Are you involved in mailings? Are you Mailmark ready? If you are a mail producer, printer or some other supplier of mail services you have probably heard of Mailmark. However there remains a lot of confusion about the steps required to becoming Mailmark Ready. Here are some things you should know about Mailmark and the basic steps you can take to become Mailmark ready within a week.
What is Mailmark?
Mailmark was introduced in early 2014, and has been billed as a revolution in Mail comparable in impact to the introduction of the Postcode. Royal Mail have invested over £70 million in the project which according to recent update has seen over 1.2 billion items processed. More than 60 mail producers have become Mailmark ready and 3 of the major downstream access providers are able to provide Mailmark services. Mailmark essentially has 2 major factors to consider and they are price and reporting.
Pricing and Reporting
Royal Mail has already incentivised the adoption of Mailmark with a 1% price differential, however this is set to increase at the start of 2016. Early next year mail campaigns featuring the Mailmark attribute are likely to be 5% cheaper than any other mail format. This aggressive price differential is making everyone involved in direct mail take notice. In the future it is quite likely Mailmark will be the only competitive format for bulk mail. The second feature of Mailmark is reporting. Every piece of mail is scanned, usually at 5 different stages of delivery with each stage updating the tracking online. Mail originators can view reports and track the mail campaign in real time on their Mailmark dashboard. Among other benefits, the reporting aims to provide a far more accurate delivery window to assist marketers and mail users in planning follow up or response activity.
Getting Mailmark Ready in a Week
Day 1 – Barcodes
First thing to do is check if your sortation or data processing software is capable of creating the necessary data strings to produce either the 2-Dimensional or 4-State barcode. This also includes generating the Delivery Point Suffix (DPS). Also check your composition software can produce the graphical barcode formats.
Day 2 – eManifests
The next component you need is an eManifest management software solution. This software submits a data file to Royal Mail servers which corresponds with the mail that is leaving your premises within a 48 hour period. Companies such as The Software Bureau have dedicated eManifest management software which can be deployed within hours.
Day 3 – Royal Mail
Contact Royal Mail either via your account manager or the dedicated Mailmark team and inform them you wish to become Mailmark accredited. Royal Mail will send you test credentials to the Mailmark online service and provide you with a small batch of data to produce a sample job. Produce the job and submit the eManifest to Royal Mail, as you would do with a live Mailmark posting.
Day 4 – Run Your First Job
Royal Mail test the first 200 mail pieces of your first live job to determine if your mailings can be scanned. Providing you have created and submitted the eManifest correctly and the barcodes scan accurately you will be confirmed as Mailmark enabled.
Day 5 – Communicate with Customers
Communicate with your customers that you are now fully Mailmark ready. Most of the large volume mailers with a dedicated direct mail or data team will likely know about Mailmark, but many smaller mailers may have not heard of the service. Send your customers a mail piece explaining the benefits, update your website and ensure your client facing teams tell your customers about your new Mailmark service.
Download Your Free Guide
The Software Bureau has helped more than 30 companies become Mailmark ready. Download your free 24 page guide 4 Steps to Becoming Mailmark Ready from The Software Bureau today. This complimentary guide provides you everything you need to know about Mailmark including
- The expected impact of Mailmark on your customers
- Barcode formats available and which one to use
- What is an eManifest and how to manage them
- How to get Royal Mail funding for your Mailmark investment
- Promoting Mailmark to your customers