July 6, 2017

Is the Direct Mail Sector in trouble?

Is the Direct Mail Sector in trouble?

Whether the Direct Mail Sector is in trouble, is much debated within our industry, both by outside commentators, and those that make their living within it. Whilst I agree it is difficult for me to be subjective let’s take a dive into the facts and try to form an educated opinion.

Firstly, what do we mean by “in trouble”? Yes, there have been some notable casualties of late with the latest being the Anton group going into administration. Having had conversations with those within the industry, yes this was unexpected, however, the full facts of management decisions are yet to come to light and will, I suspect, yield some answers. Sadly, as at the time of writing this piece, the administrators were winding the company up with creditors losing everything they were owed.

Are we “in trouble” because of outside factors beyond our control? To a certain extent yes as we have little sway on paper or postage price increases for example. Allied to the raising of costs (such as the increase in minimum wage and pension arrangements) means that the Direct Mail sector does become more and more expensive compared to online channels such as email and therefore margins are squeezed.

Online communications also have one big advantage – instant analytics!

Size is a factor in the recent downfall of some businesses such as the Anton Group. Small to medium size businesses are more agile both in reacting to demand, as well as diversifying into other areas of communication such as online communications and e-publishing. Consolidation will be a big topic over the coming months and years. The trend will, we believe, go from the bigger companies snapping up smaller rivals to similar size companies joining forces in mergers and acquisitions.

Create the insight and fight the pessimism

However, with insight, it is possible to fight back against this wave of pessimism.

Direct Mail has had an issue for a number of years with people’s perception of how the environment is affected by the industry. However, the good folks over at Two Sides have debunked that argument of which we should shout louder about.

Further optimism comes in the form of data taken from some MarketReach analysis. For Marketers, the highlight finding is that 92% of mail recipients will act on what they consume from the mail medium. Further good news only goes to highlight the upward trend in the sector.

And lastly. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We see an opportunity for the Direct Mail Sector with the advent in May 2018 of the new data laws covered by GDPR. If you are unfamiliar with these new laws, some of the best information can be found at the DMA website. This will restrict the way, in particular, digital marketing is conducted and the use of personal data. At the very least those operating digital communications will need to gain or regain more specific permissions from their customer, via a printed communication, so they can continue to engage with them. This presents Direct Mail suppliers the chance to capture more volume of work.

Plan and invest to reap the benefits

The old saying “fail to plan, plan to fail” is never truer than in business. Writing a business plan has some benefits including:

  • forces you to think realistically, objectively and unemotionally about your business
  • leads to questioning of past and future assumptions
  • makes it easier to communicate planning objectives and strategies to bankers, partners, employees, financial backers and so on
  • helps to ensure that all aspects of the plan are clear and integrated
  • serves as a reference point when determining the effects of alternative courses of action on business operations
  • allows you to identify any areas where you may need external assistance
  • allows you to plan the growth of your business and associated capital requirements.

Many companies fail to write one yet the above benefits make it clear to do so would help! You can find many templates and resources on the Web to get you started.

From having a clear strategy, a business can then invest wisely, therefore, making the business more profitable and attractive to new clients. However, with big investments never underestimate the length of deployment or day to day distraction this could involve so ensure you account for this in your plan.

So in conclusion, with the right plan and foresight, along with, crucially the right staff, things look good for the Direct Mail industry.

The blog post was written by Wesley Dowding.

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 or filling the form below:

January 22, 2016

Print Power Seminar Video

Print Power, Two Sides and the BPiF link up to produce an insightful seminar to discuss the future of Print and the impact that it can have.

Print Power Seminar Special Report…Watch the video click the image

The Future Of Print

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

Contact Us

August 3, 2015

Report summarises the unique benefit to advertisers of print advertising.

Two sides report summarises the unique benefit to advertisers of print advertising.

While on-screen reading occupies an increasing amount of consumer time, people’s preferences are still for a paper reading which they believe to be a ‘safe’ medium which is more informative, less distracting and less harmful to their eyes.”

With more and more time shifted to the web it is natural that advertising budgets will follow. However, what this report illustrates is the more engaging characteristics of reading physical material – especially where the subject matter is a long article, brochure or specific technical details that require detailed concentration.

