immediately sparked an interest in what the relevance of an orange was in relation to Alzheimer’s Research UK.

    The idea behind the orange is that a person’s brain who suffers with the disease weighs up to 140g less than an average person, about the weight of an orange. This message was incredibly hard hitting and brought home the impact and disadvantage of people suffering from alzheimer’s. What’s more, the link between the orange and the original Facebook advert is linked by the hashtag #sharetheorange. People are asked to share the misconceptions surrounding alzheimer’s via their social media accounts, and help build hope and understanding.

    We love to see charities exploring the creative side of print, like die cutting. There is a misunderstanding that these added extras can cost a lot of money, however, it is something that can be done at very little cost and really adds something exciting to your mail pack. A die cut piece can even be used as a postcard mailing or door drop, not costing much more than your standard A6 postcard, but will really add value and stand out on someone’s doorstep!

    This was a fantastic piece of mail to receive and the message of “Ok, let’s talk dementia” has clearly worked because here we are, talking about dementia.

    If you would like to talk about using direct mail or door drop to communicate your message, especially with Christmas fast approaching, we would love to chat:

  6. How catalogues still perform as part of a multi-channel mix

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    Printed catalogues have been a trusted method of marketing for years. In fact, the first mail order catalogue was published in Britain 350 years ago! They really have stood the test of time and even today, they still bring so many incredible attributes to the table.

    Whether you are a mail order, retail or e-commerce brand, catalogues offer an incredible opportunity to not only showcase your product portfolio, but also provide your customers with something tangible to generate the kind of emotions that email marketing can only dream of.

    The stats for catalogue engagement really do speak for themselves:

    • 73% of users performed an action after receiving a catalogue
    • 52% say they buy more than originally intended when shopping from a printed catalogue
    • 49% visited the sender’s website
    • 40% went on to make a purchase

    Unlike online experiences, a catalogue is an incredible method of getting your customer’s/prospect’s undivided attention. No pop-up ads, no spam. Just them and the catalogue…and maybe a cup of tea.

    Some catalogues we especially love here at Dragonfly include The White Company which almost always includes a money off voucher, Joules who showcase gorgeous seasonal wardrobe ideas, Cox & Cox with their breath-taking eclectic furniture and homeware range, William Powell boasts an incredible range of high end men’s and women’s sporting goods, HSL always impresses with impeccable photography of their quality handmade furniture and Sarah Raven that is guaranteed to provide inspirational gardening tips and a stunning product range.

    If you need support in either designing, printing or mailing your next catalogue, please feel free to contact us and our incredible team will be there to support you.

    *Sources: Royal Mail MarketReach, Growing your business with Catalogues, 2017

  7. How to get started with data-driven direct marketing

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    How to get started with data-driven direct marketing

    We all know that the start of any great direct mail campaign is data. An organisation’s database is a wealth of opportunity and using it efficiently can really take your campaign up to the next level. Nathan Rose, Client Relationship Manager at DBS Data explains to us how to get the most out of your data.

    Author: Nathan Rose, Client Relationship Manager at DBS Data

    You have made an excellent decision to focus on direct marketing (DM). Right now it is one of the most productive and cost effective ways to connect with existing and new customers. In fact, some organisations are recording some of the highest response and conversion rates I have seen, in more than ten years I have spent working in the data-driven marketing industry.

    In recent months we have seen a significant spike in the number of organisations choosing to invest in DM campaigns, notably charities so hard hit during the lockdown, as well as organisations serving the property sector, spurred on by the market’s response to reductions in stamp duty.

    We all get excited by the creative aspects of  DM, after all it is the visual that starts to bring a campaign to life. Much emphasis is also placed upon finding the right print management agency to fulfil the mailing, and you will find yourself in safe hands with Dragonfly. However, the unsung and often forgotten element for those new to DM is the lifeblood of any campaign – data.

    The old adage of ‘garbage in garbage out’ could have been coined for DM. Put simply, better quality data will deliver higher open rates and greater conversions. However, to the uninitiated data-driven marketing can be perceived at one end of the spectrum as a simple ‘mail merge’, whilst at the other a mysterious black art (it is true that to get good data you need a mix of art and science). But, essentially every good data-driven DM campaign begin with the same two questions:

    1. What do I want to gain from this campaign?
    2. What do I know about my customers that can help me achieve this result?

    You may hold data that tells you the name, contact information and purchase history, but to truly know your customers you need to understand what motivates them to the triggers that will cause them to respond in the way you wish. Such information includes:

    • What are the age and genders of your customers?
    • Where are most of your customers located?
    • What is their home ownership status?
    • Do they live alone, as a couple or have dependents?
    • What is their average affluence?
    • What types of charities do they donate to?

    Knowing more about your customers enables you to create a blueprint that can in turn be used to find look-a-likes that are likely to respond favourably to your mailing. Our team of data experts at DBS use our B2C Data Universe, dbsLifebase, which gives them access to more than 350 lifestyle, transactional and demographic data sources, for more than 35 million UK individuals, in 21 million households. We cleanse, verify, and enhance your data with the information we identify that you need to make the campaign a success. This includes updating names changed by marriage/partnership, suppressing records of the deceased, and ensuring correct address information. Did you know that as many as seven million people change their address every year in the UK? We then add new records to provide an enriched, expanded and highly targeted prospect database.      

    Time is of the essence if you are wanting to turnaround a campaign quickly and steal a march on the competition, or take advantage of fast-moving market conditions. So, you may be surprised to learn that this vital piece of work is usually completed in less than five working days, from the initial exploratory call, through to the delivery of the new database.

    Even if you have not had prior experience of purchasing data services you will undoubtedly be aware of the strict rules that have been in place since May 2018 regarding the use of personal data (the Data Protection Act, PECR and the EU GDPR). It is vitally important that you do your due diligence before selecting a company that you will share data with and that will provide you with data. Compliance and ethical practice are at the heart of everything we do at DBS, and we have been audited and are recognised by our trade body, the Data & Marketing Association (DMA).

    If this all sounds great so far, you still maybe thinking “But how much does this all cost?” You will perhaps be pleasantly surprised that when you factor in the cost of the campaign – designing the creative pack, print and mailing costs – data represents a small percentage. It can also save money on wasted mailing, as you can be sure that every pack will land on the right doorstep. Of course, there are ways of getting costs even lower, through the use of what is known as Partially Addressed Mail. However, I would argue that the savings would look less attractive if you A+B tested two campaigns. 

    My final piece of advice is that whilst data-driven marketing will deliver impressive results for isolated campaigns, to get the best possible returns it should become an intrinsic part of the marketing programme. The end of every campaign presents an opportunity to reflect and analyse in granular detail the open rates and conversions, and refine the process before going again.

    Nathan Rose, Client Relationship Manager at DBS Data
  8. Print Item of the Month – August

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    Jo Malone – “Lost in Wonder” mail pack

    Occasionally, one of those direct mail packs comes along that simply takes your breath away. Our print item of the month for September did just that, and so much more.

    This truly irresistible mailing from the team at Jo Malone advertises their latest “Lost in Wonder” collection and encapsulates their brand image perfectly. The whole peace oozes sophistication and class. Stunning photography taken from their “Fig Love” story, along with a luxury uncoated letterhead, insert and show stopping textured outer envelope really does captivate and seduce you from the very beginning, as the pack takes you on a mesmerising story of their latest collection. The piece even includes a solid favourite of ours at Dragonfly, a 2D barcode. Allowing the reader to quickly transition from the mail pack, to the online store and continue their experience before the inevitable purchase. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t after receiving this?

    Included inside the mailing were two samples of their latest seasonal scents, meaning all the recipients’ senses were engaged in the mail piece.

    Our favourite quote from “Fig Love” is “Said to be the world’s oldest planted tree, the fig tree. The season for the tree’s bounty is, however, fleeting– a moment of perfection, condensed and concentrated. A succulent pearl in nature’s treasure trove that few can resist.” Like the fig, most readers won’t resist the temptation to purchase after receiving this treasure of a pack. 

    We love nothing more than reviewing some of the finest direct mail in the market. If you would like to discuss how to engage your audience through mail please get int touch, we would love to help.

  9. Creating the perfect Christmas direct mail campaign

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    With Christmas being the busiest and most pivotal time of the year for many brands, drawing together the perfect Christmas direct mail campaign is no small feat. However, there has never been a better time to send direct mail than right now. The latest JICMAIL Q2 2020 findings show that addressed direct mail has driven incredible results recently, as you will see below.

    • Reach – 1.14 (Up 2% year on year)
    • Frequency – 4.58 (Up 11% year on year)
    • Lifespan – 8.5 days (Up 9% year on year)

    In a nutshell, now is the perfect time to plan your Christmas campaign and make sure you get your message into your customers hands and cut through the noise. The key essentials for your direct mail campaign will include:

    • An incentive that’s too good to miss
    • A call to action to drive customers online
    • The right timing
    • Identifying the right printed format


    Without a doubt, the incentive is the most important part of the campaign. Without an attention-grabbing offer, it could be over before it has even started. It’s essential to make your offer irresistible. Offering £10 off a £2,000 sofa isn’t really going to whet your customer’s appetite, so make sure that the incentive is relative to what you are selling and something that your customer simply cannot refuse. It is also vitally important that your incentive stands out. Make sure that your incentive is in a large font and strategically placed in key areas, like on your envelope or the front page of your brochure. Using special finishes like foil blocking and high gloss UV varnishes can also provide an additional luxury punch.

    Drive customers online using a clear call to action (CTA)

    Now you have your prospect’s attention, you need to drive that all-important response. This can be done in a few ways. One of our favourites is a QR code. Technology surrounding these 2D little wonders has progressed a lot since they first burst onto the scene in 1994. Simply using the camera on your smart phone, scanning a QR code can instantly direct your prospect customer to your website or a specific product and really increase the overall experience by taking things multi-channel. It’s also an incredibly speedy way of transporting customers to the target product almost instantly, making the end purchase so much easier to complete. QR codes are the easiest way of getting people to a webpage. QR codes are on the comeback right now and proving a very useful way of taking customers on a multi-channel journey and tracking their actions.

    Timing it right

    Timing is everything. Each component of your strategy needs to work in time with its complementary components. Make sure your mailing is going out at the right time, so it reaches people’s homes at the same time the rest of your campaign has gone live. This will help people recognise your brand, and you’ll stand out from the crowd. If you’re sending a follow up email, make sure you’ve given them an appropriate amount of time to engage with their mail first. Consumers are more likely to engage with an email if they have received a mail piece first – in fact the uplift is up to 44% more (Source Royal Mail). If you’ve included a call to action to go online to a specific URL, or to use a code, make sure those components are already functioning before you mail those pieces. Without accurate timing in place, your omni-channel strategy will fall flat.

    Don’t forget, people start preparing for Christmas as early as now (yes, September!), so get ahead of the competition and in the fore front of your consumers minds early. Kick start the season of giving and goodwill with festive offers, vouchers, incentives and rewards.

    Identifying the right format

    Choosing the right format for your Christmas campaign is just as important as the incentive and CTA. Your story is a vital reason your customers engage with you so telling it in the right way can have an incredible result on your ROI. Tell it wrong however, and it could be lights out for your campaign. Ensure creative has the right flow to take your prospect on a journey to ultimately making a purchase. A nice simple Christmas leaflet can be used for a short, snappy message and alternatives like brochures can be used for a much more in-depth, rich story and generate different emotions.


    These are our top tips for creating your next incredible Christmas campaign. If you need further advice or support, please get in touch with our fantastic Dragonfly team @ or 0131 272 2747, we’d love to help you make this Christmas a real knockout.

  10. What does the future look like for direct mail?

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    Posting letters has been an integral part of communication ever since Royal Mail was created back in 1516. Putting a letter, postcard, or small parcel into one of the UK’s iconic red pillar boxes has been instrumental in keeping people, communities, friends, and colleagues connected throughout the years. It was no surprise then that when a global pandemic hit, companies as well as individuals relied on these traditional methods to keep people connected, information shared and spirits high.

    Many brands use direct mail as part of their marketing mix as a safe and trustworthy way to communicate with their customers, and more so than ever whilst we have all been at home, mail has been there to support us.

    But what does the future of direct mail look like and what do we think marketing and decision makers in business will do with mail in the future? Will the way we produce mail change? Will more marketing budget be allocated to mailing campaigns? What does offline marketing mean for online marketing and vice versa? How will mailings affect the environment?

    In this blog we share some of our Dragonfly direct mail and marketing insights and predictions with you.

    How will the way we produce mail change?

    We don’t think the actual method of mail production will change but the attitude towards mail certainly has.  As things around the world are evolving so quickly and will be evolving quickly for some time to come, then a much speedier approach will be required from getting an idea of a mail piece off the drawing board and onto a printing press. We imagine there will be even more of a need for quick to market mail pieces, like regional information updates via doordrops or enticing business recovery incentives to drive people in store or online by an eye catching mail pack.

    We believe as the months go on, that there will be an even bigger appreciation of direct mail, discovered during our time at home as we think more consumers will have been turned off by digital communication and will suffer online fatigue. It’s been a great time for companies to reflect and come up with new creative ideas that can be created from print in order to hold onto existing customers and attract new ones, which in this market is vital to stay ahead of the game.

    How can direct mail work with new and old customers during COVID?

    We have already seen that there is more focus on communicating with existing customers and databases as these are a reliable and dependable source of income. They are also people that have been nurtured and invested in, so like a friend or family member you wouldn’t just give up on them during hard times. We don’t envisage a squeeze more out of you approach, but more portraying a positive “open for business” message through highly targeted direct mail campaigns. Images can speak a million words and there is no better way to communicate a lifestyle choice or charity appeal than through beautiful images printed on lovely paper.  

