Royal Mail is to launch a service early next year that will measure the effectiveness of clients' advertising campaigns across all media.
The service has been in development for three years, in conjunction with an unnamed blue-chip partner.
It will see Royal Mail working with clients to evaluate which media works best for their campaigns, including TV, press and direct mail.
The work is part of Royal Mail's repositioning as an organisation committed to improving the targeting of marketing communications.
Royal Mail Media Markets managing director Adam Novak said: 'There is definitely demand out there from clients for improving the accountability of their advertising. Royal Mail can no longer ignore the importance of media other than direct mail, and we believe this service will help clients see how all media work together to produce effective response.'
Novak also defended Royal Mail's investment in the controversial Postal Preference Service (PPS), and hinted that it was likely to be the first in a series of tie-ups with the commercial sector to offer new services to customers. He said: 'We are setting up a research monitor to see how the PPS affects consumers' reaction to receiving direct mail.'
Novak refused to comment on whether Royal Mail would be able to remove its branding from PPS should research find that consumers are angered by continuing to receive mail in categories from which they had opted out. 'I don't believe there is any risk to the Royal Mail brand from our involvement,' he said.
His comments came as new Royal Mail-backed research revealed that 62% of firms do not measure customer retention in any practical form. The report, called 'State of the Nation', which was co-sponsored by IBM, found that effective customer management could save firms pounds 5bn a year.