December 31, 2014

Is your direct mail supplier up to standard?

Quality check: Is your direct mail supplier up to standard?

Whether it’s passing the Christmas deadline panic, starting a new financial year, or simply being inspired by the fresh start, the new year often prompts organisations to carry out reviews. That’s certainly true users of direct mail, but one review you may overlook is the quality record and procedures of your direct mail supplier.

Over recent years, the economic downturn has rightly focussed service buyers on cost, what is clear now is that the best companies, despite having to tighten their belts too, have continued to provide the highest level of service and continued to invest in employees, equipment and technology, ensuring process and security are paramount.

While vetting such procedures may seem like unnecessary red tape, it can be a smart long-term move. Most organisations that use direct mail specialists do know better than to simply pick the cheapest option, but relying on past performance and even personal experience when selecting and maintaining a supplier is inadequate. That simply tells you everything has gone great so far, but doesn’t adequately address the risks that the service might drop off in the future.

That’s where quality procedures come in. There’s no such thing as a 100% guarantee, but looking for direct mail specialists with proven and accredited quality procedures is the best way to make sure the fundamentals are in place and risks are minimised.

 

So what to look for? Numerous ISO standards measure whether a company is up to scratch on a range of specialist procedures, usually through independent accreditation and assessment. Some key standards to look out for in a direct mail specialist are ISO 27001, which covers the way firms handle and store confidential data such as customer information; ISO 14001, which covers environmental management; and ISO 9001, which covers the overall way a company maintains quality, meeting customer needs while still complying with legal regulations.

You can also look for the Investors in People standard (managed by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills rather than the ISO.) This uses a recognised (basic), then bronze, silver and gold standard to assess whether a firm has a clear business plan, realistic and measurable targets for achieving the plan, and effective systems for managing staff and harnessing their ideas.

Dealing with direct mail suppliers who meet the standard is useful to meet your own business’s ethical value framework. Just as significantly, firms that meet the standard are more likely to be able to grow, adapt and maintain excellent service to customers rather than being inflexible, stagnant and unable to deal with potential crises.

Remember that not every reputable direct mail supplier will have opted to get accreditation for standards, perhaps because it feels the administration involved is not worthwhile. But never be afraid to ask about a potential supplier’s quality procedures because ultimately the way they run their business directly affects the service they can give you.

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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December 19, 2014

Postage price rises: what next for direct mail?

Postage price rises: what next for direct mail?

 

Royal Mail driving the postage price rise price rises are not  a surprise in themselves, but those in the direct mail industry were generally shocked to discover that, with very little notice, pricing changes expected for April 2015 will now take effect from the week beginning 2nd January 2015. It’s likely to make many rethink their strategy, but could mean more effective mail marketing for some.

One important effect of the price changes could be that it improves the economics of using machine-readable addressing, such as barcodes, optical character recognition and the Royal Mail’s Mailmark system. For first-class deliveries, using such addressing can now save as much as eight pence per letter for both advertising and business mail. It’s certainly possible that some firms which might have taken their business elsewhere after the price changes may instead figure it’s better to remain with their preferred mail supplier, but adopt machine-readable addressing.

Will this effect smaller firms cutting back on direct mail? With the overall quantity of poorly targeted mailouts received by householders dropping, it’s certainly possible the recipient will pay more attention to better profiled more pertinent individual pieces. Ironically, that could even mean the return on investment actually rises for those companies that invest further in the direct mail but apply improved data process, following the price changes.

Catalogue companies could be most affected by the price changes. The sheer weight of catalogues makes them most susceptible to price increases, meaning retailers will either need to absorb the extra expense or reduce page counts to keep costs constant. Either way, many will have to concentrate on making catalogues more effective to boost orders if they are to avoid passing on the added costs to consumers. One way that this is being ‘rethought’ by Royal Mail is to shrink the postal weight bands for advertising catalogue companies and bring in, for example, 10g incremental price brackets so that should a retailer have 8 extra pages of a brochure that takes it over 100g, they will pay for the increment by weight. This is being considered – watch this space.

The price changes could also bring more attention to direct mail specialist firms which handle Direct Mail advertising on behalf of clients. The price rise means such firms will need to work even harder to justify their services, but will also mean the difference between the most and least effective specialists will become ever more significant.

One thing we at Romax know is that the direct mail and postal market provides marketers with a complex array of variables to consider whan planning their campaign: data, weight, format, machineability, stock, message postal service and of course these costs in relation to ROI. The other thing we know is how to take away  those potential pitfalls for a marketing department, save money and add value to client campaigns.

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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December 15, 2014

Citylink Post to Cease UK Services in January 2015

Citylink

Citylink Post to Cease UK Services in January 2015

The Downstream Access (DSA) wholesale postal market in the UK, will see further consolidation of service providers from 9th January 2015, as Citylink Post remove their UK postal service.

Citylink Post have been using Secured Mail to manage their white labelled service for many months, and it appears likely that the thin margins achieved to remain competitive have resulted in the service becoming non-viable for Citylink to continue.

