The pipes of peace

The Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union’s Christmas truce does not have the same resonance as the temporary cessation of frontline hostilities between Allied and German troops on Christmas Day 1914, but it will provide some relief for those direct marketers and online retailers reliant on the postal service.

Russell Parsons

However, the announcement that there will be no further strikes this side of 2010 had appeared unlikely in the days before the ceasefire.

The CWU was busy promising legal action over the Royal Mail’s recruitment blitz, while the Royal Mail took out full page advertisements in the press calling on CWU members to “support the talks”.

Despite the prickly public exchanges, it appears that concessions have made by both sides and for Christmas and the new year at least, there is peace on earth and goodwill to all posties and postal chiefs.

Welcome news to charities and financial services firms in particular, both of whom traditionally launch major mailing pushes in the new year to tap into the culture of resolution and review.

As one story comes to an end, albeit only a temporary one, another tale begins: The story of Carlson Marketing as part of the Groupe Aeroplan family.

The Canadian loyalty management company, owner of the Nectar programme, bought the DM agency for $175.3m last week.

The deal provides advantages for both. For Groupe Aeroplan, a ready-made US operation and for Carlson undoubted synergies, and the possibility for the UK office in particular to work with some of the Groupe’s international clients, which include Nokia and Muller, not to mention Nectar.

Groupe Aeroplan has demonstrated how much it values customer loyalty and its role in revenue generation with this acquisition. Now that there is a hint of light at the end of the tunnel for Royal Mail, the 350-year-old firm will also looking to focus on customer loyalty.

As the dust settles and the backlog of mail clears, Royal Mail will have to reassure its customers that it can continue to be a relevant, and reliable service provider. No easy task.

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