These observations plus the deeply competitive nature of online and high capital costs of TV advertising have seen a trend back towards traditional paper advertising as a differentiator. On the back of this trend, Royal Mail have reported increasing amount of business for paper campaigns across multiple campaign types from brochures, mini-catalogues, flyers and discount coupons to support wider cross-channel campaigns.

Understanding your consumers, their purchasing behaviour and purchase journey across multiple channels help you as an advertiser to better understand when you can deploy print targeting to help drive conversions. For example, some of the car manufacturers in the UK are using a combination of marketing automation systems, big data and print to target consumers and book test drives. For example, by monitoring online behaviour, interactions and downloads, consumers further in the sales pipeline will often trigger an event to send print literature, which is more detailed and engaging with specific vehicle details, imagery and other aspirational messaging which is better consumed in print or in consumers hands.

The Two side’s survey illustrates that for all age groups the preference is for paper for understanding, retaining and using information. Advertisers may be particularly interested in the following highlights from the Two side’s survey.

  • 54% pay more attention to advertising when reading magazines in print compared to 19% who pay more attention to advertising when reading magazines online
  • 52% pay more attention to advertising when reading newspapers in print compared to 21% who pay more attention to advertising when reading newspapers online
  • 67% of 18 – 25’s and 65% of 25 -34’s pay more attention to adverts when reading magazines in print, higher than other age groups.
  • 50% of 25 – 34’s and 43% of 35 – 44’s pay more attention to advertising using mail or door drop

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

Contact Us

June 15, 2015

Two Sides launches European fact sheets

Two Sides launches European fact sheets to combat environmental misconceptions of print and paper


Print and paper is a highly sustainable form of communication in today’s digital society. Despite this, there are still misconceptions that it is wasteful, detrimental to the environment and responsible for deforestation. More worrying is the misunderstanding that digital communication is more environmentally friendly, which is not always the case.

To address these misconceptions, and to better inform and educate consumers, businesses and the public at large, ‘Two Sides’, a global initiative to promote the sustainability and attractiveness of print and paper, has published a series of 11 fact sheets to address a wide array of environmental and social issues. The comprehensive fact sheets cover the most common areas of misunderstanding, ranging from the real environmental impact of electronic communication, to the sustainability of paper-based printed products, as well as tackling the important role that print and paper plays in literacy and learning.

“In recent years the paper and print industries have taken significant steps in managing their environmental impacts”, explains Martyn Eustace, Managing Director of Two Sides. “Over the last 20 years forests in Europe have grown by 42 million acres – an area twice the size of Portugal – and the European paper recycling rate is at an all-time-high of 72%. Our role is to educate consumers and businesses that print and paper is a remarkable and sustainable means of communication. It is also important not to forget that alternative digital communications have environmental impacts too.”

A full list of the fact sheets are detailed below;

  • Electronic communication
  • “Go Green-Go Paperless” messages are misleading
  • Harvesting trees through sustainable forestry
  • Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products
  • Paper is one of the most recycled products
  • Paper production supports sustainable forest management
  • Paper’s carbon footprint is not as high as you think
  • Print and paper play a key role in learning and literacy
  • The paper industry uses a lot of renewable energy
  • Why challenge anti-paper environmental marketing claims?
  • Wood-based paper and non-wood based paper

The full series of fact sheets are available to download free of charge at twosides.info/Fact-Sheets 

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

Contact Us

March 6, 2015

Two Sides Press Release

The is an extract from a recent ‘Two Sides’ Press release. We welcome discussion around this subject so please do let us know how you feel.

Two Sides

Two Sides launches new global initiative to stop the use of misleading “go green – go paperless” environmental claims

New research reveals major global corporations are still flouting regulations put in place to protect consumers from misleading marketing claims.


New research, commissioned by worldwide lobbying organisation ‘Two Sides’, has revealed that major global corporations are still using inaccurate and misleading environmental claims to encourage consumers to ‘go paperless’ and switch from paper-based to digital communication.  This is despite legislation being introduced by the advertising standards authorities to protect the consumer from being misled.

