Sharp-shooting mail-shots

I refer to the article “it’s post modernism” that appeared in Marketing Week November 1, which featured the introduction of the Quality Standard for Mail production (QMP).

I must say that while I’m sure you will always find a small minority of mailing houses that would resist any change, our experience is very different from the negative spin presented by your journalist. Indeed, we all share the same common interests. Namely, to provide buyers of direct mail services with certainty, consistency and quality.

With regard to the writer’s comments relating to BAB not being a “marketing-led business”, I consider such unattributed remarks beneath contempt and clearly only included to slight our reputation. However, I must respond directly to the misnomer regarding expenditure on advertising and direct marketing (DM) to buyers. Of course we appreciate the role these ingredients can play in the overall mix and already have them factored in to our overall plan. Although, in our case, we prefer “sharp shooting” to the “blunderbuss” approach. Timing will determine such activities, and our most recent mystery shopper research clearly shows that mailing houses have more to do in communicating QMP within their own organisations before a wider advertising and DM campaign, to stimulate demand, could bear fruit.

Lest we forget, the QMP standard is the first step in a journey of improvement for the direct mail industry and was commissioned as a result of wide-ranging industry consultation. It is overseen not by Consignia, but an industry representative advisory council, which includes the DMA. After all is said and done, it is the buyers that will decide the value of QMP and we appreciate that part of our role is to ensure that the message gets delivered.

However, our own findings suggest that things are much better than your journalist implied and the following quote from a mailing house is typical of the feedback we receive. “As a new business, QMP has given us credibility in the market and has helped us to establish standards of quality from the outset.”

In closing, I would say that we are very aware of the fine line we must tread between satisfying the mailing houses and satisfying the buyers of direct mail services. Perhaps once the communications campaign has been fully deployed, industry journalists will wish to review the results of our endeavours more thoroughly.

David Fenn

Chief executive

The British Accreditation Bureau

Sidcup, Kent

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