Mailing Council - Feb 17 news | DMA

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Mailing Council - Feb 17 news

OFCOM releases monitoring report

If you’re struggling to sleep at night, this could be the cure you need. Alternatively, if you operate within the direct mail sphere then the content of OFCOMs annual monitoring of the postal market report might be of interest to you. You can find it HERE.

The report shows that overall letters volume declined by around 4% in 2014/15, but access volumes increased slightly (probably due to Whistl’s withdrawal from end-to-end) and that access accounts for 58% of Royal Mail’s letter volumes.

The rest, you can find out for yourselves – I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!

Royal Mail financial results

The results are in! Royal Mail results for half year to September 2016 were as follows:

  • UK postal revenue down 1%; overall letters volume down 4%, although parcels up 2% in volume and 3% in revenue
  • Advertising mail revenue down 8% - this big volume drop between August and September has been attributed to uncertainty over Brexit. Hasn’t everything…
  • Note: industry feedback seems to suggest that record numbers of companies are using direct mail, but doing smaller volume mailings – this might be good news if better targeting shows better ROI!
  • Royal Mail Wholesale 2017 prices were issued in early October. Yet again the increases average significantly above inflation at around 2.8%. The increase on advertising mail, however, has been restricted to around 1%
  • Royal Mail advise that around 25% of eligible Retail mail volume has now migrated to Mailmark, including 50-60% of CBC volume. The low figure was explained by the fact that Retail had lower volume and less sophisticated (in terms of data) mailers than Wholesale, where the percentage of eligible volume is now at 74%, with a target of 90% by end of April 2017
  • Royal Mail has also relaunched SMP – the Strategic Mailing Partnership – aimed at mailing houses. The relaunch has been prompted by a change of sponsor within Royal Mail, from Royal Mail Retail to Royal Mail Wholesale.

Scam Mail

An article in the Daily Mail, talking about how Royal Mail was profiting from scam mailers using Royal Mail bulk mail contracts to take advantage of vulnerable people in the UK, prompted a summons for representatives from the industry to meet the Minister on the 17th October to discuss what they intended to do.

All the MDs of the UK postal providers met and agreed a Code of Practice that stated:

  1. We will actively work together, and with law enforcement agencies, to tackle the scourge of scam mail
  2. We will move quickly to proactively share intelligence on scam mailings with each other as well as the details of any suspect mailings
  3. We will terminate any mailing identified by law enforcement agencies as being used to attempt to scam the recipients
  4. We will ensure that each company’s standard terms and conditions contain an appropriate clause, consistent across the industry, to enable us to clamp down even harder on scam mailings
  5. We will work with the broader communications community and law enforcement agencies to work to prevent scams perpetrated against the public, whether it is through letters, electronic communications, telephone calls or other means

In addition the police are setting up a specialist unit to deal with scam mail and Trading Standards are reviewing their processes so that they can react more quickly. All three parties (postal operators, police and Trading Standards) have to report back to the Minister in 3 months’ time on their progress and how they are going to improve co-ordination.

Royal Mail is also setting up a helpline for posties so that they can report anyone receiving a suspiciously high volume of mail. Royal Mail will be in contact with Social Services, who will intervene if appropriate.

All postal operators will be communicating with customers over proposed changes to contracts to allow operators to open and/or delay potential scam mail.

Any changes need to have to sufficient notice to enable these changes to be co-ordinated across the industry.

Royal Mail incentives

If you already use direct mail, produce it, or are thinking about using it, then Royal Mail does have a number of current incentives, designed to make direct mail worth your while. Naturally, none of them are listed on Royal Mail’s website. Thankfully, I’ve trawled the internet for you and found them on the website. You can review them HERE.

Incidentally, if you are involved in direct mail – not sure why you’d be reading this if you aren’t, but hey – and haven’t, as yet, seen the research conducted by MarketReach, then you lead a sheltered existence. Enlighten yourself by visiting the website.

Until next time.


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