As new postage prices come into effect in January 2015, this leaves 4 main suppliers of Postal Services in the UK domestic market: Royal Mail, Whistl (the rebranded TNT Post), Secured Mail and UK Mail.

Romax continue to provide the most cost effective postal costs for our clients by researching the 4 main suppliers as well as other Ofcom licenced postal suppliers.

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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December 11, 2014

Postage Price Increase

Royal Mail

Postage Price Increase – January 2015

As previously reported in a previous blog on postage increases being brought forward to January rather than the historical April increase, Royal Mail have now released their new pricing structure for the New Year.

In Summary:

  • Advertising Mail will increase on average by 2.5%
  • Business Mail will increase on average by 3.2%
  • Publishing Mail will increase on average by 3.2%

Romax have now received wholesale pricing through our Downstream Access postage suppliers and we are now entering the figures into our summary matrix to calculate the best price and the best supplier for each service.

For an overview of pricing visit Royal Mail

Romax offer a full range of postage services and provide clients with the most cost effective route to market for Direct Mail accessing End to End suppliers, for B2B and B2C postal requirements.

Romax have invested in Mail Mark (the cheapest route to market for postal services) and as an early adopter have the facility to commence Mail Mark mailings from January 2015. Utilising a 2D barcode generated by the data, this Mail Mark, acts as an information ‘holder’ for sorting the outbound post, tracking the postal item to delivery and for creating reports for clients to review fall to earth drop dates amongst other useful tools.

For further information on Mail Mark see the video here.

To find out how we can save you postage costs and take full advantage of Mail Mark and our other discounted mail services and direct mail marketing, please contact us, please email: hello@romax.co.uk or call 020 8293 8550

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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December 4, 2014

Increase Customer Engagement Over Christmas With Direct Mail

Increase customer engagement over Christmas with direct mail

Getting customers interested in or engaged with your brand during the Christmas season can be tricky. While consumers are more willing to spend their hard-earned money during this time of year, they’re also bombarded by adverts and seasonal marketing campaigns, all clamouring for their attention. As such, it can be difficult for any single business to stand out from the crowd and really engage them. So how can your business grab the customer’s attention? The answer, of course, is direct mail.

Sending out physical mail to attract customers  has several undeniable advantages over other forms of advertisement. The directness of one personalised form of advertising in the modern world is an advantage in itself. Consumers might see hundreds of televised and online ads throughout the course of the day, but the amount of promotional material they receive in the mail will be much more limited. This means they’re more likely to remember content from a supplier using a direct mail campaign, because it does not have to compete with reams of similar content. However, this is not the only advantage offered by direct mail advertising.

Unlike other forms of marketing, direct mail has a tactile quality, and this is its key strength. Whether you’re reaffirming bonds with existing customers or trying to recruit new ones, it’s important to remember that consumers respond well to material they can hold in their own hands. Mail of any sort has a more personal quality to it than other forms of communication, simply because humans form a deeper connection with things they can physically hold than with more intangible forms of content. Your business can use this to create an emotional bond with potential customers, by cultivating the image of a business which cares enough to send out real, physical mail to its valued patrons. Even in today’s hectic modern world, consumers still value businesses that demonstrate a friendly and caring attitude to their customers.

Direct mail marketing has to be used with care, clean and correct data is the key to success, but if deployed correctly, it can really help your business grab customers’ attention in at any time of year. Make time to take advantage of the benefits offered by direct mail marketing, so act now to get the best results possible!

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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December 1, 2014

Robin Sumner Romax MD starts tenure as BPIF South East Board Chairman

Chairman Robin Sumner
Chairman Robin Sumner

Robin Sumner MD of Romax Starts his 2 year tenure as Chair of the BPiF’s (British Print Industry Federation) South East Region Board.

Paying Tribute to the outgoing Chair, Andy Skarpellis from Precision Print, Robin praised the work that Andy and the rest of the board did and stated that he was looking forward to being available to all members of the BPiF in the South East.

Working with Bob Davies, Regional Secretary, Robin is keen to hear from and meet as many members as possible, to understand their concerns for the Print Industry regionally and to enable him to report nationally to the representative body that lobbies parliament and works to secure the future of the print industry in its many forms.

The BPIF is the principal business support organisation representing the UK print, printed packaging and graphic communication industry. It is one of the country’s leading trade associations.

The federation strives to ensure their members’ requirements come first. Through listening to their needs they have developed an unrivalled range of products and services that go well beyond those provided by a traditional trade association.

They provide the highest standard of support for printers to grow and develop healthy, sustainable and profitable businesses, aiming to provide an environment geared towards their businesses success.  The BPIF offer practical, value-adding solutions for all areas of a print organisation, ranging from Health, Safety, Environmental and Quality issues; with the implementation of HR requirements; provide resolutions of technical or legal issues; as well as advice and support on marketing, sales and finance. This is all delivered by individuals and teams of highly skilled and experienced print industry specialists.

If you would like to review the current board members please click here BPiF South East Board

To contact Robin Sumner, regarding the BPiF in the South East, please email rsumner@romax.co.uk

Robin formed Romax in 1997 as a Direct Mail Print and Fulfilment House, for more information on Romax please click here

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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