Direct marketing industry “grande dame” Judith Donovan is aiming to bury the hatchet between Royal Mail and its rivals, by bringing them together with mailing houses for a technical summit, designed to develop cross-industry efforts and boost the entire direct mail market.
Donovan (pictured), a passionate advocate of the direct marketing industry for the past 30 years, first pledged to do her bit to boost direct mail in September last year, as she unveiled the new-look Strategic Mailing Partnership (SMP). Despite the fact that the SMP, which brings together mailing houses and Royal Mail, has going since 2008, Donovan said she was keen to give the group fresh impetus and make it “more visible in the marketplace”.
She claims the inaugural technical summit will be first time that mailing houses, Royal Mail and private postal operators will have been together “on one stage”.
The move comes as the direct mail market is coming under increasing pressure, threatening the major revival in its fortunes over the past three years. Royal Mail recently admitted that Brexit jitters had hit letter volumes, in particular advertising and business letters, during its third quarter.
Royal Mail’s business division, MarketReach, is ramping up its Mailmen campaign, with a new execution to promote its Insight Engine, which, it is claimed, enables marketers to understand both how their target audience uses different types of mail and how to conceive a mailing that will resonate with that audience.
The inaugural SMP event will take place in London on March 2 at Royal Mail’s Phoenix Centre building, and will feature a programme of activity covering updates from Royal Mail and Royal Mail MarketReach.
Presentations will include Royal Mail’s view of the letter market from chief operating officer Sue Whalley, and a talk on “growing mail together” from MarketReach managing director Jonathan Harman.
The SMP will also host a number of breakout sessions for its members, designed to debate product development planning and discuss the role of incentives in direct mail. There will also be a panel discussion with so-called “downstream access” operators UK Mail, Whistl and Secured Mail.
Donovan said: “The SMP exists to ensure its member mailing houses benefit from a transparent relationship with Royal Mail in order to achieve a consultative approach to its product, operational and market development, and this event embodies that relationship.”
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