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Case Study: Bank Finds Multi-Channel Success

Date: April, 2014 --

In this Fresh Data Case Study we’ll detail how a Danish financial services organization answered the question as to whether sending messages in multiple mediums had any effect on response and brand recollection. In this case, the primary mediums involved were postal direct mail and email marketing. Over the course of the study we’ll outline how a multi-channel approach impacted response versus a single medium program and provide the numbers to back up the ultimate organizational conclusions. This case study was assembled by Data Services, Inc. in cooperation with our friends at the Prescott Report.


Readers will know that we have great respect and even a bit of affection for the Danish Post, which has over the last few years let the English-speaking marketing world learn about some of their tests of email versus the letter. The exercises are always scientifically constructed and the results are never in question. 


This continues to be a rather courageous thing to undertake for the Post. Some years ago the government declared that it had no intention of ever again communicating with citizens using paper, and thereupon gave everyone an “e-Box” and a digital address. After all, the popular consensus was that email was cheaper and letters were soon to go the way of the dinosaur. The Post thereupon decided to prove the “experts” wrong, and it has continued to do so. 


The Ikano Bank is a retail bank established in 1978 by the IKEA family. When you sell furniture to thrifty consumers, offering them credit through a related bank which removes the debt exposure from the operating company’s books makes sense on a number of levels.


Over the years the bank has serviced over one million Danish customers. Keeping pace with its international retail footprint where necessary/possible, it has opened consumer banking operations throughout Scandinavia and in Russia, Germany, Poland and the UK. 


Turning to this case study, Ikano’s operation in Denmark had begun in 2010 to offer customers an increased credit line through a variety of combinations of email and letters, always a two-message exercise. But it wasn’t sure which combination was optimal. (We would love to share what it’s criteria for selection of targets for the offer was, but that information has not been disclosed.)   


Consequently, the objective of the test was to determine which combination of both email and letter communication of the offer was most effective. Customers who had provided their email addresses received promotions by both letter and email, while others received only letters. Which was optimal to generate response to the offer, assuming you would contact the customer twice? One medium, or both?


Some 4,000 customers were selected to receive the same offer directly, with a follow-up communication thereafter, as shown in the table below. 838 were then contacted by telephone and questioned about their reaction to the campaign. The results are clear that recall improves when a letter is used, and especially when that letter is used in combination with an email. And doesn’t a letter just scream out, “Open me!” in a way an email cannot.




Email + email

Letter + letter

Letter + email

Email + letter

Opened offer





Read all or part of the contents





Remembered offer






            Ikano’s Marketing Coordinator, Malene Lindgren, speculated that when a customer is very inclined to accept an offer of an increased credit line, the email will get a quick reaction, “but for customers who are a little more hesitant an extra reminder letter delivered physically to their doors is the most effective solution.”

            So another illustration that multi-channel trumps single-channel marketing and that those seeking to get by with the latter do so in the face of growing evidence.

            Be sure to contact Data Services, Inc. to discuss how our benchmark platforms and data management solutions make it easier than ever get a 360 degree view of your marketing universe and provide the tools you need to create and manage your omni-channel initiatives.