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Postage costs change

New pricing procedures being brought in by Royal Mail this summer will force dealers’ marketing departments to review their direct mail campaigns.

On August 21 the Royal Mail is adopting new Pricing In Proportion rules which will change the cost structure for postal services. Charges will be based on both the size and weight of the item, rather than the weight alone as at present. All post will fit into one of three categories: letter, large letter or packet.

Generally, large and irregularly shaped items will cost more to reflect the handling involved.

Alex Walsh, head of postal affairs at the Direct Marketing Association, says that dealers which are already sending a lot of information in unfolded A4 format could turn this into an opportunity. “Essentially all the rules are changing. Businesses will need to think in a different way to use direct marketing most effectively,” Walsh says.

“Every dealer needs to look at what it is currently sending to understand the implications. Some formats are being heavily penalized while with others you’re actually gaining free weight.”

Walsh suggests that dealers who wish to retain an existing format such as unfolded A4, despite its increased cost, could include more information or use a higher quality paper to take advantage of the increased weight allowance. Brochures and catalogues could be redesigned to a different format to qualify for cheaper postage.

Royal Mail says that 70% of business mail will be unaffected by the move, and of the remaining 30%, many will see costs fall.

“Even where prices are set to rise, in a number of instances the increased costs can be avoided. For example, if you normally send letters out as flat A4, simply folding your items in half to fit a standard C5 envelope will mean that your mail costs won’t rise,” says a spokesman.

“We’ve increased the maximum weight for letters from 60g to 100g and the maximum weight of 2nd class goes up from 750g to 1kg, so businesses can actually save more.

For the marketing and advertising industries there has always been a need to balance creative ideas and costs, whether they relate to size, shape, colour or any other aspect of a mailing piece. Pricing In Proportion should present new opportunities for innovation.”

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