DIRECT MARKETING: Is DM at death's door?
As DHL Global Mail shuts the publishing sector of its operations Maxine-Laurie Marshall asks if this signifies another nail in the coffin of the long underused direct mail-out
When a major mail mover shuts down part of its bulk mail delivery operations, surely this isn’t a great sign for direct mail. DHL Global Mail has announced it will close its publishing sector operations – the function related to the wrapping and packaging of newspapers and magazines – in Q1 2012. The closure is likely to affect sites in Croydon, Bermondsey, Egham and Surrey. Commenting on the news, Mike Rawlins, head of communications for DHL Global Mail says, “We are one of the largest international movers of printed publications in the country, it is a significant action but it’s only part of what we do.”
While it’s not necessarily surprising to hear Rawlings claim that DHL’s decision is linked to the fall in print titles’ popularity as more of them move online, it still leaves a question mark over the future of the DM industry. Indeed DHL’s news is exacerbated by the constant stream of bad news coming from Royal Mail. The national mail service provider is currently in talks with Ofcom about raising the price of a second class stamp by 50 per cent; something that could harm the UK’s SMEs. Its letters business suffered a massive £120 million loss in 2011 and the year-on-year reduction of mail sent was estimated to be five per cent. Blaming the decrease in direct mail on reasons we are all familiar with, Rawlins adds, “I suspect marketers are also embracing new technologies and using email and social media to reach their target audiences.”