Case Study: Postal Solutions


Postal Solutions is a consulting agency based in Belgium whose clients are national postal agencies. Postal Solutions specializes in helping its clients develop products and services to build the volume of direct mail. While advertisers in the United States know how effective direct mail can be, it is an underused tool in many other parts of the world, according to Postal Solutions. In the United States, 40% of all advertising dollars is spent on direct mail – even more than what is spent on advertising via television. In other countries, the percentage of advertising budgets spent on direct mail is far smaller.

Business Challenge #1: Gathering Data on a Global Scale

Despite the size and importance of the direct mail industry around the world, there is little data that can be compared across markets, making it difficult to identify what is working where and why. Postal solution wanted to:

Managing a study of this scale was, to say the least, extraordinarily complex.

The Solution

Postal Solutions decided to use the Apian SurveyPro family of products to design and manage surveys, and to analyze the respondents’ data. Because of the differing levels of technology available at different postal services, Postal Solutions chose to host parallel surveys using multiple formats. All participants were sent a printed survey by mail. In addition, all participants with email addresses were sent an email announcement that included a link to a web-based survey, giving them the option of responding either by web or by traditional mail. As needed, some participants were also contacted by telephone. As new users of the software, Postal Solutions had questions during survey creation and hosting. When they called Apian Technical Support, they were pleased to find the response both helpful and effective.

The Results

By hosting parallel surveys in a range of formats, Postal Solutions was able to receive a 70% combined response rate over a three month period of research. Offering a web-based survey option significantly improved the response rate:

Note: Multiple surveys were sent to reach the 70% coverage rate.

Business Challenge #2: Gathering Data Fast for a Presentation

On another occasion, Postal Solutions was preparing a presentation for an international conference. The details of what they were to present were all ready, but to illustrate a key point, Postal Solutions wanted to collect data from direct mail users within the UK. The only problem was that the conference was only two weeks away.

The Solution

Using the Apian SurveyPro family of products, Postal Solutions was able to create a web-based survey and analyze the response data very quickly. In less than two weeks, they were able to do the following:

The Results

Postal Solutions was able to collect data from 160 respondents and update their presentation, just in time for the conference.

Benefits of Using Apian SurveyPro Family of Products

One of the greatest benefits of using the Apian SurveyPro family of products was that it allowed Postal Solutions to combine results from both web and paper surveys into a single database. This allowed Postal Solutions to deliver their survey using multiple formats and quickly analyze the results. Postal Solutions was especially encouraged at the benefits derived from including the web-based survey. Specifically, they found that the web-based survey provided:

Higher response rates

Postal agencies who received an email message announcing the survey with an option to complete it on the web were more likely to send a response than those receiving only a printed version of the survey.

Quicker results

Responses via web-surveys could be gathered and processed significantly faster than those via traditional mail. In the first case, collecting responses from 80% of participants who could be contacted only by traditional mail took over nine weeks. Collecting the same response rate from those who had email or web access took only five weeks.

Higher quality responses

Respondents tended to supply more complete answers to open-ended survey questions when replying via the web than by printed survey.

For more about Postal Solutions, see their web site at