Will the “DM sale” jump start the channel?

Christmas is not only the season to be jolly; it is a time where goodwill to all men is encouraged and the Royal Mail has assumed the role of Santa Claus in offering direct marketers an early Christmas present: a 20% discount on new and additional mailings sent next March and April.

Russell Parsons

The postal service claims the initiative is aimed at increasing use of the channel and will offer those advertisers and agencies “under pressure to deliver more for less” an incentive to trial or up their use of DM.

What it is not, the Royal Mail insists, is any attempt to win back or lock down wavering customers in the wake of the debilitating postal strikes.

Despite public protestations to the contrary, it is impossible as an observer not to join the dots between autumn’s industrial action and the self-proclaimed “DM sale”.

The strikes caused severe disruption to companies’ direct mail campaigns as well as tainting the Royal Mail brand and, crucially, leaving direct mail looking like an unreliable channel in the eyes of some

Sales, as any bargain hunter will attest to, can be a persuasive tool in generating trial or encouraging a second-look but they can also, as one agency executive pointed out to me this week, suggest a product or service that is reaching the end of its shelf life.

I am not about to forecast the end of the line for DM, but it is clear that the channel, already suffering from a wider 10% drop in mail volumes before the strikes, needs a jump-start.

However, as Robert Keitch, chief of membership and brand at the Direct Marketing Association, pointed out, the resuscitation should not end with the sale but be “part of a programme to get people feeling positive about mail again”.

It is also worth stating that the sale, which will be applicable to DM sent in March and April, could also be derailed by industrial action in the spring if the festive truce brokered in October does not become a lasting peace.

One more reason to ensure that Royal Mail chiefs and Union bosses maintain cordial relations in the new year.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here