    Cold data is on the come back and with it a thirst for making the mail pack count.  Marketing teams want to see more creative thinking and analysis to show their budget has been well spent. As our lifestyles have been forced to change there is the opportunity to introduce new brands, services or charities to the right people who are interested to hear more.

    Brands will need to be sensitive in the way they approach customers and ensure that communications are meaningful and compliant so as not to impact their own brand image and look as if they are profiteering.

    How will the direct mail market change?

    We envisage marketing budgets may decrease in the short term which is not necessarily a bad thing.  Where there is less money to spend, but the same outcomes expected direct mail can shine as a low cost way of communicating to a highly targeted audience.  Positive messages can be portrayed by demonstrating the power of print and direct mail through examples of high ROI and even higher response rates. We think there will be a surge of “we’re back and ready to start living again” mailings from eager brands keen to put their best foot forward on the road to recovery.

    Mental health has been high on the agenda throughout the COVID uncertainty and we believe confident brands should continue to grow relationships with the consumer – a simple “hello, how are you, we’re thinking of you” mailing can make the world of difference to someone and will be remembered long after it has landed on the doormat.

    We believe more than ever that in the last five months people have come to rely on and see the value in the postal service. We hope as a result companies will continue to invest and use print as a method to communicate. Hopefully, it will be seen as a more responsive market by marketeers – especially those who have already embraced a mind shift in the work from home culture as we see more people staying at home or hot desking.

    If you would like to discuss your next direct mail or marketing campaign, please contact us here

  11. What are QR codes and why do you need to include one in your mail piece now?

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    QR codes have made a come back! The best paper based hyper links are driving amazing results from the tap of a button from any printed marketing – flyers, direct mail, door drops, posters, invitations, catalogues, statements, brochures… the list goes on.

    We already know mail drives people online, but in this quick and easy way, consumers no longer need to type in a URL code, instead they simply point their camera at a QR code which triggers a digital action or connected experience. What’s not to love.

    What is a QR Code?

    QR (abbreviated from Quick Response) codes are matrix barcodes that contain machine readable data and information. Traditionally a collection of black squares arranged on a white grid, the QR code has now taken on a variety of new looks and designs to bring it up to speed for the modern consumer.

    There is now no need for a third-party app to be downloaded in order to use a QR code anymore. Consumers use their smart phone camera to scan the barcode which in turn drives them straight to a website, social media platform or landing page.

    How can you use a QR code?

    QR codes can be printed on practically anything to drive digital actions, payments and experiences. It is a a wonderful way of connecting the real and digital world seamlessly.

    The speed from using a QR code can coax interested prospects further down the conversion funnel with little delay or effort, bringing your customer directly to your doorstep from one simple swipe.

    What could a QR code link to?

    Add a QR code to your mail pack to share information, ideas, or pictures across a whole array of campaigns including:

    • Charity and fundraising appeals
    • Special offers
    • Product launches
    • Product tracking and delivery
    • Contact information
    • Competition details
    • Event invitations
    • Social media accounts – Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, Instagram
    • YouTube video links
    • General marketing

    What are the benefits of using a QR code?

    • Tracking and attribution like never before – see how many people have scanned your code and at what time of day is most popular for gaining business leads or conversions
    • Drive brand awareness to your dedicated website or landing page and track the data held within the QR code
    • Inform and educate audiences quickly about news, updates, charity appeals or fundraising initiatives
    • Save money on your postage. Include a QR code to your amil piece and you could be eligible for a Royal Mail incentive.

    If you would like to use a QR code in your next direct mail campaign then please give us a call or drop us a line, we’d love to help.

  12. Print Item of the Month – July

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    Our Print Item of the Month for July is slightly biased, but we chose a mail pack from the charity CHAS (Children’s Hospices Across Scotland) that we worked with them on. CHAS has always been a charity we have admired for their amazing work providing a full family support service for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions and it’s an honour to be working alongside them.

    As many people in the UK have realised, getting business back up and running is a fast paced and ever-changing process. People are struggling through, uncertain of what the future holds, and that includes the charity sector. Charities have been hit hard during this pandemic and not being able to carry out face-to-face fundraising has had a huge impact on donations. It’s a great sense of achievement when we can help charities get back on their feet by using direct mail and door drop.

    This pack from CHAS that we chose to be our winner this month ticked so many boxes for us. We are forever recommending ideas to improve clients’ mail pieces, whether that be through artwork, format, strategy or targeting so it’s music to our ears when a charity like CHAS have already adopted a lot of these suggestions that help the mailing reach its full potential.

    A postcard included in the pack

    The pack is centred around a little boy Jayden who very sadly, has an incredibly rare terminal disease called Tay Sachs which progressively destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Jayden’s image was consistent throughout the whole pack, including the BRE (Business Return Envelope) which is commonly the plainest part of a mail pack. By including his image on every item it created a constant reminder to the recipient what their money will go towards and how much it can help children and families like Jayden.

    The Business Return Envelope

    The cover letter/newsletter was a lovely A3 piece folded to A4 which had a very clear layout, the message was easy to understand and there was a strong call to action. CHAS had also incorporated their staple alphabet letters throughout the mailing to keep their branding in the recipient’s mind and consistent.

    The pack also included two postcards, one was a retention piece which was a thank you card from Jayden and included some more photos of him and the second postcard was for the recipient to write to Jayden and send it back in the return envelope. We thought this was such a lovely idea because not only does it drive engagement, but it will hopefully encourage people to include a donation within their return envelope along with their message to Jayden.

    The final element of the mailing that we really liked was on the return slip on the letter, which they chose to personalise with the recipient’s first name. We love personalisation, especially when it comes to appeals for donations because it makes the person feel valued and as if they are being spoken to on a personal level and therefore more likely to donate.

    If you would like to know more about how we can help you with a similarly fabulous direct mail pack or door drop then please get in touch.  

  13. Print Item of the Month – June

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    Kindness By PostMental Health Collective

    Our Print Item of the Month for June goes to Mental Health Collective for their Kindness By Post campaign. We believe it was one of the loveliest and most thoughtful ideas we have seen during lockdown. As we all grapple with the ‘new normal’ we find ourselves in, it is important to remember those that are on their own and likely feeling lonely and isolated. MHC came up with a fantastic project that enables strangers to exchange cards and letters with others across the UK with messages of goodwill.

    The concept is like a nationwide secret santa for random acts of kindness. The idea to circulate letters and cards around the country is such a great and creative idea to keep us all connected. The response has been phenomenal, even drawing attention from BBC Radio 2 and The Metro. MHC’s goal is to reduce loneliness, increase wellbeing, give a sense of belonging and increase hope.

    Their website says: “#KindnessbyPost is a national kindness exchange, where you sign up to post a card or letter with a message of encouragement to someone else in the UK, and have someone allocated to send some encouragement to you.” The 4 simple stages are sign up, get matched, send a letter and then receive one. Such a simple concept, yet so effective. The feedback from this campaign has been amazing and those involved have expressed the happiness and excitement it brought them.

    Some of the letters we received at Dragonfly included sunflower seeds, baking recipes and even some moisturiser samples! Not only was it such an uplifting thing to receive in the post, there was a considerable feeling of excitement amongst us waiting for our letter to arrive, which confirms the unrivalled value of mail! During this pandemic, it has been hard to find positives amongst all of the negative news but with charities like Mental Health Collective creating such a heart-warming movement, it has given people the lift they may have needed.

    You can join the Kindness By Post family where they will keep you updated on when the next exchange will be.

    If you’d like to hear more about our experience or how you can send some meaningful mail, the please get in touch

  14. 6 direct mail myths busted

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    Thank you to everyone who joined us for our first webinar where we busted 6 common myths around charity mailings. Isla and Cara were delighted to be joined by Ian Gibbs from JICMAIL and Stuart Payne from Gecko.  If you missed the webinar, don’t panic, we have the recording available. Please email and he’d be happy to send this across.

    Myth 1 – ROI from Direct Mail isn’t as good as from other channels

    Think again. The average charity pack is seen by 1.1 people, is interacted with on average 4.13 times and lasts around 6.89 days in the household. Think about that for a second…

    If you mailed 100,000 recipients. That’s 110,000 people reached and over 450,000 advertising impressions just for mailing 100,000 people. At 20p per mail pack, the cost per impression is around 4p

    Source: JICMAIL

    Myth 2 – My digitally savvy target audience don’t want to receive mail

    JICMAIL research shows, ABC 1 men between the ages of 35 – 54 are surprisingly under indexed when it comes to receiving mail, however, show high interaction rates. Also, 25 – 34 year olds have a lower index at 48 when it comes to receiving mail, yet they engage with a pack on average 3 times. Some pretty impressive evidence when you think that on average an email is deleted within 2 seconds.

    Using catalogues as part of your mail pack can also generate on average 4.5 interactions per month and with a lifespan of 6.89 days is in the household it too stays around and is reengaged with a lot longer than email.

    Myth 3 – Digital marketing is quicker

    The process of creating a piece of direct mail is very similar to that of email. Utilising the right methods, automating processes and agreeing SLA’s, mail can easily be turned around in 24/48 hours and on door mats within 72 hours. It then has the potential to stay in the house on average over 6 days! Imagine the potential in that time and the impact it could have on your brand.

    Myth 4 – Mail is not environmentally friendly

    Only 20% of wood harvested is used for pulp or paper. Paper is a uniquely renewable and sustainable product with European forests growing at a rate of 15 football pitches per day! In the last 10 years alone, they have grown by the equivalent to the size of Switzerland. That is sustainability for you right there.

    Source: Two Sides UK

    Myth 5 – Mail is expensive

    Impressions driven by charity direct mail are on average 4.13 per copy. Based on 1,000,000 packs, that’s 4,130,000 impressions generated and at 10p per pack for example, that’s around 2p per impression.

    Do you know how many impressions your direct mail is driving? If you’d like to find out, please get in touch with

    Myth 6 – GDPR means you can’t mail anyone anymore

    We can still mail! As long as your audience has a legitimate interest in what you have to say, the ICO say you can safely mail. If you’re still concerned about using personal data there are alternatives you can use to find those all important prospect customers.

    Partially Addressed Mail is an incredibly diverse and compliant way of mailing potential clients. Using your existing database, we can identify your ideal customer profile, then target like for like prospect customers in the UK with the highest propensity to spend. How do you do that you might ask? As you will be targeting at household level, there is no personal data used and fully GDPR compliant.

    If you’d like to know more about this incredibly diverse channel, we’d love to bring this to life for you. For a copy of the recording or to discuss your next direct marketing campaign, please contact Chris

  15. Best gifts to buy your dad

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    Best gifts to buy your dad

    Sunday 21 June is the day to show the dads in our lives how much they mean to us and here at Dragonfly we wanted to share some fabulous present ideas to let them know how grateful we are!

    Of course, a simple Father’s Day card can go a long way – your last Royal Mail posting day for First Class mail is Friday 20 June.

    We have chosen gift ideas from some amazing local Edinburgh shops as we believe it is important to shop local and support small businesses, especially during this crisis. We also have some quirky ideas such as an Enigmagram which is delivered straight to your dad’s letterbox. It gives your dad the opportunity to embrace his inner Sherlock to figure out some puzzles and clues in order to reveal his gift.

    1. Paper Tiger

    Paper Tiger is a wonderful little gift shop located next door to our office and their sister shop is on Lothian Road. You can find pretty much any gift you need here, and they have a great card selection for any occasion.

    If your dad is needing a bit more organisation in his life or somewhere to write his ‘To Do’ list, they have some fabulous new Moleskin notebooks. They are working hard to maintain business during  the lockdown and can safely mail you your order.


    2. Enigmagram

    If you want to make it slightly harder for your dad to receive his present, try this incredible Enigmagram. Their website says:

    “Imagine an envelope lands on their doorstep.
    Inside is a letter from someone they know, but not who.

    There’s a message for them,
    but for it to be revealed they’ll have to solve the puzzles within.
    They’ll have to solve…The Enigmagram!

    Send an experience they won’t forget
    and put their wits & imagination to the test.”

    We love this idea as it is something really different and exciting.

    3. Pippin

    Pippin are another small gift shop not far from our office in Haymarket and we regularly nip in there for gifts and cards. If your dad’s lockdown hair-do or beard is needing some TLC, this is the website to visit. They have a great selection of men’s grooming kits to help tame those lockdown disasters! During the lockdown you can also safely send your order direct to your door.


    4. Harry’s

    And to go perfectly with the above grooming products, why not treat your dad to a lovely high-quality shaving kit. If you’re feeling extra generous, you can sign him to a ‘no strings attached’ subscription so he can have refills land on his doorstep every month. You can even get a tester kit for free!


    5. I.J.Mellis:

    For all of the cheese loving dads out there, I.J.Mellis sells the best (in our opinion) selection of cheese in Edinburgh! During coronavirus, they are doing online orders between Sunday and Thursday. If you want to treat your dad to some really top tier cheese, Mellis is the place for you!

    And when life goes back to normal they offer some great cheese and wine tasting events as well. Again, they are available to order online and the cheese can be delivered straight to your dad’s front door!

    They even tell you how to care for your cheese:


  16. We’re getting personal

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    In the circus of content that we absorb every day, it is difficult to cut through the noise and reach your audience effectively. The world we live in is fast paced, so it is easy for your message to get lost amongst the hive of activity or fall into the ‘unread’ pile. However, we have the answer…it is time to get personal. At Dragonfly, we are the biggest advocates for a bit of personalisation. It is easy to execute, it makes you stand out, and costs so much less than you may think.

