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Posts advised to embrace dynamic marketing

07.12.2011 - Posts shifting their focus from products to marketing was at the top of the agenda at a recent Direct Mail Advisory Board meeting.
Speakers told Posts they would be sidelined in the direct mail field by more flexible market players if they did not get closer to their business customers.

With the competition already providing personalized targeted electronic marketing, postal operators were advised to use their expertise, sales power and address databases to offer their customers practical advice.

Posts should try to understand the cost drivers of their clients’ business to focus on more profitable customer segments and offer practical training. This would allow operators to create and capture value, said Tim Walsh, vice-president, corporate and regulatory affairs, at Pitney Bowes, the postal solutions provider.

“Marketing is far too important to be left to the marketers alone. Marketing needs to be a business-wide philosophy [for Posts],” said Walsh.

Posts were advised to step up to the plate quickly. “If we don’t do it, some guy in a garage will,” said Lars Heugel, commercial director at NetwerkVSP, a PostNL subsidiary.

After researching business customer needs, NetwerkVSP launched an online leaflet platform this year for customers in retail. This enables the latter to present their physical brochures according to user preferences.

NetwerkVSP also organizes workshops to support its customers, who often struggle with the integration of digital and physical communication channels.

New opportunities

For some Posts, the transition to a digital future could offer new business opportunities for them if they were quick to adjust to novel situations and open to being innovative.

Brazil Post said it was exploring further uses of its address management services. It added that a boost from e-commerce and web services for direct marketing would also help it recapture the market.

Another area of action was legislation. “Operators, particularly in emerging countries, must pay attention to legislation concerning the postal business. This includes restrictive privacy laws applicable to direct mail and direct marketing,” said Raquel Ferrari, manager of the UPU’s direct marketing programme.

“Posts and other stakeholders may wish to be involved in the legislative process to make sure that countries enact laws that are favourable to direct marketing and the postal business,” she added.

Direct mail represents around 38 per cent of global letter-post volumes, according to UPU statistics for 2010.

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