The survey, undertaken in February 2015, showed that in the UK, there is still a significant proportion of financial service organisations, energy, gas and water suppliers and telecoms businesses that are still making false environmental claims. Similarly, research in the US shows a similar picture with half of the leading Fortune 500 companies in the same sectors were doing the same.

“This is extremely frustrating and unacceptable,” says Martyn Eustace, Chairman of the ‘Two Sides’ initiative.  “The fact that marketers in some of the most high profile corporations in the world are still using unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims to persuade consumers to switch from paper-based to cheaper electronic communication is outrageous.  Many consumers still have a strong preference for paper but they are being manipulated by a lack of clear and accurate information, when in fact paper, based on a natural, renewable and recyclable resource, should be considered as a highly sustainable way to communicate.”

He continues, “This behaviour must be tackled and we are therefore going on the offensive once again to educate and inform those responsible of their misconduct and to ensure that such organisations don’t continue to flout the law and mislead their most important asset…their customers.”

Two Sides will be engaging with companies in Europe, the USA, Canada, South America, South Africa and Australia, who have either reneged on undertakings to stop using misleading environmental claims or are now again claiming that switching to online billing and communication is better for the environment without supplying verifiable supporting evidence.

Original UK research completed in 2012 revealed that 70% of Telecoms businesses, 43% of the major banks and 30% of utility companies were all making inaccurate claims about the environmental benefits of switching from paper to digital communication.  However, when challenged by ‘Two Sides’, 82% of these companies changed their marketing messages.

In North America, Two Sides has also been successful in converting 30 of the Fortune 500 companies in the same sectors and is in discussion with a further 25 organisations who have yet to comply.

Eustace continues, “Consumers should not be mislead and encouraged to go ‘paperless’, when in fact it may be the sustainable way to communicate. It is just not acceptable to use misleading ‘green’ marketing to encourage customers to receive their bills or communications online, claiming that this is ‘better for the environment’. The majority of these claims are unsubstantiated and the term ‘paperless’ is also disingenuous as many consumers resort to home printing to ensure a permanent hard copy.”

Two Sides maintains that the linkage made between switching from paper to electronic services and helping the environment not only creates a misleading impression about the sustainability of print and paper but, as these claims are also unsupported by facts, they contravene the latest UK CAP code, (Committee for Advertising Practice), flout guidelines by the US Federal Trade Commission and CSR Europe (the leading European business network for corporate social responsibility), and the UK Government department DEFRA.  

For the full article click HERE


February 6, 2015

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable Marketing – Environmental and ROI considerations – Why direct mail is the smart choice.

 With the modern dependence on email marketing, the value of direct mail has been somewhat overlooked. The email boom and the public’s misunderstanding about the environmental impact of this area of marketing has conspired to leave an awful lot of businesses missing out on the benefits that only a well thought-out, creative direct mail campaign can bring.

The public perception of the industry as wasteful and not environmentally aware is just flat-out wrong and is something that we are working tirelessly to change; we try to offer a fairer reflection of steps being taken to ensure that direct mail has as small an impact on the environment as possible. For example, the mailing industry is constantly searching out ways in which it can reduce its carbon footprint, as all responsible industries and individuals should be, and great strides have been made in recent years in areas such as the types of materials used and improving the accuracy of addresses used to reduce undeliverable items.

The Direct Mail Association has also been engaged in an industry-wide initiative to reduce any impact that direct mail has on the environment. The Green 15 enforces 15 baseline business practices across all areas of the direct mail life-cycle that companies must adhere to when producing campaigns in order to improve environmental performance. All of which have combined to make direct mail an environmentally-viable choice when considering your marketing strategy.

While we thoroughly advocate the use of email marketing as part of a fully integrated cross media campaign, given the rise of things like smartphone use, as a stand-alone marketing method is one that is easily dismissed by the recipient. Think about it: we all receive endless emails and only give very short shrift to 90% of them. It is so easy for campaigns to wind up in the junk e-mail folder, never to be seen again and with it goes your hard work. That is never the case when direct mail is integrated correctly.

 There is nothing quite so creative as a direct mail campaign; memorable items that tie in with your brand really do make an impact on the mind of potential customers in a far more meaningful way than just another email. For more information on what a well-crafted direct mail campaign can do for your business, please contact Romax