    In 2018, the introduction of GDPR changed the way we market ourselves and posed new barriers to overcome that we have never seen before. The risk of heavy fines and bad reputations made people nervous to use data to personalise their advertising. Even though that apprehension still exists, we are seeing far more organisations embrace the value of data. Under Legitimate Interest we can target and segment people that you believe have a genuine interest in your product or service, based on various factors such as, the purchase of a similar or related product or service.

    Why personalise?

    In a direct mail campaign, investing in some added personalisation makes a huge difference to your ROI. Personalised mail usually receives a 6.5% response rate and non-personalised mail receives a 2% response rate. Direct mail campaigns that include personalised element can expect an ROI increase of between 300% – 1000% i.e. 3x or 10x more return. The use of personalisation makes people feel valued because they know that personalising what they have received has taken time, money and effort and they are being addressed by the sender rather than being part of a bulk mailing. In the charity sector, the use of personalisation is key to make you stand out from the crowd, if people feel they are being spoken to on a personal level they will be more inclined to donate.

    Despite personalisation being referred to as the holy grail of marketing, it is also important to not ‘over-do’ the personalisation, this can have a worse impact than not doing it at all. People can experience irritation or a sense of an invasion of their privacy. This is also why it is important to make sure your data is as clean and accurate as possible, especially when personalising!

    Take people on a journey

    Personalisation isn’t always putting their name on a letter. It can be less direct than that and even the smallest touches make people feel valued. For example, Spotify put together a ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist for each subscriber which is based around their most played songs and finding similar songs and artists. The idea behind this personalised playlist is not only to make the customer feel valued and giving them something extra, it is exposing them to new artists and new music. It’s been a huge success and highlights the benefits of doing something that goes above and beyond what your product or service offers.

    The key benefits of personalisation are: it doesn’t cost much, it is easy to implement and it increases your ROI.

    Contact us to discuss adding personalisation to your direct mail campaign.

  17. Print Item of the Month – May

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    Our Print Item of the Month for May is the partnership between Hallmark and Royal Mail who have been spreading kindness and love through the post. We love this campaign as it not only encourages messages of kindness and gratitude but also gives people something tangible to read, especially when everything is online and digital at the moment.

    Hallmark are giving away half a million greeting cards across the UK with a mission to help show gratitude and appreciation for the heroes in our lives. The packs include three cards: one that reads “You Are So Amazing”, one with an illustration of helping hands forming a heart shape which reads “What You Do Matters” and a Crayola card to colour in (great for kids) which reads “Not All Heroes Wear Capes”. Royal Mail’s message was: “Let someone know how much they matter by signing up to receive a free pack of three gratitude cards, while supplies last. Kindness and a desire to put a bit more appreciation into the world is all you need to participate. Because a word of thanks can make a world of difference.

    We think that this partnership is such an amazing idea and the fact that Hallmark have given the packs away for free, just shows it is not a campaign for profit, but for spreading love and kindness around the world during a difficult time. We hope, after this crisis, that people keep sending letters and cards to their loved ones because it really can make someone’s day.

    Use this link to sign up for your free pack of cards.

  18. How to make your print carbon neutral

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    There is a popular misconception around paper and deforestation and the damage it causes to the environment, however, this could not be further from the truth. At Dragonfly, we are helping to spread the positive message and help educate people that mail can be carbon neutral.

    What does carbon neutral mean?

    Carbon neutral means that you or your business is making efforts to remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, especially as a result of carbon offsetting.

    How can you make your mail carbon neutral?

    Firstly, you can ensure all printed material is produced on accredited paper. This allows the protection of ancient forests and the survival of European forests, which due to these schemes have grown by 44,000 square kilometres (the size of Switzerland) between 2005 and 2015. Accredited sources ensure European trees are not cut down for paper use only and 50% of the world’s wood harvest is used as fuel. Over 30% is processed for other industrial uses, such as construction and furniture. Interestingly, only around 13% is used to make paper.

    Currently, through responsibly managed forest programmes, European forests have been growing by an area equivalent to 1,500 football pitches every day. Given that on average, one acre of new forest can sequester about 2.5 tons of carbon annually, this is a lot of carbon being captured. (Two Sides)

    Secondly, aim to source eco-friendly paper, which is a greener version of traditional paper, with a much smaller carbon footprint and overall environmental impact. There are two main categories of eco-friendly paper, both types of paper are important in the paper making cycle.  The accreditations below require the raw materials to be sustainably managed through forest stewardships.

    • The first is recycled paper
    • The second is PEFC & FSC certified paper

    It is also important to implement as many efficiencies as possible and across all direct mail campaigns you should try to bulk buy and order the best possible paper in advance to avoid waste. Another tip is to ensure that your data is as clean as possible to eliminate any waste from creating and mailing packs unnecessarily.

    Why not make everything digital?

    The move to an online-only society can create risks leaving older people, the disabled, rural dwellers and those on low incomes disconnected. In terms of impact, businesses and individuals are increasingly using ‘cloud’ services. These mega datacentres store almost everything we do online; including our web searches, our social media posts and our online statements. An ordinary email that you click on, open, forward or reply to emits 4 grams of CO2.  If that email has an attachment of, for example 1 MB, the CO2 goes up to 19g and if that attachment is then forwarded or filed, the footprint for that one email could be as high as 50g!

    If an email is spam and blocked by a filter, then the number is only 0.3g. Every email has a unique footprint that reflects its size and the number of times it is moved around. The Information and Communications Technology industry accounts for around 2.5-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and this is predicted to rise to 14% by 2040. “The electronic waste problem is colossal, and it’s growing.  In 2016 alone, 44.7 million tonnes of e-waste were generated globally”. Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2018

    Get in touch if you would like more information or advice on making your mail carbon neutral.

  19. What is a press insert?

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    When you pick up a pile of post from your letterbox, you’re holding a huge variety of mail types. Pieces in different formats, sent from different people in different ways. There’s advertising mail and business mail, press inserts and door drops, programmatic mail and partially addressed mail.

    Today, Dragonfly are shining a spotlight on one particular type of mail – press inserts. Here we’ll explain exactly what press inserts are and how they can help deliver more than just being another flyer in a magazine.

    What is a press insert?

    A press insert, sometimes referred to as a media insert, is a piece of print advertising that is inserted into a pack. This pack could be a newspaper, a magazine, or an even an e-commerce package. Press inserts work two ways, either as an advertising piece for a company, or as a source of income for another. We’ve recently noticed e-commerce companies like PrettyLittleThing start using press inserts in their packages.

    These press inserts are designed to be an eye catching, efficient piece with a call to action that encourages conversion. They can offer anything from a free sample when you visit a store, to free shipping when you order online.

    Is a press insert just a flyer?

    No. Most press inserts will be similar to a flyer, but like door drops, they come in a variety of other formats such as postcards.

    Why do brands use press inserts?

    Press inserts are a great way to get your brand in front of a wider and relevant audience. By positioning your inserts with a company that has a similar audience to yours, or by using media buying tools to identify the right publications, you’ll know you’re hitting your target audience. Plus, press inserts can be cheap to print and cost effective to distribute, so it’s an economical way to reach cold targets and promote your brand.

    Do I need a database to send press inserts?

    No! As your press insert goes into someone else’s mailing, you’re using an external database that you don’t have access to. Plus, your insert won’t have any personalisation or personal details on it.  So, press inserts are a great way for brands who don’t have a massive database to reach a massive amount of people.

    Why would press inserts be relevant for my business?

    Press inserts can be a fantastic way to increase sales as part of an integrated marketing campaign. Press inserts could be used to amp up your quarterly sales or to introduce a new product to your audience and encourage them to try it. If you’re a business that’s trying to build brand awareness or encourage new sales but you have a small database, then press inserts can be the right fit for you!

    Does anyone even look at press inserts?

    Yes! Everyone loves a discount, especially when it’s for something they would actually use. If your press inserts are going into something that’s a good fit for your brand, there’s no reason why your press insert wouldn’t get engagement or uptake.

    Are press inserts GDPR compliant?

    Yes. There is no personal data carried on a press insert so they are entirely GDPR compliant.

    Are press inserts good value for money?

    Absolutely! You’re reaching a massive number of cold targets that are relevant to your brand and enticing them with an attractive CTA. It is a cost-effective way to potentially see a huge ROI.

    If you want to hear more about how press inserts can boost your marketing mix, get in touch.

  20. How to make a great welcome pack

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    What is a welcome pack?

    A welcome pack is a package filled with items aimed to surprise, delight and welcome someone into something. For example, if you join a new loyalty programme, insurance plan or start donating to a charity, you’ll likely be sent a welcome pack in the mail.

    What should always be in a welcome pack

    Getting a welcome pack is sort of like your introduction into a club. Therefore, it should always have a welcome letter. It should also include staple communications. For example, if a company send a regular newsletter, their most recent newsletter should be included. A good welcome pack will include an incentive or upsell of some sort. For charities, this is often an appeal to give more, to support specific campaigns or to give regularly (if you’ve donated as a one-off donation).

    What should be written in a welcome letter?

    The letter should include who the pack is from, why the recipient is receiving it, what kind of communications they can expect in the future and a thank you for joining.

    What is the most important part of the welcome pack?

    The message. If your welcome pack looks great and has a ton of interesting bits to it, that’s fantastic – but you need to make sure your message translates across. The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home are a great example of keeping a consistent message. Each piece of their welcome pack related to being a ‘companion’ (being a regular donor). From the canvas tote bag, to the companion card which gives 15% off in store, to the Taily Mail newsletter, all their pieces were on brand and made the recipient feel a part of their goal to shelter and rehome pets.

    And, don’t forget to surprise and delight!

    Depending on what kind of company is sending the welcome pack, different pieces will be included that are relevant to that company and their industry. Charities that work in wildlife preservation might send a pack of seeds. The WWF sends a toy of the animal you’ve chosen to sponsor. Retailers with a loyalty programme might include an information pack about the various tiers the programme has, and incentives to join the higher tiers, or an incentive to shop now such as free shipping. The more creative a company gets, the better. It’s the extra thought that goes the extra mile and keeps you in the memory of your customer/keeps them loyal/makes you worth mentioning.

    Get in touch if you want to put together a welcome pack that wins over new clients.

  21. Print Item of the Month – April

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    Dragonfly’s Print Item of the Month for April had to be the door drop which we all received from Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, urging us to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives during the Coronavirus pandemic.

    The past month the world has changed in many unprecedented ways, with the news being dominated by talk of the virus online, on radio and on TV. But there’s a reason the government chose to update the 30 million households in the UK by going offline with mail.

    Mail is trusted.

    Mail is the only format that doesn’t leave anyone behind. By sending a direct mail piece to every household, the government has a far higher chance of keeping the entire nation informed of their message about coronavirus.

    The postal service is a key part of the UK’s infrastructure and Royal Mail is committed to providing a lifeline to businesses and communities everywhere during the coronavirus crisis.

    At a time where we’re all staying home, mail is the perfect way to reach people right now. For some it is the only communication they receive. And what’s more, a letter can help to give people a sense of reassurance and normalcy in the midst of deeply unsettling times.

    Thank you Boris Johnson, Royal Mail and the NHS for looking after all of us during this extraordinary time.

  22. Ten ways catalogues compete

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    Catalogues are a powerful and resilient marketing tool. They continue to grow in popularity and implement technological innovations. Even the most internet-driven brands like Amazon output annual catalogues because they understand the purchasing power that this format has. Here are ten reasons why every brand should have a catalogue:

    1. Catalogues have a long-lasting impact. People love to read them, refer to them, share them with other members of the household and flick through them from time to time. In fact, 86% of people said they keep catalogues in the home for a period of time, and 65% enjoyed sitting down to look at them in their own time.

    2. Catalogues prevent digital fatigue. Did you know, most people prefer reading on paper to online? It’s the same for catalogues, 63% of people say it’s easier to browse products in a catalogue than in-store or online.

    3. Catalogues are now becoming more digitally integrated. Amazon’s 2019 toy catalogue included QR codes which allowed readers to check the price of each product. Their catalogue was loved by kids and adults alike, and was featured in more than one news article.

    4. Catalogues can be highly personalised. As many realised with Amazon’s 2019 toy catalogue, you can customise the catalogue for the recipient. This kind of personalisation goes beyond just the name it’s addressed to. By segmenting your mailing database into demographics, you can send each segment a customised catalogue geared towards their interests.

    5. Catalogues can build your brand’s reputation. MarketReach found that 71% of people surveyed said catalogues let them know what a brand can offer.

    6. They pave the way for more sales. 75% of people say catalogues give them ideas for things to do or buy because of the pictures used, or settings products are placed in, meaning you can capture a sale from someone who wasn’t considering your product before.

    7. They boost sales exponentially. Of those who purchase through catalogues, 52% said they bought more than planned when shopping with a printed catalogue. You can incentivise with free gifts or delivery when a certain amount has been spent. Charities like Erskine and YDMT are one industry who benefit from gift guide catalogues too. Consumers get something back whilst also giving to a good cause.

    8. Catalogues are a great marketing tool for the competitive season. You can use your catalogue to boost sales a busy time of the year such as Christmas. This is what Posh Totty did at Black Friday, and they saw a 35% higher online order value from those who received their catalogue.

    9. They build a loyal customer base. Catalogues give you the power to showcase your products and bring your brand directly into the homes of your customers. You are building a relationship with that customer as your catalogue sits on a coffee table, is picked up, read through and ordered from. If you’re one to send regular catalogues, you’ll find that your customers will start looking forward to the next one, like Celtic & Co. has.

    10. Catalogues can be adapted to suit any business’s audience. Their high interaction rate makes them perfect for those looking to dip their toe into direct mail. Use a small, digitally printed catalogue mailing to test your audience’s reception to catalogues.

