January 27, 2012

Direct marketing trends for 2012

by Chris Combemale, chief executive, Direct Marketing Association

It looks like there’s another bumpy year ahead for the world in 2012 – but what challenges and opportunities await direct marketers specifically? We asked experts from the fields of data, creative, mobile commerce and social media to make their predictions for 2012.

Direct marketing in 2012 – the big picture

The war on waste begins

In November 2011, the DMA signed a historic agreement with Defra committing the direct marketing industry to a series of tough targets to cut physical waste over the next three years. The commitment to cutting waste has been set out in a new Voluntary Producer Responsibility deal.

Consumer opt-outs will be under one roof

By 2014, the direct marketing industry will have to achieve a 25% increase on the industry’s current use of suppression files and retain established direct mail recycling rates. Forty per cent of all direct mail produced will have to conform to the requirements of a new industry environmental standard that will replace PAS 2020.

The first changes the direct marketing industry will notice will be the launch of a new website, scheduled for April 2012, that will bring all the consumer preference services together under one roof.

Unaddressed mail to be covered by opt-out scheme

The DMA will be extending the existing Mailing Preference Service for addressed mail to also include the opt-out service for unaddressed mail. The year ahead will no doubt see difficult trading conditions for UK businesses with the environment understandably low on their list of priorities.

The DMA believes embracing these environmental measures should come at no additional cost to business and will be providing its members with the help and guidance they need to do better business.

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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January 19, 2012

Secured Mail Purchases DHL’s UK Downstream Access Business

Independent Postal operator Secured Mail, the main partner in Romax’s Downstream Access distribution, has today acquired the Downstream Access (DSA) Division of DHL Global Mail UK Ltd.

The deal increases Secured Mail’s share of the market and confirms its status as one of the major players in the UK postal sector.

Mark Bigley, managing director of Secured Mail, said: “This is a significant acquisition for Secured Mail that clearly signals our ambitions for the future.

“DHL Global Mail UK’s network and national coverage in the Downstream Access market, allied to Secured Mail’s existing services and client-base, creates a significant player in the postal market and cements our position in the marketplace”

This adds increasing strength to Romax’s offering in DSA services as this strategic acquisition offers our existing and future customers access to the most transparent and visible postal operator in the UK.

Secured Mail was founded in 2006 and earlier this month was ranked second on the Sunday Times Fast Track, the list of the UK’s Top 100 fastest-growing private companies. Turnover in 2011 was £48million.

Secured Mail’s head office is in Warrington, with work from Romax distributed to local facilities in Dartford, Kent. The company now employs 205 and clients include Romax, Amazon, Centrica and Southern Water.

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

January 19, 2012

Save money at the bar – and no regrets in the morning!

When was the last time the word ‘Bar’ and ‘Money’ were used in the same sentence and you did not have some form of regret the following day?

As communication costs increase there are intelligent ways to save even more money on letter format mailings through Romax, and this is not the beer talking! Reduce Your Postage Costs Through – OCR Optical Character Recognition or CBC Customer Bar Coding.

As a Royal Mail and DSA Accredited site for CBC and OCR, Romax can achieve additional postage savings for you if you allow us to manage your mail campaigns.

CBC provides maximum savings BUT does involve adding a visible bar-code to the mail-piece. This does not always suit certain marketing pieces BUT beware – Royal Mail does add bar-codes to your mail-pieces anyway during the process of sorting. It is much better to adopt the barcode and design your product/envelope design around a machineable mail piece, rather than have your main message potentially obliterated by sorting machine bar-code or label.

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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January 18, 2012

Removal Of Postal Price Controls Reveals Additional VAT Trap For Advertising Mail

We have reproduced the following blog originally written by http://www.hellmail.co.uk 17 January 2012 – Hellmail Postal News

Proposed changes to postal regulations to remove price controls on Royal Mail’s commercial bulk mailing services will lead to its exemption from VAT liabilities leaving companies exposed to further cost increases, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has warned.

Under current HMRCguidelines, bulk mail is exempt from VAT charges. The removal of price controls, which was proposed by new postal regulator Ofcom in a public consultation that closed earlier this month, would automatically make bulk mail services and products liable for VAT under HMRC rules. Unless Ofcom revises its proposals as a result of responses to its consultation, then restrictions on price controls will be lifted on 2 April 2012.

While most businesses can claim back VAT payments, charities and companies working in the financial services – two of the biggest users of advertising mail – cannot. A mandatory 20 per cent increase, coupled with a potential rise in product and service costs, would seriously damage the long-term prospects of advertising mail, Mike Lordan, chief of operations for the DMA, has stated. Commenting on the development, Lordan said:

“The prospect of VAT charges is a serious financial issue for users of bulk mail, but the industry is being left in the dark by HMRC and Royal Mail who have yet to clarify the details about the changes.

“We need to know if the possibility of adding VAT is based on current guidelines or some as-yet unannounced plans, and if VAT will be collected from 2 April or if there will be a grace period. Most companies can claim back VAT, but this additional cost needs to be factored into cashflow planning. Financial services businesses and charities need to factor this extra cost into their budgets.

“These additional costs could well prove to be the final straw for many companies that will abandon the medium in favour of more competitively-priced marketing channels.”

In December 2011, the DMA convened a high-level summit of business mail users, postal service providers, senior marketers and industry trade associations, to address industry concerns about the recent Ofcom public consultation on a raft of controversial changes to postal regulations to boost Royal Mail’s profitability. The DMA submitted a formal response to the consultation outlining its concerns with the proposals on behalf of its members.

Companies that use mail for sending customer bills or statements were squeezed by a 15%-20% price increase in 2011 on the cost of transactional bulk mail services. Many have indicated they plan to withdraw from using mail if Royal Mail takes advantage of its new commercial freedom to impose another round of large price increases.

Commercial bulk mail users represent Royal Mail’s biggest customers and underwrite the cost of an affordable Universal Service.

Comment From ROMAX: Please note however that Current HMRC rules on VAT for Charity advertising ARE VAT Exempt for the entire process of the advertising – including print and postage (even DSA postage that is subject to VAT). For more information call Romax 0845 644 1892.

January 5, 2012

2012 – A Big Jump Forward

Being a forward looking bunch here at Romax, we are pleased to announce the arrival of new equipment to our industry leading facility in Greenwich, London.

Alongside our enviable Art-working & Design Studio, Data Analytics Department and Colour Print and Personalisation services, we are pleased to announce the arrival of new mail enclosing equipment.

This big jump forward improves efficiency, adds clarity and separates us from the rest!

From the end of week commencing 9thJanuary 2012, we will have a second polywrap line and a purpose built selective inserter, inline collator and folder for envelope enclosing work as well.

Our continued investment in new equipment and employee training ensures that our services will always be best suited to meet your marketing communication needs and assures you of our on-going commitment to providing our clients with the latest technology, skills and experience, at the best price.

Do bear with us however though. In order to get the kit in place and fully functional, we will be experiencing a day or two of flux between 9th and 11th January. We have scheduled this and do not expect this upgrade in facilities to cause any client disruption.

Romax operates an open door policy and we genuinely enjoy showing clients around. This policy will remain in place during these days, but please accept our apologies in advance for the ‘organised chaos’ over these three days.

We look forward to working with you in 2012 and beyond.

 

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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