I can’t remember the last time I went to the post office or needed a stamp. All my birthday and thank you cards I create online thanks to my favourite site jibjab.com. My love and complaint letters are emailed and I pay all my bills online. What do I need a Post Office for?
Online purchase mistake it so happened to be. I had to return an item I thought was 10 times bigger (really must read the full descriptions on ebay) and how much?!? I remember a first class stamp costing 27p (that’s how long it’s been). Prices went up in April to ninety pence for a large letter. Nearly a whole pound! For an extra 20p I could get the bus and give it back to them myself!
It’s not just the common man these prices are going to affect. The Royal Mail has also very recently had a business postage increase, which is going to affect all users of direct mail. This highly effective marketing method (see January Blog) for getting your message right in front of new customers in their own homes could make businesses reconsider using it.
Last year in March 2012, Postal Regulator Ofcom announced that Royal Mail is now free to set it’s own prices under a new seven year framework, giving it the freedom to change prices and terms and conditions with no statutory notice requirement. Basically they’ve now got free rein on what they charge. Unlike before this change, commercial users of Royal Mail now have very little power to dispute how any price increases will affect their business and higher costs could potentially drive them away to use cheaper marketing alternatives.
So how much of a price increase am I talking about here? The Direct Marketing Association says business mail prices are going to increase between 8% and 20% and direct mail costs are going up between 1% and 5%. Lighter weight items are not increasing in price as much as heavier weight items. I should also point out these increases don’t include VAT. Shouldn’t Royal Mail be supporting UK business and helping to promote them given the current economic climate? Most marketing budgets these days are pretty tight. So thanks very much Royal Mail!
What does this mean for you and your business? Given what I’ve just told you, should you bother with direct mail anymore after these price increases? It is still a worthwhile marketing tool? Well we know that direct mail does work. The Royal Mail itself has research showing this, and on their website states that it improves a multi-media marketing campaign by 20%. A survey by One Post also found that three quarters of people are happy to receive direct mail. We’d rather not have the price increases at all but the good news is that discounts are available if your direct mail is classed as advertising mail, and there are also discounts for sending 3D mail, catalogues and large format acquisition mailings.
The Royal Mail door-to-door rate card can look complex. Working out the best direct mail plan for you can give you a headache! Especially figuring out if you qualify for discounts or not. With our knowledge and experience in this area, we can help you in creating the best direct mail campaign at the lowest possible price for your business. We can go through all the options available and come up with an effective plan.
What about Digital Marketing? Despite email, video and other forms of social media marketing being a growing method of advertising for newer companies, a survey by BIA/Kelsey found that older companies are actually increasing the amount they spend on more traditional methods of marketing, like direct mail.
What do you think about the Royal Mail price increases? Do you think direct mail is still worth using?