Direct marketing industry chiefs have pooh-poohed predictions that direct mail volumes will continue to dive for the next 12 months at least, insisting that clients are already flocking back to the medium in their droves.
Last week, a Royal Mail report, drawn up PwC division Strategy&, insisted that there will be a “short term high rate of decline” until at least 2020. It claimed volumes will drop by a further 8% over the next 12 months due to continuing economic uncertainty and the impact of GDPR and are unlikely to recover.
However, it forecast that from 2020 onwards, the rate of decline will slow, driven by perceived ongoing value of direct mail as a marketing channel. The report also predicted that initiatives such as Jicmail and Partially Addressed Mail will benefit the market.
However, REaD Group chief executive Jon Cano-Lopez claims the recovery is already well underway. He added: “We have seen a dramatic pick up in the use of direct mail by our clients this year. Some clients who had paused campaigns pre-GDPR or not previously used direct mail are now embracing this powerful channel and reaping the rewards.
“For responsible brands, using responsibly sourced and held data, all the work on GDPR has already been done, and this provides the foundations for using direct mail with confidence.”
Judith Donovan, CBE, chair of the Strategic Mailing Partnership which represents and protects the interests of mailing houses across the UK, said that while some brands had turned their back on direct mail, that pre-dates GDPR and the industry is “working its socks off to help it recover”.
Donovan added: “Those who have ‘come back in the water’ are reporting significant uplifts in response levels as targeting is so much ‘cleaner’.”
One print industry source commented: “Maybe, just maybe, Royal Mail is over-stating the threat of GDPR. We have certainly seen more and more companies coming back to the market. Direct mail is obviously more expensive than digital marketing but it can be way more effective. And when combined with digital, campaigns are far stronger. As the old adage goes, ‘you buy cheap, you buy twice’.”
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