Product: ViaPost

People behind it:
Name: Simon Campbell (pictured), Ben Way and Charlie Lass

ViaPost is the brainchild of a team involving entrepreneurs Ben Way, Charlie Lass and Simon Campbell. Campbell, the company’s chief executive, is responsible for driving the idea forward, advised by chairman David Bland OBE, formerly chairman of PostWatch, SE England. Non-executive directors include Chris Moss, founder and chief executive of 118 118, Natalie Ayres, formerly a main board director at Microsoft UK, and MT Rainey, former joint chief executive of Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe..

How innovative?
There ViaPost enables companies to outsource the print function and cut mail costs. Instead of printing documents in the office, files are sent to one of ViaPost’s print partners, where they are printed and then mailed. As the print partners are spread around the country, delivery costs and environmental impact are significantly reduced. ViaPost currently quotes 27p per letter for printing, stuffing and delivery, roughly the cost of a second class stamp..

Market success
The ViaPost service has only fairly recently been launched, and has yet to announce any significant client wins. But the high calibre of the management team and its advisers suggest it should have few problems getting a foot in the door of some big companies. However, it has also been careful to be inclusive in its marketing, with the website stressing that size is not important – indeed, users do not even have to be companies to take advantage of the service.

How it fits
Direct mail is being hammered at the moment by digital alternatives, most notably e-mail. While ViaPost cannot match the fractional cost of e-mail, it does have the advantage that what the recipient gets is a physical mailing, but with up to 80% of the carbon footprint of traditional mailings eliminated. If it can also handle segmentation – and there is no reason why it can’t – then it could be a lifesaver for traditional DM.

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