    If your business is looking to introduce a catalogue into your marketing mix, we’ll make sure it goes the extra mile. Get in touch to find out how.

    Source: MarketReach, ‘How to grow your business with catalogues’

  23. What is direct mail?

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    Every day, an array of mail falls through our letterboxes. When you pick up a pile of post, you’re holding a huge variety of mail types. There’s ad mail and business mail, door drops and direct mail, programmatic mail and partially addressed mail.

    Today, we’re shining a spotlight on one particular type – direct mail. Here, we’ll explain exactly what direct mail is and why it delivers more than just another email in your online junk folder.

    What is direct mail?

    Direct mail is mail addressed to an individual. It can be used for either businesses sending bills, statements or account details to customers, or for brands to use it as marketing channel to send advertising direct to your customer or prospect. In order to send it, you need to have a database of people. Generally, this is your own database gathered with the consent of the individuals. However, you can mail to householders by using non-personally identifying databases through Royal Mail’s Partially Addressed service, which is 100% GDPR compliant.

    Is it just a letter?

    No! Direct mail isn’t always a letter. It could be a package, a catalogue, a postcard, or just about any other format. Garden centres could send a pack of promotional seeds to a customer, a laundry brand might incorporate a scratch and sniff element onto a postcard, banks could send new formats of credit cards, or a clothing brand could send a lifestyle led catalogue showcasing a gorgeous photography collection of summer clothes.

    Why do brands use direct mail?

    Brands use it to communicate with their clients, customers and potential customers. They tend to use direct mail for important information, like bills or changes to services. However, direct mail is also an effective way to market new business to your existing clients or generate sales from former or potential customers. A new innovation is programmatic mail, which sends a piece of direct mail to someone who, for example, visited an online shop, put items in their basket but never checked out. The shop could use direct mail to advertise similar products with an incentive such as free shipping to encourage the customer to return to the sale.

    Does anyone even open mail?

    Of course they do! Remember, this is mail that’s addressed to them, so it’s relevant and something they want to receive. Royal Mail found that 92% of direct mail is opened, and 48% of UK adults took action after receiving it. According to TGI, 58% of those over 65 and 46.6% of those in socio-economic group E have not used internet in the past year, so if you’re trying to reach this audience you need to be using mail.

    Why should my brand use it?

    Direct mail is an effective way to market new business to clients, generate sales from new customers and amplify your other marketing streams. BrandScience found that the online component of campaigns pays by 62% more and TV components 37% more when direct mail is added to the mix.

    Do I need a database to send direct mail?

    Yes. But there are ways around having your own database that are still GDPR compliant. One of our favourites is the partially addressed system, which allows you to profile on household level instead of individual. It’s easy to use – you simply upload your existing database against our partially addressed database and the technology shows you the addresses that aren’t already on your database. So, if you were a car brand, you could identify all the people on a street who didn’t already own your brand of car and target them with a personalised mail piece. The resulting mail would be addressed to the ‘householder’ and is one hundred percent GDPR compliant. 

    Is this GDPR compliant?

    Yes, as long as you’re sending it to your own database, which was consented in accordance with the GDPR, then it’s totally compliant. Make sure you run a data cleanse on your database before mailing so you are only mailing to people who are still at their address and you don’t end up wasting budget with letters returned to sender.

    Is it good value for money?

    It’s hard to estimate return on investment without knowing the size and demographics of the database. Though, Royal Mail estimate that direct mail delivers an average of £3.22 return on investment for every £1 spent. This is higher than digital marketing’s average of £3.12 for every £1 spent.

    Why not send an email instead?

    You might think that sending an email is the easier option. If so, ask yourself how many emails you ignore every day. We all receive hundreds of unopened email ads daily, far less than those coming through our letterbox. Mail stands out. Simply put, it’s more engaging and memorable than email. If you would like to plan a direct mail campaign with us, please get in touch.

    Source: Royal Mail

  24. Marketing in the time of coronavirus – better news than you’re expecting

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    It’s no secret that coronavirus has shaken up the world of business. Everyone, apart from key workers, is working from home and each newspaper is speculating on the long-term economic impact coronavirus will have. Dragonfly happily sat in on the Marketing Week webinar with Mark Ritson to hear his take on how marketing will or won’t be changed by coronavirus – and its better news than you’re expecting.

    Ritson said that the impact coronavirus is having has split businesses into three distinct sections:  flex, fix and freeze.

    Flex – These are businesses that are doing well as a result of the pandemic. In this section you will find supermarkets, delivery services or online fitness instructors. Sainsbury’s is a great example of a flex business.

    Fix – These are businesses that need to shift their strategy if they want to keep their business moving. In this category you’ll find businesses like local shops moving to e-commerce and delivery, or garden centres which traditionally have heavy footfall and will need to move online to sell their perishable plants. Any local pub or shop that has now shifted their offering to include online sales and delivery would fit in the fix category.

    Freeze – In this section is every business that has been forced to shut down and cease operating, and there isn’t a lot they can do to shift their strategy to bring in revenue in a new way and they are non-essential. For example, McDonalds shut its doors and ceased operating as they are non-essential and cannot justify staying open.

    Ritson advised on ways to carry your business through this period, how to identify new opportunities and, most importantly, what not to do. Here were the key takeaways

    1. Focus on the four Ps. Most marketing departments today focus too much on promotion, but businesses that look at all four have been able to change their product, price or place to benefit themselves and their consumers. Some great examples were Uber Eats, Meny and Woolworths Place.

    2. Don’t focus too much on your own brand. Ritson pointed out that the influx of emails from CEOs can make them seem disingenuous and that people, generally, don’t care about your brand. For example, McDonald’s Brazil’s publicity stunt in separating their arches came off as superficial and was berated online.

    3. Don’t buy into false pneuma, in Ritson’s opinion, coronavirus isn’t going to change the world forever. While things might change in the short term, Ritson believes that people will go back to doing the things they used to do before, don’t focus on changing your long-term goals, focus on the here and now.

    4. The one way to maintain long term growth during a recession is by investing in marketing. Ritson provided examples of businesses who invested in marketing during past recessions. The businesses that maintained or increased their marketing spend saw a massive increase in long term profits when compared to those who pulled funding.

    At the end of the day, we ought to focus our energy on what’s not going to change. Build a business strategy on what is stable, focus on good advertising and don’t buy into the ads that promise prosperity despite a recession! Marketing will be what carries us through. If you are looking to diversify your marketing plan and would like to discuss direct marketing, please get in touch. We’d love to help.

  25. Online or offline? Email or mail?

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    Communication is the key to gaining new and loyal customers. Ideally, you want your message to be heard by as many people as possible. Sometimes, email is the best way to communicate, other times, mail is needed. Here’s how to know when to use online, and when to go offline.

    When to use mail

    Mail is absolutely necessary when you need to communicate to a wide array of people, this is why the Prime Minister chose to use mail to update the country about COVID-19. When you’re trying to communicate to people of different ages, different incomes and different mosaic groups, mail is the common denominator. For example, when you access a service that the whole public uses, such as the council, the HMRC, the NHS or a bank, you’ll notice you always get communications through mail.

    Partially, this is because mail builds trust. Communicating through mail is one way to verify that your database is who they say they are. Plus, the public tend to trust mail more than email (Two sides source). The trust building aspect is important to note because it makes mail the best way to communicate important and vital changes to the way you operate. Around 80% of adults in the UK open all or most of their mail, so if you need your message to be heard, mail is a necessary investment.

    Mail is a worthwhile investment if your marketing mix needs a boost. Email marketing can fall flat if not used in conjunction with other marketing tools. If you’re not seeing the results or return on investment that you need, using mail can turn it around. Simply sending a postcard with a call to action or promotion code instead of an email blast can earn drastically different results and get your ROI to the place you want it to be.

    Mail is more personal, so you’re more likely to get an action out of someone through mail. It’s a great tool to engage lapsed customers or irregular clients and turn them into loyal advocates. Regular communication and exposure to your brand in a personal way will build a good reputation and keep you in their minds.

    When to use email

    The best reason to use email is because your message is highly time sensitive. Usually, this can be avoided by planning and managing your content effectively. However, some urgent messages need to get out as soon as possible, such as an order confirmation. Mail can be delivered in 24-28 hours, but if you need your message sent immediately, you should use email. If it’s a message of high importance, it should follow with mail so that more of your customers are actually reading the message as, according to MailChimp, 95-99% of marketing emails are ignored.

    Another important aspect to consider is the content of the message. For example, video content is infinitely more suited to email than mail. However, with the use of QR codes and AR, there are few online things that can be integrated with mail to help drive consumers online.

    The main reason people choose to communicate through email isn’t because it’s better, it’s because it’s perceived cheaper. If you don’t have the budget yet, email can keep you in regular contact with your database. Make sure you’re doing what you can to build a mailable database so that when you have the budget, you can allocate some to mail. We love trying out test and learn campaigns, if you would like to hear more please get in touch.

  26. DMA on integrating mail and digital

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    There was a brief period where mail was seen as being slow and difficult to track compared to the new and exciting email. However, modern advancements have married mail and tech together to offer slick marketing tools which overlap the personal and effective touch of mail, and digital tracking efficiencies. These tips on how to integrate your mail and digital marketing strategies were laid out by the DMA in the Using mail to get the best from digital webinar on 25 March 2020.  

    Here’s the top line:

    Mail is essential to creating a lifecycle journey

    Today it is five times more expensive to win a new customer than to keep a current one ( It’s vital to keep in touch with your existing customers and transform them into loyal advocates of your brand. Data advancements have paved the way for personalisation and the targeting of key engagement points. Testing is key, 54% of customers say brands need to transform how they communicate with them. By testing and learning, you can identify which channels are most effective for you in each stage of your customer’s journey. It’s not enough to send an email and say it’s a job well done.

    Direct mail is the most effective communicator

    While Mailchimp has an average open rate of anywhere between 1-5%, mail sees that 80% of all adults open all or most of their mail. A further 25% purchased or donated after receiving mail (in the last 12 months). Mail might be offline, but most mail has a digital response. Link: JICMAIL Boden mail journey case study

    Streamline mail with automation

    You can now send mail the same way as email/SMS with programmatic mail. For example, if you’re an e-commerce company that sends an email when someone abandons their basket at the checkout, you can now replace that email with mail. A case studies with OVO energy showed that non-converters who received a direct mail pack within 1-2 days had a conversion rate of 5.5% and a return on investment of £15 for every £1 spent.

    The comeback of QR codes

    QR codes first hit the streets with no clear explanation of how to use them, leaving customers confused and reluctant to download a separate app. The public has since familiarised with them as tech giants created their own QR codes for popular apps like Snapchat’s Snapcode. Now, phones are smarter, and cameras can scan QR codes through the built in app. QR codes are now a fantastic way to implement a variety of activations, and can be easily used very effectively in combination with print.

    Mail that is measurable

    It’s easier to track and analyse data when mail is used in conjunction with technology. You can easily measure the impact of a mail campaign that uses personalised URLs (PURLs), QR codes or personalised promotion codes. You’ll get a clear idea of your return on investment and which calls to action were most effective, allowing you to adapt and improve in the future.

    Technology is continuing to transform the way we live, creating opportunities within the world of direct mail that you don’t want to miss out on. Get in touch to hear how we can transform your marketing strategy.

  27. JICMAIL’s Seven Insights on Business Mail

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    All businesses need to communicate with their customers, and mail is one way to get important messages to them safely.

    Business mail – sending bills, invoices, appointments and statements – is a pillar of direct mail and an essential communication tool for businesses across the world.

    To help you understand the intricacies and benefits of business mail, JICMAIL have created the 7 Essential insights on Business Mail booklet and webinar. JICMAIL’s data on business mail is useful for pitching, planning and measuring.  

    The insights booklet is packed full of meaningful data on how business mail performs. For example:

    Insight #1: Business mail delivers an additional reach of 16%. The average business mail item is seen by 1.16 people per household, that’s an additional 160,000 people for every 1,000,000 items sent!

    A screenshot of a cell phone

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    Other insights examined how long business mail lives in the home, the kind of media effects it has and which days of the week have the most interaction with business mail.

    We were lucky to sit in on JICMAIL’s business mail webinar – these are the three key takeaways we learned.

    1. Business mail can contribute substantially to above the line media planning KPIs.

    2. Business mail is interacted with frequently and has a healthy lifespan.

    3. Business mail can play a huge part in driving campaign efficiency.

    Visit JICMAIL’s website to download the booklet and read through their 7 Essential insights on Business Mail. Get in touch if you’d like to find out how Dragonfly use mail to grow businesses.

  28. Print Item of the Month – March

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    March’s Print Item of the Month is a welcome pack from WWF (the World Wide Fund for Nature). WWF are a charity dedicated to protecting wildlife and nature. Their ‘adopt an animal‘ programme allows donors to pick an animal close to their heart and make a donation to a fund which protects them. In this case, that animal was a tiger.

    The welcome pack alone is a great gift for children, and now a hands-on home schooling tool, as each comes with a welcome letter, fact pack, the promise of regular updates and a cuddly toy. From a direct mail perspective, we loved that the welcome pack is quite literally packed with value, as it entices potential and one-off donors to make a regular monthly donation. The pack has also been created with such detail that every piece reflects WWF and all that they do, which builds their brand reputation as a valuable asset to save the planet. Safe to say, we were highly impressed by this pack and look forward to hearing the next update on our new pet tiger!

  29. The difference between recycled and carbon neutral paper

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    Recycled and recyclable paper are both used by companies to reduce their carbon footprint and ensure that their print communications continue the life cycle of paper. Carbon neutral programmes are an effective way to offset carbon emitted in the print marketing process. We recently posted a blog about the various types of environmentally friendly paper like these, but now we’d love to share the specific differences between recycled and carbon neutral paper.

