JICMAIL Discovery

DataTile’s role in the development of JICMAIL’s Discovery Portal


Advertising mail is the third largest media channel by spend in the UK. It is used across all business and public sectors and by all sizes of organisations, from the smallest local charity to the largest financial institutions in the country. With huge volumes of mail being sent each day, it is imperative that organisations have a way to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of their mail activities; from the campaign planning stages through to evaluating the success of their marketing. An independent, industry-accredited and accepted source of data was required to establish and justify mail’s place within media campaigns.

Since 2017, JICMAIL has been providing the advertising mail industry, advertisers and agencies with the data and analysis tools to make informed planning and marketing decisions.


JICMAIL (the Joint Industry Committee for Mail) is a not-for-profit organisation that conducts and curates the gold standard independent audience research into mail. Joint Industry Committees (JICs) provide currency data: the single version of truth for the media channel.

There was a need to replace the current Discovery system that had served JICMAIL and its subscribers so well for many years but was now struggling with the growing size and complexity of the datasets.



Our job was to craft the JICMAIL Discovery 3.0 portal, which entailed a comprehensive overhaul of the existing Discovery Portal. While it was imperative to retain its user-centric design and familiar interface, we needed to augment its functionalities. This enhancement was not only about adding features but also about ensuring the portal’s scalability and equipping it with the agility for advanced statistical analyses.

The portal masterfully amalgamates multiple datasets, presenting them coherently within an interactive dashboard.

These datasets in SPSS format are shipped quarterly by KANTAR together with anonymised visuals of ad mail. The ingestion of this data has been meticulously streamlined, clocking in at under 5 minutes. Notably, this process isn’t just swift — it's designed to be scalable and future-ready.

Survey results from nearly

24,000 households

Comprehensive Mail Item database detailing the journey of

280,000 mail items

An advertiser attribution database linking Mail Items to over

6,000 advertisers

We chose to work with DataTile because they have a fast, flexible and dynamic dashboarding system that promised to take the delivery of mail insights to our expanding user-base of advertisers and agencies to the next level. In that, DataTile have not disappointed. The system is intuitive, the team are responsive, and the new insights that we’ve been able to deliver related to customisable target audiences and mail attention metrics have transformed the pace at which our award-winning data is harnessed in to planning and measurement insight. The addition of an “Advanced Analytics” tool to enable our users to dive even deeper in to our data, has been another key development and sets JICMAIL Discovery apart as an example of a best-in-class insight delivery system for a Joint Industry Currency

– Ian Gibbs, JICMAIL’s Director of Data Leadership and Learning

The DataTile solution

The journey from the initial conversation to the final delivery of the JICMAIL Discovery Portal spanned six months. Adopting an agile development approach, we held weekly meetings that facilitated real-time adjustments to technical specifications. This iterative process was instrumental in accommodating the evolving feedback from the JICMAIL team.While the DataTile platform's inherent capabilities met most of JICMAIL’s needs, certain gaps remained. To bridge these, we enhanced and expanded the platform's functionalities. This adaptability not only addressed JICMAIL's specific requirements but also positioned us to handle even the most specialised requests in the future.

Key pillars of our solution:


This was a non-negotiable requirement. As new data is continuously incremented in time, the DataTile team architected an automated, robust pipeline that involves auto-coding and classifying hundreds of thousands of brand titles. This ensures that the latest data is available to users as soon as possible without causing any interruptions to their tasks.


Thanks to DataTile's inherent functionality, updating or introducing new dashboards, analytics, and reports to the JICMAIL Discovery Platform is straightforward. This ease of use eliminates the need for intricate scripting or high-cost development in the future.


While a significant majority (90%) of the Discovery Portal leveraged DataTile's standard WYSIWYG capabilities, JICMAIL had specific methodological calculations tailored to their clientele. To cater for these unique needs, we introduced highly specialised sub-applications termed 'Portlets'. Designed specifically by the DataTile team for this project, Portlets facilitate the embedding of third-party microservices into dashboards, ensuring data security and consistency are uncompromised.

Data Consistency and Reliability

The heartbeat of the DataTile platform is its bespoke vectorised statistical database. This foundational element guarantees not only scalability and performance but also unwavering consistency between raw research data and the figures showcased on a user's screen or numbers exported to PowerPoint slides.


JICMAIL Discovery 3.0

The platform can support hundreds of users simultaneously and effortlessly scales to handle increased load. With a user base already in the thousands, it was crucial for the system to maintain an intuitive and recognisable interface, thereby reducing the need for extensive re-training.A standout addition is the innovative crosstab feature, which expands the analytical possibilities. This enhancement goes beyond the confines of pre-set reports and dashboards, delivering added value to both subscribers and the client.

Functionality of the JICMAIL Discovery Portal:

Comprehensive dashboards for fast and effective decision-making;
Tailored ROI and ACT partner tools;
Detailed audience and competitor insights;
“Mail Journey” reporting;
Do-it-yourself crosstab analysis for advanced data analysis;
Automated PowerPoint report generation;
Convenient Excel data exports;
Granular access management, including a self-registration option for end-users.

Outcome and the Path Ahead

DataTile didn't just deliver Discovery 3.0; they surpassed the stipulated project specifications. Designed with an eye on future expansion, the platform features

Cutting-edge market research analytics.
Agile and interactive reporting mechanisms.
Swift, automated report generation.
Flexibility in loading and processing additional data sets as necessary.

With this foundation, JICMAIL is poised to continually enhance its analytical prowess, ensuring it remains attuned to the evolving needs of its subscribers for years to come.

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