The direct mail industry is planning to ramp up its activity to ensure the revival of the market continues this year, despite Royal Mail admitting Brexit jitters had hit letter volumes, in particular advertising and business letters, during its third quarter.
This week, the postal giant reported that the number of addressed letters tumbled 6% in the nine months to 25 December, while letter revenues fell 5%.
But it is understood that Royal Mail MarketReach, the unit responsible for promoting direct mail, will be ramping up its Mailmen campaign in the coming weeks to ensure the latest fall is just a blip.
There is plenty of evidence pointing to a continued resurgence in the market. Earlier this week, the IPA Bellwether Report predicted that direct marketing – and within that, direct mail – spend would see big gains in the next 12 months.
And a Group M forecast for UK advertising spend in 2017 – published in November – showed direct mail spend will at least match 2016’s figure of £1.6bn, and that does not even take into account other areas of physical mail, such as door-drops and leaflets.
One industry source said: “The Mailmen campaign has been great for the market; at last we have evidence to prove direct mail’s effectiveness. At a time when clients are becoming increasingly concerned about whether anyone is actually seeing their digital ads, let alone responding to them, there is a strong case for using print.
“From what we are seeing, clients are looking at direct mail as a way to stand out from the digital crowd, and we will be doing everything in our power to ensure last year’s revival continues.”
For Royal Mail, the decline in letters was partially offset by a 3% rise in parcel revenues in the same period – with deliveries up by 2%. And, although overall group revenues were flat on the previous nine months, the 2% fall in group revenue in the core UK business was offset by strong growth in its European parcels business, GLS.
Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene said: “Our postmen and women delivered a great service at Christmas, even better than last year, with 138 million parcels handled in December alone. Our comprehensive planning, which started much earlier this year, enabled us to deliver this service for our customers right across the UK.”
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