    Recycled paper

    There are two kinds of fibres in recycled paper: recycled fibres that have already been used, and new fibres that have been incorporated to ensure the paper can continue being recycled. Most recycled paper is not made of 100% recycled fibres because recycled fibres alone aren’t strong enough to be recycled again without any new fibres mixed in. Instead, most recycled paper is made up of both recycled and new fibres, ensuring it can continue to be recycled and live a long time in the life cycle of paper!

    Carbon neutral paper

    Carbon neutral paper is not necessarily made from recycled paper. Instead, carbon neutral paper is the result of carbon balancing programmes. These programmes calculate the amount of carbon emitted by the creation, transportation and usage of paper, and consequently offset the amount by equally investing in carbon enriching programmes. For example, the World Land Trust’s carbon balance programme reinvests in protecting the carbon rich habitat of the tropics. Carbon balancing programmes protect and promote the growth of forests but the products themselves are not necessarily environmentally friendly.

    Despite their differences, both recycled and carbon neutral paper are great eco-friendly alternatives to regular run of the mill, non-accredited paper. Still, they are the bare minimum we should be doing! Both carbon balancing programmes combined with the use of recycled or accredited paper is the most environmentally friendly option. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about how to make your paper more environmentally friendly.

  30. Digital’s hidden environmental impact

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    “If there’s no strategy for a systemic shift, it is just greenwashing” – John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace.

    We’re constantly bombarded with messages about cutting back the use of paper to ‘save the trees’, but is it really going green? A survey by Two Sides found that 64% of UK consumers agree that claims about switching to digital for the environment are made because the business wants to save money, and they’re not entirely wrong. In an interview with Printweek Two Sides, managing director Jonathon Tame said that of the 388 organisations using greenwashing messages, in most cases the business hadn’t done much research because they believed it to be correct. So why do we incorrectly assume that print kills trees while digital goes green? Here are the hidden environmental impacts that digital communications have.


    The carbon footprint of email

    We’ve talked a lot about the carbon footprint of mail, but we never seem to discuss the elusive carbon footprint of email. A recent article in The Page by Two Sides discussed the topic. They found that 72% of the UK are unaware of the carbon footprint associated with email. 49% regularly send unnecessary emails to those within talking distance every single day. But, did you know: we could reduce our collective carbon output by the equivalent taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road by sending just one less email per day? The carbon footprint of a single email isn’t huge, but the number of unnecessary emails adds up. So, don’t forget that your ‘thanks’ email is taking a lot of energy to send for what it says.

    Source: OVO with Two Sides

    data centre

    Where the iclouds live on earth

    Server farms. Way back in 2014 the Guardian wrote an expose on the potential environmental dangers of them. In 2017 the Guardian followed it with a piece on the ‘tsunami of data’ that would consume one fifth of global electricity by 2025. This was followed by another expose on the tech industry’s carbon footprint titled ‘Our phones and gadgets are now endangering the planet’ in 2018. It’s not new news, yet it’s something few people are aware of.

    What are server farms? They are where all our internet actions take place. Every Google search, every YouTube view and every Tweet requires data stored and shared. This doesn’t take place in the clouds as some people think, but on the ground, at a data centre. Since 2012 the number of data centres or ‘server farms’ has grown from 500,000 to over 8 million, and the growth in tech usage has turned their use of global electricity from being forecasted as one fifth by 2025 into 10% usage by 2030.

    Source: Is our data destroying the environment?

    Do you recycle your laptop?

    Or your tablet, or phone? Have you brought them back to the store to recycle, thrown them away, or do you have a drawer somewhere in your house where all your old tech lives? E-waste is on the rise. Luckily, a lot of major producers like Apple have a recycle or trade in program to help prevent their trash from polluting the planet, so most e-waste doesn’t actually come from our personal devices. It’s estimated that 59% of global e-waste in 2020 will come from homeware appliances such as fridges, freezers, kettles, toasters and vacuum cleaners. Furthermore, only 41 countries internationally are tracking and sharing e-waste statistics.

    smart watch

    As society aims to become more environmentally conscious, better tracking and solutions such as tech repair instead of replacement, will become more common place. Tech repair ensures that tech and its pollutant components don’t end up in a landfill. As more everyday items such as watches, kitchen appliances and even lightbulbs become internet connected, e-waste is projected to grow rapidly. This is one environmental impact of technology that we will have to monitor and adapt to in the future, and one of the best ways to help manage it is by repairing instead of replacing.

    Source: BBC – Can we fix our growing e-waste problem?

    So why don’t we know about it?

    Clearly, digital technology leaves a heavy carbon footprint, so why don’t we know about it? Likely, the answer is simply because it is an easier solution for companies to cut out paper communications to ‘go green’ instead of cutting back on their digital communications. We’re constantly told that digital is ‘the future’, that to reach new customers we need to use digital communications. Not only is this untrue but how can we move towards ‘the future’ if by doing so we’re ensuring won’t have much of one?

  31. Why teens want mail

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    Saturday 21 March is National Teenagers Day, a day to celebrate youngsters everywhere. Known as Generation Z, today’s teenagers are a generation of climate activists, brimming with young leaders striving for change. They’re also notoriously tech savvy, spending hours on apps like Instagram and TikTok. But that’s not the whole story. In honour of today’s teens, we thought we’d share one of the more surprising facts about teenagers today: they often prefer print to digital.  

    Teenagers trust mail

    Modern teenagers have grown up in a digital world. They’ve always had a mobile phone, with easy access to Google, email and social media. Yet, youngsters are wary of information on the internet because they were raised to mistrust it. The world of misinformation and ‘fake news’ has become the norm for teenagers. Mail sets itself apart from the chaotic digital world. It’s one of the best ways to build a trusting relationship with the younger generation. 32% of them are more likely to trust information in print than online. (Source: Royal Mail)

    Print stands out

    In a world of emails and apps, Generation Z miss the physical nature of printed mail. It’s something they can touch, which makes mail unusual and exciting. This is why teens are more likely to notice the quality of the paper, and why mail marketing feels more luxurious. It’s easy to send an automated email, but hard to put together a personalised mailer on premium stock.

    Today’s teenagers notice the effort. If you’re trying to build brand awareness with young people, mail is a great solution. You can communicate the individuality of your brand not only with text and images, but also through the quality and feel of the mailing.

    Mail gets attention, even with teenagers!

    On average, a piece of addressed mail reaches more people aged 17 to 24 than people aged 65 and over, or, in fact, any other age group. Young people also keep mail in their house for over 11 days, higher than any other age group. The younger the recipient, the longer the mail stays on the coffee table or kitchen pinboard. (Source: JICMAIL)

    Got the message? Mail isn’t just for the elderly. It’s a highly effective way to stand out from competitors among a teenage audience. If you need to tell young people about your new environmental stance, a new product or a rebrand, mail is the perfect way to communicate it. Get in touch to plan your next direct mail campaign.

  32. How environmentally friendly is your paper?

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    It’s a common misconception that your bills, print outs and notebooks are worse for the environment than they actually are. The print industry is incredibly forward thinking when it comes to sustaining the environment as it requires a continuing lifespan of paper to sustain itself. There have been great innovations in the industry to make the production system more circular. All the printers Dragonfly use have environmentally friendly options and sustainable initiatives. These are the five main types of environmentally friendly paper that you’ll be using:

    1. Recycled paper – The product of all our recycling efforts! This paper is made either partially or entirely from recycled paper fibres. Most often it’s a percentage, as 100% recycled paper takes a lot of energy to produce and is no longer recyclable, as the fibres are not strong enough to be reused. Today, most recycled paper is made up of 54% used fibres and 47% new fibres. (Source: TwoSides)

    2. Recyclable paper – Without new fibres, the paper cycle collapses. Recyclable paper is any paper that can (and should!) be recycled. The few kinds of paper that can’t be recycled are foiled paper and greasy paper (looking at you, pizza boxes!) Greaseproof or coated paper can’t be recycled either. These are papers coated with silicone or laminated with plastic, often used for baking or in take away cups for hot drinks.

    3. Carbon balancing paper – The result of programmes where businesses offset their carbon output by investing in campaigns and initiatives which promote the protection and growth of the environment. One of the most popular is the ‘Carbon Balanced’ programme offered by the World Land Trust. This enables businesses to invest in World Land Trust initiatives which protect and restore carbon-rich wildlife habitats in the tropics, therefore offsetting their carbon footprint. Carbon balancing initiatives protect and promote the growth of forests, however the products created by carbon balanced programmes are not necessarily made from recycled or accredited paper, they’re just one piece of the puzzle!

    Whether your paper is recycled or not, you should ensure your paper is made with wood from sustainably managed forests. This is accredited paper. The most common types of accredited paper in the UK are from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

    4. FSC – You may already recognise this logo which is commonly used in print. This is a type of accreditation which supports the growth of forests. The system allows businesses and consumers to purchase forest products, like paper, that have been made with materials from well-managed forests and/or recycled sources. When you see the FSC ‘free tick’ logo (below) you know you’re purchasing a product that helps to grow forests. The FSC monitor wood production and ensure that trees are harvested and replanted in a responsible manner that promotes growth. This has ensured that forests are growing, rather than being depleted.

    FSC environmentally friendly paper

    5. PEFC – This programme provides accreditation for sustainably sourced forest products. Much like the FSC, forests need to be sustainably managed to become accredited. Sustainably managed forests are healthier, protected and great for the environment. Products that are from PEFC approved forests are printed with the PEFC label. Buying PEFC accredited paper with this label ensures that the area of accredited forests continues to grow. PEFC also partner with a range of stakeholders to amplify their message by creating campaigns such as the ‘Forest for Fashion’ initiative and developing national forest certification systems in the Balkans. 

    It’s programmes like the FSC and PEFC that have led European forests to grow by over 1,500 football pitches every day. More than 60% of forests in the EU and the UK are certified, and most of them are under the FSC, PEFC or both. Only 12% of the world’s forest areas are certified, so Europe is really leading the way when it comes to sustainable paper production.

    Sources for further reading:

    On recycled paper (fibres) –

    On why to use recycled papers –

    On the tree to page cycle –

    European reports on paper environmental impact –

  33. Mum’s the word!

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    Mother’s Day is the one day of the year to go above and beyond and show that special mum or mother figure in your life how much you care.

    This year Mother’s Day falls on Sunday 11 March. If you’ve not posted your Mum a Mother’s Day card yet, there’s still time! Post your card First Class before Royal Mail’s last collection on Friday 9 March.

    If you want to thank your mum for everything she does with more than a card, but can’t deliver it in person this Mother’s Day, then why not treat her to a mail order gift.

    Here are five ways we think you can send your love to your mum no matter where you are:

    Send her flowers. There’s nothing we love more than a Bloom & Wild package arriving in our office! The ‘letterbox flowers’ arrive in post box friendly packaging so they can be delivered whether or not someone is home at the time of delivery. They have lots of beautiful bouquets available at varying price points, including hand tied bouquets, plants, hampers and added gifts. So, you’re sure to find something perfect for your mum!

    Send her biscuits. Who doesn’t love a good biscuit?! Biscuiteers offer bespoke tins full of delightfully decorated biscuits. They have birthday themed biscuits, thank you biscuits, engagement biscuits and just about every other type of biscuit you can imagine. So, of course they have an entire Mother’s Day collection. Choose from a super-size super mum jolly ginger biscuit, to a flower bouquet tin of biscuits, or even a giant tin of bouquet chocolates personalised with your message. This is a sweet treat your mum is sure to enjoy!

    Send her jewellery. Ah jewellery, a classic favourite of Mother’s Day. Instead of buying something generic, Posh Totty offer delightful personalisation on their products. There’s a huge variety of styles, and you can add meaningful names, words or dates to many of them. You can send Gran a personalised locket necklace with a drawing by your children on the front. Or, personalise a Russian ring necklace with all the names of your mum’s children, and personalise it further with birthstones. The options are truly endless! Whether your mum prefers gold or silver, flashy or simple, you’ll be able to find something she’ll love.

    Send her some warmth. The Tartan Blanket Company offer customisable giftboxes with a wide array of products. In the Mother’s Day box there’s a lambswool scarf, specialty chocolate and a mug, plus added options of jewellery, bath salts and gift notes. Each product has the option for you to choose colour, flavour and style so its easy to make it something your mum would love! There are other giftbox options with different products like Isle of Skye Candles, tea and more. ‘Hug in a Mug’, ‘Slow Living’ or ‘Touch of Scotland’ are all great Mother’s Day alternative options!

    Send her something personal. Maybe your mum doesn’t like flowers, or biscuits, or jewellery. Or maybe, none of it feels personal enough for your special mum. Luckily, Moonpig and Not On the High Street are here to save the day! Both have a huge variety of options for Mother’s Day gifts, but the best is their personalised section. On Moonpig you can get everything from personalised mugs and aprons, to personalised bottles of prosecco. Meanwhile, Not On The High Street has personalised everything. From glasses stands to terracotta pots to bee hotels, they can personalise pretty much anything under the sun. So, if you’ve got a quirky mum or someone special in mind, personalise it to make it go the extra mile!

  34. Dragonfly help YDMT increase donations by 68%

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    The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) is a small charity doing great things to support and encourage the wildlife, nature, landscape and people of the Yorkshire Dales. They organise programmes that involve the community in the preservation and appreciation of everything the spectacular Yorkshire Dales has to offer. 

