Royal Mail delays mark plans after DM backlash

Royal Mail has delayed plans to include a new “delivered by…” mark on direct mail after being inundated with complaints from direct marketers concerned that the change would reduce response rates from DM packs.

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Marketing Week revealed last week that the postal operator was to include a “delivered by Royal Mail” mark on the top centre of addressed machine-sorted direct mail from September without any consultation with the industry.

Royal Mail, which has had a fractious relationship with postal unions for years, says the mark was in recognition of the “dedication” and “fantastic job” done by postal workers. It was to be introduced in September.

The plans, however, were slammed by the direct marketing industry. Comments left on MarketingWeek.co.uk accused Royal Mail of “effectively hijacking our mail pack to promote their services”, another senior direct marketer told Marketing Week that the move added “little or no value to the mailing process and will adversely affect any creative options, and potentially response rates from Direct Mail packs”.

The Direct Marketing Association made a formal complaint about the change, and the lack of a consultation, to the postal operator Postcomm.

It is thought that Postcomm contacted Royal Mail to relay the level of industry anger at the introduction of the mark and ask it to resolve the issues.

In an email sent to business customers, Royal Mail said it had “listened to your [customer] comments and, as a result, is committed to taking additional time to consider our plans for the introduction of the Royal Mail mark.”

In a separate statement, the postal operator says it “continues to listen to our customers and the industry”, adding it will “continue to discuss our plans and the timescales with customers”.

It does not, however, commit to pulling the plans all together, just to “give adequate time to use up existing stationery and, if necessary, make changes to the design of their envelopes.”

Alex Walsh, head of postal and environmental affairs at the DMA, says that although the association is “delighted” that Royal Mail has decided to talk to the industry before implementing any changes, the affair has raised an important question of ownership.

“A matter of principle needs to be agreed about who owns the envelope? Is the direct mailer or Royal Mail?”, he adds.

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