    As a charity, they know it’s important to give back to their donors and keep them updated on what’s happening in this special place. Their newsletter, Milestones, is mailed to their donor base quarterly. It updates the community on ongoing projects and offers a calendar of upcoming events over the next season. It’s a way for YDMT to thank their donors for their hard work and keep them engaged, as well as an opportunity for YDMT to appeal to one-off donors to give more regularly. 

    Milestones is sent in two versions, one to regular donors and another to those who have given one-off donations. When Dragonfly began managing the Milestones project with YDMT, we provided a few small recommendations to help them improve communication with their donors with the view of increasing donations.

    The first recommendation we gave was that YDMT made their cover letter more visually appealing, by using eye-catching images, logos and headings. We also encouraged them to include a clear call to action which is based around their key messages: “Help keep the Yorkshire Dales special” and “Do something amazing for our planet”. Dragonfly also designed a leaflet insert which was sent to occasional donors only, encouraging them to become regular givers.

    These changes were implemented in YDMT’s Autumn Milestones mailing in 2019, and the results were huge! YDMT saw a phenomenal 68% increase in donations compared to the previous year, with average donations increasing from £22 to £37.

    Mike Appleton, marketing and communications officer at YDMT said: “Our Autumn edition of Milestones was our first with Dragonfly and we are really pleased with the results. Nothing was too much trouble for Ellie and the team at Dragonfly and their advice really made an impact on how successful the newsletter was. We can’t wait to do the next one!”

  35. Celebrating inspirational women

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    Dragonfly champion influential women in the marketing industry, so for International Women’s Day, we thought we’d do something that would celebrate women of all shapes and sizes, and from all types of different backgrounds.

    We reached out to some inspirational women in our network and asked them: who inspires you? Whether it’s a celebrity, a historical figure, or someone they know, we’re passing on the celebration of inspirational women.

    Please keep the momentum going by sharing this post with a woman who inspires you!

    Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.

    Happy International Women’s Day!

    Ailsa Graham, Lead – Marketing Channels, Tesco Bank

    “Susanne Najafi, founder of a Breaking minds.

    She is one of those women whose story inspires you to be brave and really made me rethink my goals for the next few years. After reading her story, it really made me take stock, and realise my goals were in no way big or scary enough!

    She has taken some big risks in her career. Leaving the security of a high flying role at Procter and Gamble to start her own business. Selling her apartment to raise money for one of her business ventures. Now, she is an angel investor. Investing in start-ups that are often overlooked, particularly those led by women.

    All in all, pretty inspiring!”

    Jenny Ledgar, Wholesale Director, Royal Mail Group

    “Michelle Obama – fiercely intelligent, incredibly hard working. Her story of coming from an impoverished background but one filled with love to becoming one of the most influential women of our time is inspirational to me. Her championing of women, girls and education is something for us all to champion. Both she and her husband have a phrase when faced with criticism and backbiting and in this world right now it seems even more important – ‘when they go low, we go high’. Always maintain your own standards, no matter what!”

    Michelle Obama - International Womens Day

    Collette Hughes, Marketing and Be Kind Officer, Oliver Bonas

    “The woman that inspires me most right now has to be actress, activist and self confessed feminist-in-progress Jameela Jamil. As someone who is an avid user of social media it’s so easy to be presented with images and information that can be damaging to the way we view ourselves. Jameela is going out of her way to offer a different point of view, actively building a community to combat these issues and constantly uses her voice and position of authority in a really positive way.”

    Judith Donovan CBE, Chair, Royal Mail Strategic Mailing Partnership

    “I’m in awe of two queens, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth I ruled for 43 years, on her own, fighting for her right to reign, and always trying to protect the country from powerful enemies. Our current Queen Elizabeth II has such a developed sense of duty that she has sacrificed much personal happiness and freedom of expression on that altar. And, all around her she sees the world having fun and her own family falling apart, and still she soldiers on! Two women working and winning against the odds!”

    Fiona McBeath, Research Analyst, Nestle

    There are many women in the world who inspire me. Many of these women are well known from our history books and their main attributes tend to be strength and resilience in the face of adversity. However one woman who inspires me far greater than anyone is my sister Diana. 15 years ago she gave birth to her son Ronnie, a happy healthy little boy. At the age of 2 everything changed and he was diagnosed with many health complications from epilepsy, ADHD and autism to name only a few. Ronnie has reached his teenage years now and Diana has never heard her son speak. She cares for him as a single parent around the clock as his needs are so complex. She does this every day with a smile on her face and the odd glass of wine. Her strength of character and selfless attitude is incredible and something for which I admire.

    ‘The strongest women are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about.’

    Mary Glasgow, Chief Executive Officer, Children 1st

    “As hard as it is if I had one woman to identify as an inspiration to me it would be Eleanor Roosevelt. She overcame many personal challenges and had to step out of the shadow of her powerful husband in order to make her voice heard at a time when women with strong and unpopular political views were rarely taken seriously.

    She championed the rights of Women and African Americans way before it was commonly accepted that inequality was unjust and harmful and in 1948 she was the driving force in creating The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Eleanor Roosevelt inspires me personally because of her courage, her ability to think and act ahead of her time and for her incredible wit, warmth and clarity in communicating her ideals and values.”

    Eleanor Roosevelt

    Rachel Aldighieri, Managing Director, DMA

    “I’d like to celebrate Anneli Ritari-Stuart, MD of iProspect. The reason? Juggling a big job and family is a challenge in itself but throw in being a champion powerlifter and sitting on numerous Boards and Committees and I’m just in awe!”

    Roslyn Tumiotto, Co- founder of Rocco Venezia

    “So many amazing and inspiring women to chose but I will choose first Marie Curie, a pioneer in science, determined and with grit and perseverance to achieve world changing revolutionary advances in science despite being denied her right to an education by men. She is a symbol for me of women’s strength, determination and meaning… she’s pretty cool! 

    I also am utterly inspired by so many different women around the world but being a bubbles Queen founder of Italian brand Rocco Venezia, I am hugely inspired by women in the drinks industry who have shifted things and ruffled feathers but made huge headway in the world of champagne houses and drinks.

    I choose Madame Cliquot ‘The grande dame of the champagne world’, Madame Clicquot was the woman who started the female revolution in champagne by transforming her husband’s failing wine business and becoming one of the first international businesswomen in the world. 

    Fact: Veuve means widow… widows were allowed to run businesses unlike married or single women. Let’s raise a glass or Rocco or Veuve on International women’s day.”

    Natalie Alexandrou, Product Development Manager, Strathberry

    “I find Emma Watson inspiring. She has used her platform to raise awareness for gender equality, working on campaigns which give education to gives in poorer countries as well as her He for She campaign. Alongside this amazing work I think it’s fantastic how she only wears clothing and accessories which are sustainably and ethically sourced, supporting a brand’s ethos and not how popular it is.”

  36. What is a door drop?

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    When you pick up a pile of post from your letterbox, you’re holding a huge variety of mail types. Pieces in different formats, sent from different people in different ways. There’s ad mail and business mail, door drops and direct mail, programmatic mail and partially addressed mail.

    Today, Dragonfly are shining a spotlight on one particular type of mail – door drops. Here we’ll explain exactly what a door drop is and how it can help deliver more than just another piece of post onto a doormat.

    What is a door drop?

    A door drop is an unaddressed piece of mail – a flyer, brochure, letter, postcard or even a booklet of vouchers that is delivered through your letterbox. When people think of door drops, brands like Dominoes, Specsavers, and Sky all spring to mind, as do the door drops you receive when there is a General Election and politicians are canvassing for you vote.

    Is a door drop just a leaflet?

    No. Leaflets are a format, whereas door drops are a postage method.

    Why do brands use door drops?

    When done right, door drops are a really great way to engage with many people quickly and effectively. In fact, 80% of the UK’s top advertisers use door drops. Not only are they a cost-effective way to reach a large volume of people, but companies can choose the exact week in which to send their mail piece, so the door drop can land at a time when their competitors mail wont.

    Do I need a database to send a door drop?

    The good news is you don’t need an existing database to send a door drop. If you’re trying to grow your customer base, you can reach cold targets that are relevant to you by sending your door drops based on postcode sectors, or drive time to your business.

    Why would I use a door drop for my business?

    Door drops have a great variety of use. Dragonfly often recommend them to our clients who open a new office, shop or restaurant in a new location, like the Scottish Dental Care Group. This is because they can announce their arrival to the right people and reach out to them in a way that digital simply can’t. Plus, their cost-effective nature means a little budget goes a long way. Postcodes can be selected based on geography as well as affluence and other identifying criteria that can make the drops more targeted and relevant to the business.

    Don’t door drops just go straight in the bin?

    No! Statistics show that 73% of door drop items are opened, read, filed or set away for later. If you’re sending something that looks spammy, then people will treat it like spam. But, if you’re sending a nicely designed piece that’s relevant to the householder, then the piece will hit its target.

    Are door drops GDPR compliant?

    Yes, as door drops don’t rely on profiling any personal data, they are 100% GDPR compliant.

    Are door drops good value for money?

    Yes! 90% of campaigns that included door drops saw an increase in new customers, compared to 59% of those without. A case study by Maids & More even saw an ROI of 22:1.

    Sources for further reading:

    Royal Mail on door drops

    JICMAIL on door drops

  37. Print Item of the Month – February

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    Two Sides Valentine

    Ah, February, the month of love! Naturally, our print item of the month had to be a very special Valentine. We received this Valentine’s Day card from Two Sides, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to educate the public on the facts of paper, print and the environment. Dragonfly have been a long-time member of Two Sides and supported their battle against greenwashing, so we were delighted to see their Valentine’s Day card in the post!

    Two Sides have put together a piece that reflects their brand, is relevant to their audience and celebrates the season of love. In true Two Sides fashion, they’ve included some fun facts as ‘reasons to love paper’. Then, they got their romantic side out in the name of Valentine’s Day and wrote their own poem to say thank you to their members.

    One of the most interesting parts of the piece is directly below the poem, where there’s a smaller symbol that says, ‘Love Paper’. Love Paper is a project within Two Sides to promote the sustainability of print, paper and packaging. That symbol is the Love Paper mark, which is placed on printed products by companies who partner with the campaign. It signifies their commitment to sustainability. Big names like Oliver Bonas and Papier have already started using it, so keep your eye out for it!

    Love Paper campaign
    Love Paper Two Sides

  38. How to engage your customers

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    The DMA Event for Customer Engagement on 18 February 2020 discussed how to create user journeys with a contemporary touch. The event outlined how combining creativity and technology can improve your customer’s experience with your brand. These are the top seven tips we learned:

    1. Give the consumers their control back! More and more, people are feeling responsible for their own data. Customers are willing to share their personal data but want a better understanding of what’s being done with it. Brands need to start developing a clear statement for customers when asking to collect their personal data. If customers know it will benefit them, they’ll be more likely to agree.

    2. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. This is something that came up again and again. Just because you can send a personalised welcome pack to a cold target, doesn’t mean you should. Cold targets often find this intrusive and don’t respond positively. Just because there is a wealth of new marketing technology, doesn’t inherently mean it’s a good fit for you. As always, continue to think about your brand, what you sell and who you sell it to, and use what is relevant to you.

    3. Think in terms of experiences. The experiences in your marketing funnel aren’t just PR events and sales experiences. Nowadays even your branding, or the act of purchasing your product/service, are experiences for the customer.

    4. Know your audience. A few misconceptions about the general population were pointed out to us: did you realise millennials were born between 1980-1999 and now make up most of the current workforce? For most people, discounts and benefits are the most engaging call to action. But, they’re most likely to share their personal data not only if they get these benefits but if they’re relevant to them.

    5. Solving a problem isn’t enough anymore. Your marketing shouldn’t focus on just solving a problem. Your marketing strategy needs to create a user journey by having various touchpoints, offers and added benefits to the customer.

    6. Create personalised experiences through digital. One of the benefits of direct mail is that it is inherently interactive and can easily be personalised. However, there’s a lot you can learn through digital to tailor that personal message. By examining how someone got to your website, what they looked at and what they bought, you can tailor a follow up email or direct mail offer to suit their interests.

    7. Make an experience that’s made for your audience. Mi Rewards was a great example of this. Most loyalty programmes require you to have your loyalty card on hand. Colin Munro at Miconex found that this was a contributing factor to towns and cities not having a successful loyalty program – so Miconex adapted to suit their audience. They partnered with Fidel, the company which manages the data belonging to Visa and Mastercard to create a loyalty program in which customers link their Mi Rewards app directly with their debit card. Local businesses agree to participate and then offer discounts and offers to relevant users depending on where they’re spending.

  39. Myths and facts of direct mail

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    Direct mail is great – it can accurately target specific audiences and achieve fantastic results. But there are some myths out there that can make marketeers question this type of marketing.

    Here are 5 common myths from the world of direct mail and the facts you need to know.

    1. Myth: Direct mail is an outdated marketing platform.

    Fact: Direct mail continues to be a revenue generating marketing platform. Royal Mail found that 63% of people surveyed found it easier to browse lots of products by using a printed catalogue rather than online or in-store. More than half (52%) said they bought more than they originally intended to when shopping with a printed catalogue.


    2. Myth: Direct mail is only suitable for older people.

    Fact: Direct mail is popular with younger people. They don’t receive much, so it stands out. A study by MarketReach found that 32% of young people are more likely to trust information in print than on the internet. And, compared with the sample average, young people are 18% more likely to ‘welcome mail and find it memorable’.


    3. Myth: Direct mail doesn’t fit in to a digital world

    Fact: Programmatic mail allows businesses to integrate their online and offline communications. It’s one of many ways you can use mail as a part of an omnichannel marketing strategy to maximise results.


    4. Myth: Paper isn’t sustainable

    Fact: Paper is made from wood, one of the few truly renewable and sustainable resources. In order to recycle paper, recycled fibers need to be mixed with new fibers. The new fibres keep the recycled fibers from degrading and ensures the renewable cycle of paper production continues.


    5. Myth: Direct mail isn’t memorable

    Fact: Neuroscientists found that mail evokes a brain response that’s 33% stronger than email, and 35% stronger than social media. Mail activates the areas of the brain responsible for long-term memory encoding 49% more than email and 35% more than social ads. Engagement with an ad is triggered by something of personal relevance, and mail has the ability to cross the personal boundary and generate meaningful interest from your target.


  40. What’s your type this Valentine’s?

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    Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but what do you buy that loved one in your life?

    Valentine’s Day gifts can be a source of stress for a lot of lovers out there. Dragonfly specialise in all things print and know the difference between a cookie cutter average Valentine’s Day card, and a gift that lasts a lifetime.

    Here are our five recommendations to woo your valentine this 14th February:

    1. A modern and memorable card – There are plenty of ways that printers have modernised the traditional card. One of the best and most innovative is the card-that-you-plant. Instead of getting a throwaway card, buy one that will grow like your love. These ‘seed cards’ have a unique texture, because they are made of compostable paper that is embedded with fresh wildflower seeds. After you have enjoyed admiring your card on your mantlepiece, simply plant the card according to instructions and you’ll have gift that lasts (with appropriate water and sunshine) a lifetime. A gift that keeps on giving!

    2. Your story told through pictures – For those who don’t know how to put it into words, photo books have come to the rescue. Unlike the average card, photo books continue to carry meaning and remain a popular choice for a loved one’s gift. For Valentine’s Day you could create a small photo book of a recent holiday, Christmas, or one that’s simply full of moments you felt truly in love!

    3. The love letter – The one tradition that is truly timeless, a handwritten letter. Love letters let you say exactly how you feel, without the pressure of being in the moment. You can take all of the little sweet things you think but don’t say and put them in one romantic piece of literature that your partner will keep forever. Keep that in mind when choosing your paper, write your drafts on regular lined paper, but make sure you pick something beautiful for your final product!

    4. A meaningful map – Many people appreciate having personalised large prints to hang in their home. Often these prints feature their wedding venue, their first home or a map of their hometown. One of the most romantic options is a star map of what the stars looked like on a specific date, time and place. You could order a star map of the first night you kissed, the night you said I love you, the night of your engagement or the birth of your child. It’s not something your partner will expect, but it’s something we’re sure they’ll appreciate.

    5. A personalised book – Have you already gifted a photo book? Is your home already covered in prints, pictures and posters? Luckily, you still have the option of creating a personalised book. Some options only let you personalise very specific aspects of your story, such as the name and interests of the main character. Others, like the ‘Why I Love You and ‘Our Love Story’ books, have been created for Valentine’s Day gifting purposes. They make it easy for you to create a book tailor made to your relationship and story.

  41. Using technology to maximise creativity

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    Harnessing creative technology and data in advertising workshop

    The ‘Collider’ workshop hosted by the University of Edinburgh’s Design Informatics team in collaboration with the DMA and IPA Scotland was held yesterday, 5 February 2020 at the University’s Inspace on Crichton Street. It explored the ways in which data can lend itself to taking creative advertising to a whole new level. The event was attended by around 35 creatives from agencies in and around Edinburgh.

    Dragonfly’s own Graphic Designer, Rich attended and had a lot to say about his experience, here’s what you need to know.

    “Collider was a great workshop and a real eye opener into the advances in creative technology and data in advertising. Data is the future and the time to embrace it and apply it to our daily lives is now. There were presentations with five lightning provocations by the Design Informatics team, experts in emerging creative tech. These briefly covered the use of data in the pull economy through the Internet of Things, Neuroscience, Natural Language Processing, Smart Contracts and Locative Media.

    Smart Contracts

    The presentation by Chris Elsden on Smart donations and contracts was particularly fascinating. Exploring the future of data driven giving, Blockchain and volunteering on the ledger are all very exciting innovations for the fundraising sector. Smart Contracts are a concept which allows donors to pledge funds that are only released if the data-drive conditions are met. The charities can then utilise the data to have a more flexible and sustainable approach to fundraising.

    Photo: Rich pitching his idea

    Putting our learning to work

    It’s not a workshop if there is no work! The creatives were split into groups of six and given the challenge of pushing boundaries in developing an advertising campaign for a product, service or event. They were given an hour and a half. This was a fun exercise as the creatives shared and explored some crazy concepts under the guidance of a member from the Design Informatics team. The most interesting part was presenting these ideas back to the workshop in an interactive way.

    Photo: Rich and his team presented an idea focusing which combined AI and health care to benefit the elderly

    It was hilarious. Ideas ranged from mystery holidays based on your online habits, to tree planting schemes using the blockchain to minimise our carbon footprint, to a wellness device for the elderly that uses biometrics and AI to ease the pressure on the NHS, and everything in between.

    All in all, it was a great experience. It got the creatives out of their routines, provoked a lot of imaginative thinking and exercised the grey matter. I look forward to attending the next one!”

  42. Scottish Dental Care Group use door drop to grow local client base

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    The Dragonfly Agency recently completed an exciting project for Scottish Dental Care Group, who provide family-friendly dental care across Scotland. Dragonfly’s campaign focused on the Bishopton Dental Clinic, a new state-of-the-art practice in Greater Glasgow. While SDC Group have surgeries in all far corners of Scotland, each practice has an appealing local community feel. Bishopton Dental Clinic are a top tier dental team that can look after your whole family. Naturally, they wanted to share the exciting news of their recent opening with the local community.

    To achieve this, Dragonfly organised a door drop of nearly 50,000 leaflets to local residents. The leaflets introduced the dentists, nurses and specialists who work at the practice, and outlined the treatments they offer. This way, future patients could learn about the practice while becoming familiar with Bishopton Dental Clinic’s team and services. This raised awareness of the practice among locals, establishing the clinic as an important part of the community.

    To ensure the leaflets were delivered to the right audience, Dragonfly identified target areas based on distance to the practice by drive time and bus routes. This data was then cross-referenced with households that reported the highest response rates to mail, maximising the SDC Group’s budget and optimising engagement.

    The door drop’s call to action included incentives like a free dental implant consultation and a discount on tooth whitening. These showcase the variety of treatments offered at the clinic and encourages residents to make an appointment.

    The door drop both was successful in both building the awareness of the Bishopton Dental Clinic in the community and incentivising potential clients to try out the SDC Group’s range of treatments. Direct mail continues to be a vital part of the Scottish Dental Care Group’s marketing mix.

  43. Print Item of the Month – January

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    This month Dragonfly have chosen a less conventional print item of the month that crossed our path. On Blue Monday our Senior Account Manager Gary was commuting to the Edinburgh office through a chaotic Haymarket station, when his attention was caught by captivating bags being gifted to commuters by the Benholm Group. Benholm had the wonderful idea of combatting the negativity around Blue Monday. The paper bags were emblazoned with ‘Turn Blue Monday Green’ and inside was a delightful surprise: a plant and fact sheet about the benefits of greenery in an office.

    Benholm Group specialise in ‘plantscaping’ for corporate offices, so this was topical to their area of expertise. It stood out as a relevant and experimental marketing piece and momentum was built off of the Blue Monday social media storm. Genius work by Benholm!

    #Turnbluemondaygreen was such thoughtful idea and certainly worked in our office. We continue to water and keep our plant which brightens up the space. This is just one way you can turn print into an experience that evokes emotion and memorability. It’s clever, and Dragonfly absolutely loved it. Thank you to Benholm Group for the kind gesture!

  44. The A-Z of direct mail

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    The ultimate A – Z of direct mail marketing, brought to you by Dragonfly!

    A is for artwork – First impressions count! The look and feel of a direct marketing piece will grab your audience’s attention in the first millisecond. Make sure to follow brand guidelines and keep creative online and offline consistent.

    B is for budget – Direct marketing can be a cost-effective way to communicate with your customers and target customers. When plan a budget, take data processing, postage and production costs into consideration. Don’t think a one-off mailing will do the trick. DM is like a club, once you have paid the membership fee you must keep paying your monthly subscription, so keep mailing! 

    C is for copy – Keep copy simple. Use language that resonates with the audience you are speaking to. If it doesn’t make sense to you, will it make sense to them?

    D is for data – Your database is at the heart of all good marketing activity. The information you hold is gold dust that can tell you about trends and habits. Make sure you invest in keeping your data in good health – run health checks to remove duplicates, moved or deceased contacts. Why would you send mail to people to who are no longer there?

    E is for engagement – Different audiences engage in direct mail in different ways. Older generations think a brown envelope means a bill, whereas digitally savvy younger audiences who aren’t used to receiving mail appreciate quality paper stocks and high-quality designs brightly displayed on the outside of an envelope.

    F is for formats – There are many different direct marketing formats including direct mail shots, door drops, press inserts, email marketing, SMS and social media. The method most appropriate for your business will depend on who you are targeting, the message you want get across and the response you want to generate.

    G is for GDPR – It’s well over a year since GDPR came into force. And what a great thing it is! The ICO allow you to mail cold data under the Legitimate Interest Act, so you can still grow your database and speak to new and existing customers.

    H is for housemovers – Did you know there is a whole host of data sets available to target the 66 million people in the UK? Have you recently moved to a new house and been sent flyers from utility companies, tradesmen, or your local council? It’s not a fluke! This has all been planned based on data!

    I is for insight – In the world of marketing, finding good insights is vital to the success of campaigns. Any insight you gather is a true revelation of your consumer. If you know what they think, how they behave or what they feel, then you can target them in the way they want.

    J is for journey – What do you want your customer to do once they receive your direct mail piece? The conversation doesn’t end once an action has been completed. All good marketing campaigns are planned with a beginning, middle and end. Have you mapped your journey?

    K is for knowledge – Knowledge is king! What ways can you test and learn from your direct marketing? Keep a control pack and introduce a test element to each campaign to learn what your audience react to best. It could be changing the envelope shape, colour, adding personalisation or a specific picture.

    L is for learnings – Log all your learnings so you can track what works and what doesn’t. There are loads of great CRM and marketing systems out there that can help!

    M is for message – A direct marketing campaign with a clear call to action can help you boost your sales to existing customers, increase customer loyalty, recapture old customers and generate new business. Make sure the message is clear and relevant!

    N is for new business – How do you acquire new customers, new business, new contacts, new suppliers? Writing a letter, sending a brochure or mailing an offer are all great ways to engage a new audience.

    O is for omni channel – What’s the first thing people do when they receive direct mail? Go online! So, make sure your campaign message, creative and journey carries across omni marketing channels.

    P is for personalised – You get much more engagement and a better response when you add personalisation to mail. Think about it: if you were to send your friend John a card, would you just write ‘Hi!’ Or would you write ‘Hi John!’?   

    Q is for quality – The standard of marketing materials reflects your business. Quality can be created from formats, paper, foiling, design, die cutting, fonts, colours and texture. Or, from adding testimonials, Trust Pilot logos, pictures of ambassadors or the recycle logo.  

    R is for reading – Can your recipient clearly read your mail pack? And the call to action within it? Royal Mail have guidelines on fonts and sizes that can help your mail deliver. 

    S is for sales – Always include a call to action. What are you selling and how do you want the customer to buy that service or product? Make it stand out – a dark circle on a lighter background gets the best results.

    T is for targeting – A poorly planned or targeted campaign can be a total waste of money. Take time before you hit print to make sure you have considered who you are mailing and when it will land in their letterbox.

    U is for USP – What makes you stand out from your competitors? Use this unique selling point in your direct marketing as it will make you stand out from the crowd.

    V is for validation – Why should a consumer pick you? Validate your offer or service with pictures, case studies, examples, or welcome copy. There is plenty of space on a direct marketing piece to validate yourself. 

    W is for warehouse – Data warehouses, production warehouses, fulfilment warehouses, Royal Mail warehouses, paper warehouses… It all has to be stored somewhere. Mail is the third largest media channel in the UK by spend (after internet and TV)

    X is for xxxx – kisses! That’s it!

    Y is for YES! Yes, you can use direct marketing as part of your marketing plan! It’s easy and efficient and has worked for many brands for many years.

    Z is for zig zag – Zig zag fold also known as the concertina fold. There are hundreds of creative formats you can use in direct marketing. Being quirky can help you stand out.

  45. Print Items of the Month – December

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    This month we decided to expand our Print Item of the Month to include a few of the best pieces of Christmas print items that came through our letterbox in December. The first up was easily designated as a winner from the second we saw it – a cardboard advent calendar beautifully sculpted in the shape of a sleigh.

    This was sent to Stephanie from Deutsche Post as a Christmas thank you, so it works as an advertising piece, a thank you and a yummy advent calendar all in one! If that wasn’t enough, each day is a puzzle piece which can be rearranged on each side to make a new image inside of the sleigh.

    Another clear winner in our office were the food catalogues put out by each and every supermarket. We particularly liked Lidl and Asda’s. Lidl stood out with their smaller size and festive gold foiling. Asda’s Food Guide design exuded Christmas from front to back and had mouth watering images throughout.

    Speaking of food, we loved seeing all the festive menus put out on display this season. A few favourites were from some of Edinburgh’s best bars and restaurants.

    In Bruntsfield, Black Ivy’s elegant booklet menu features lovely imagery of the venue and the cosy Christmas interior which oozes festive cheer, whilst Montpeliers (Edinburgh) Ltd Group commissioned illustrator Lydia Bourhill to sketch a series of fabulous exterior prints of the venues. The Raeburn’s simple design had all the right elements and proved that you don’t need to go over the top to create good print marketing. Festive menus are something that you see so much of in December that you often think they need to really stand out, but you also need to make it easy for people to get all the information they need.

    john lewis catalogue 2019

    This year we also saw catalogues make a comeback in a big way. Amazon came out with their modern take on the old school toy catalogue. Their catalogue had no prices, instead you could scan QR codes to shop, with the catalogue content personalised to the household receiving it. This is the second year Amazon are running a catalogue, and though they’ve updated it with modern tech, they’re clearly continuing to use it because this nostalgic approach to shopping works. Physical print builds a better emotional connection, so even brands who don’t implement the tech of QR codes are making catalogues, everyone from the Tartan Blanket Co. to John Lewis, to Boots!

  46. Print Item of the Month – November

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    Our Print Item of the Month for November is shared between two different newspaper wraps which were carried by the Metro. We picked one wrap from People’s Postcode Lottery which we worked on, and one from Sainsbury’s which featured as a Print Item of the Week earlier this month.

    For those who may not know, wraps are a cover page that goes atop the normal front page and back page of a newspaper, in this case, Metro. They’re an effective print advertising platform, especially when done right. In November both People’s Postcode Lottery and Sainsbury’s used their wraps to work to their advantage in very different ways.

    People’s Postcode Lottery

    PPL have chosen a traditional advertising wrap style. They’ve bolstered up the eye catch factor by having their recognisable bright red colours feature heavily on both the front and back of the wrap. Once your eye is caught, you’ll recognise the usual People’s Postcode lottery logo, along with some familiar faces. Clearly, they’re on their way to knock on some doors in the lucky postcode of the day! You may even notice that their license plate reads ‘#30KADAY’, we love the little touches!

    Flip to the back and you’ll see this isn’t just any PPL advertisement. They’re announcing that in the month of December they will be awarded £30K to one lucky postcode each and every day. Note the van is driving away, then see in the copy stating that you have to sign up by midnight the next day in order to play in the December draws. In this ad, PPL have ensured that all the necessary elements are there. The message and call to action are both easy to find because of their attractive images and bright colours. Have you thought about how hard it is to make colours pop on a newspaper? Spoiler: we have.


    Unlike PPL, Sainsbury’s have opted to make their ad look like a traditional newspaper front and back. To understand how clever this is, you need to know that the Sainsbury’s Christmas ad came out a few days before this wrap featured (watch it here). You also need to know that the ad was set in the past and featured a bit of clementine stealing and orange gifting. So, the front features fake articles that feed off of the ad, with headlines like: ‘Clemen-crime strikes West End!’

    This copy and content directly relates to what happened in their Christmas advert. Metro readers who hadn’t seen the ad would be prompted to go online to watch it. On the other hand, Metro readers who had seen it might have a little laugh to themselves and read on. Attention to detail in this case is highly effective. Readers are encouraged to engage to find out more, or to search for more titbits that relate back to the ad. In any case, it builds brand awareness and props up their Christmas ad which faces stiff competition. This is one great example of how print marketing can compliment your digital marketing.

    The back page of the wrap featured an ad for easy peeler oranges. Again, this relates to the Christmas ad. But, it does also function as an attractive retro ad regardless of whether you know or care about the Christmas ad! And we all know oranges are a very popular purchase around Christmastime.

    These are two very different but equally effective ways to engage readers through print marketing. Well done to People’s Postcode Lottery and Sainsbury’s, our November Print Item of the Month winners!

  47. Charities to consider supporting this Christmas #UKCharityWeek

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    Known as the season for giving, Christmas is the most important time in the calendar for many charities to receive donations. Dragonfly love to support the charity sector in every way possible. So, in honour of #UKCharityWeek, we thought it would be apt to put together a list of charities to consider supporting this Christmas.

    Environmental Issues

    With Extinction Rebellion on every corner and Greta Thunberg nominated for a Nobel Prize, global warming and carbon footprints are on everybody’s mind. We pride ourselves at Dragonfly for being an eco-conscious company. Many of us were taught to recycle because of the misperception that paper kills trees. While recycling is a great value to instil, it’s taking a lot to reverse the misinformation surrounding paper’s environmental impact. Paper is one of the only truly sustainable media forms out there, which is one reason we’re so dedicated to it. There are many environmentally focused charities out there too, so it’s easy to find one that means a lot to you.  Want to protect our seas and oceans? Consider donating to SeaLegacy. Have a soft spot for polar bears? Check out the WWF’s ‘Adopt a Polar Bear‘ campaign. Coral reefs? There’s the Reef-World Foundation. Replanting trees? Plant one with World Land Trust!

    Animal welfare

    Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home

    Whether you’re a dog person or a cat person, there’s an animal charity for you. Cats Protection is a great UK wide charity who help rescue and rehome cats and kittens. Closer to home for us is the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home that rehomes and cares for homeless animals in the Lothian areas. On top of animal shelters, there are so many charities who work with big animal welfare issues. For example, issues of captivity, big game hunting, poaching and more. It’s easy to find one that tugs at your heartstrings. One of our favourites campaigns to keep track of this year was #LionsofLyon. It was an effort made by the Born Free Foundation, where they rehomed four lions from horrible conditions in France to a big cat sanctuary in Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa.

    Poverty in the UK

    When we think of charities to support at Christmas, our minds often jump to larger charities like UNICEF. The big names that fundraise to combat poverty and famine around the world. While we’ve been pointing out some types of charities that focus on other issues, it’s important to remember traditional ones that target issues of poverty. There are a lot of charities that fundraise to fight poverty. So if you’d like to make things more personal, consider one that focuses on poverty in your local area. Donate to, or volunteer at a local shelter. In Edinburgh, we have charities like Streetwork and Homeless Action Scotland which both focus on combating homelessness.

    Charities devoted to children

    Children1st Kiltwalk

    Children can sometimes find themselves in a vulnerable place without the support or understanding they need to get out of that position. Almost everyone knows a child that means a lot to them. So you can understand why charities that are dedicated to protecting and defending the rights of children are worth supporting. Our CEO Vicky is going so far as to trek in the Arctic in support of Children1st, a local Scottish charity focused on advocating for children. In part, she was motivated because of her own children and the knowledge that her sons are afforded many privileges that others can’t access. Supporting Children1st helps even that gap by advocating for Scottish children and giving them a reason to smile again.


    Illnesses effect everyone, and Christmas can be a difficult time of the year for those who are dealing with an illness in the family. Charities that are dedicated to illnesses come in all shapes and sizes. In some cases, they use donations to try finding cures. In others, they use them to help support people dealing with that illness. Consider the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which raised over $115 million in eight weeks alone. Those donations went on to fund nine global research collaborations that resulted in two new antisense drugs going to trial. Sometimes people think that donations to charities which focus on illnesses make little to no impact on advancing new research, but the Ice Bucket Challenge is proof that this isn’t true. Consider donating to a charity that focuses on an illness that has touched your life.

    Charities that make life easier

    Age UK Loneliness Campaign

    …For those in old age or living with a disability. Some charities, like Abbeyfield, are dedicated to sheltering and caring for elderly people. Other charities use donations to provide hearing aids and other accessibility tools. Or, to create activities and communities to combat loneliness in old age. There are many local charities that run programs like Age U.K.’s befriending service which combats loneliness by matching the elderly with youths. Similarly, there are many charities that make life easier for those living with disabilities by providing services and raising awareness. These charities advocate for changes to be made to make the world more accessible for those living with disabilities and often create a community full of support and services for them.

    If you’re really stuck for charities to donate to, just think of the many charity shops you see. There’s Shelter, the Salvation Army, Oxfam and Save the Children, to name a few. If you’re not in a financial position to donate, maybe it’s time to clear out your wardrobe and donate the things you love but don’t wear. Or, consider volunteering with a local charity. There are so many paths to supporting charities! You’ll always be able to find one that suits you.

    Click to read how Dragonfly works with charities.

  48. How mail delivers extra spending at Christmas

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    Retailers love Christmas. Why? Because it’s the biggest annual spending boom.

    Marketing departments start working a year ahead on crafting their in-depth Christmas marketing strategies with one main goal in mind: get their Christmas message heard by customers new and old. The biggest challenge they face is how to translate their message into spending at the busiest time of the year. Each year new strategies emerge, for example Gap completely cut out TV adverts this year. But statistics show that mail remains one of the most effective ways of engaging with your target audience. This is why direct mail and Christmas go hand in hand.

    Messages are in our email inbox one second and out the next. The tech revolution is telling us that online advertising is the way of the future, but direct mail marketing can be the difference between an average result and excellent results. Here are a few reasons to include mail in your Christmas marketing:

    On average, mail has a higher return on investment

    Advertising online can be a cheap way to get a lot of impressions, but mail delivers a higher rate of engagement and return on investment. Digital agencies have recently been shouting about how every £1 spent on influencer marketing sees a £6 return. Mail, on the other hand, can deliver an average £14 return for every £1 spent.

    Mail has a strong B2B and B2C marketing presence

    Mail is the most responsive advertising medium, with one study showing 60% of consumers responding eventually and 37% responding within 12 months. It has a high purchasing power, with 56% of consumers having purchased after receiving advertising mail. In an office, 32% of managers say they always open their mail and a further 30% say they open it if it looks relevant. Whether you’re a business or a consumer, mail stands out. You’re more likely to get engagement per mail than per email, that’s exactly what makes it more valuable.

    Mail makes email significantly more effective

    The strongest campaign is built by using both mail and email. Let each pick-up the other’s slack and compliment its strengths. Using both mail and email reiterates your campaign’s message in the minds of your target and can create a clear call to action which increases engagement. CentralMailing’s study compared mailed campaigns to similar campaigns that didn’t include mail, those that did had achieved over twice (205%!) the market share growth. If you want to increase your email pool, or if you want your emails to drive more engagement, consider using mail to achieve it. For example, retailers who rely on digital can really build their brand and their engagement by including the personal touch that is a Christmas card.

    Mail is worth testing during the high season

    Every year there are more and more Christmas advertisements. While the largest companies compete for the viral advert of the year, some will hardly be seen, and smaller companies will fall to the wayside. One jewellery company, Posh Totty, decided to trial a mailing catalogue in the run-up to Black Friday to see what effect it could have on their sales. As a Royal Mail First Time User they received a discount and were able to mail 50k catalogues to customers and prospects. The 25-page catalogue was highly successful as conversion to sales on their website tripled over the weekend. On average, those who received the catalogue spent 35% more than those that didn’t. Mail was the key that turned their Black Friday weekend into a success.

    Personalisation has more power in person

    All advertising emails are personalised, but we don’t expect the same standard from advertising mail. Famously, Emma Bridgewater, a pottery company that regularly mails Christmas catalogues, trialled a new design that proved highly effective. To stay competitive and stand out, Emma Bridgewater decided that they needed to up their targeting game. They took their catalogues to the next level by personalising the front cover. Typically, they would feature a variety of their iconic products on the front, likely a best-seller, to spike interest. The cover of their 2017 catalogue had a traditional Christmas mug – except instead of ‘Your name here’ they put the name of the recipient. This clearly landed well with their audience. It generated some social media buzz, and their ROI increased by 25%, proving all it takes is a small touch to go a long way.

    Direct mail and Christmas are a match made in heaven. Despite being thought of as a thing of the past, Christmas mail campaigns continue to prove to be wildly effective for companies across industries. At Christmastime, you need something personal if you want to stand out. Nothing screams personal like a personalised Christmas card, letter or catalogue. The letterbox is the one place where the public aren’t being overwhelmed with Christmas messages, use it to your advantage. Get in touch with us if you’d like some help on making your Christmas mail campaign a success. 

  49. How to create a comprehensive Christmas campaign

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    Christmas is in the air! Festivity and cheer are spreading through the city. Christmas markets are opening their gates, shops are putting out their Christmas window display and streets are glittering with fairy lights. People everywhere are overwhelmed with these Christmas messages – so how can you make yours stand out? Emails of adverts for the perfect Christmas gifts and promotional offers to meet Christmas budgets are starting to come from every platform. Heaps of Christmas cards fall upon Christmas mailers through letterboxes day after day. How can your company cut through the noise? Here’s the Dragonfly Agency’s guide to a comprehensive Christmas campaign:

    Use an omni-channel marketing strategy

    The first step to a well-planned, comprehensive Christmas campaign is to ensure it’s recognisable. This means developing an omni-channel strategy, one that covers all your targeted areas of marketing. Include digital and direct to say the least. If your biggest revenue-generating platform is TV, ensure your Christmas campaign has a TV advert. Simple enough? Even something as easy as following up a mailing campaign with an email aimed towards those who didn’t engage the first time can be wildly effective at provoking engagement.

    Pay special attention to timing

    You can understand then why timing is everything. Each component of your strategy needs to work in time with its complementary components. Make sure your mailing is going out at the right time so it reaches people’s homes at the same time the rest of your campaign has gone live. This will help people recognise your advert, and you’ll stand out from the crowd. If you’re sending a follow up email, make sure you’ve given them an appropriate amount of time to engage with their mail. If you’ve included a call to action to go online to a specific URL, or to use a code, make sure those components are already functioning before you mail those pieces. Without accurate timing in place, your omni-channel strategy will fall flat.

    Get creative with design and format

    Don’t forget design! The logic and planning that needs to go into creating an omni channel strategy and to ensure the timings are perfect can make everything seem quite logistical. Get creative with your creative! Your piece still needs to stand out from the crowd. Use previous mailings to decide which styles are most effective with your audience and build from that. A print piece that is well crafted with complimentary colours, luxurious quality paper and an overall interactive and eye-catching design will be a winner in the Christmas mail pile.

    If you need help with your Christmas mailings, please get in touch as soon as possible.