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The Universal Postal Union Supports Direct Mail

Date: April, 2012 --

The UPU, headquartered in picturesque Bern, Switzerland, is the inter-governmental regulator of the international postal system, and normally the private sector can attend meetings on only rare occasions. There are two exceptions: the Consultative Committee, which represents associations whose members have an interest in international mail, and the Direct Mail Advisory Board (DMAB), whose mission is to promote direct mail among the posts themselves.  The DMAB was established in 1996 primarily through the efforts of the USPS, Swiss Post, and Royal Mail.

The DMAB work program, described below, is determined by an elected Steering Committee drawn from its membership consisting of companies and posts. Its current chair is the Saudi Post, it is self-funding through member dues along with the sale of its products and it has had a remarkable impact.

The Director of the DMAB is a Brazilian, Ms. Raquel Ferrari, who has been leading the organization since 1998.  She notes,  “In the course of our 16 years of work, we have held direct mail workshops in 14 countries with at least 500 participants also coming from a total of about 80 neighboring countries’ posts (mostly developing countries), plus innumerous presentations in postal and industry forums in the five continents.”

It has also conducted annual DM courses at the Asian-Pacific Postal College in Bangkok since 2000.  These are attended by about 150 participants from the 20 developing countries of the Asia Pacific region. 

All of the DMAB’s educational programs and conferences include private sector speakers and participants, generally experienced marketing professionals, drawn from all over the world to share their professional expertise.

In addition to this excellent program of education for posts and local businesses, the DMAB has published five significant resource tools to help Posts plan program development and industry growth on subjects ranging from developing DM products and services to how to plan and execute DM campaigns.  

Moreover, the DMAB has held two mini-conferences in Bern every year since its founding in 1995 focusing on different themes of interest to the international Posts and the industry as a whole. As a result, Postal Operators have become more aware of direct mail opportunities, market needs and the need to work together with the industry. Many have gone on to develop important strategies in this area and have subsequently seen substantial increases in direct mail volumes.

But times are changing and the DMAB is going to rename itself the Direct Marketing Advisory Board in recognition of the growing importance of interactive media. Notes Raquel, “With the growing integration of different media for direct communication, the DMAB is now preparing itself to deal not only with direct mail, but also with other direct marketing tools which will benefit markets and Posts.” 

If your company’s business markets through direct in numerous markets overseas, and you can spare two days a year attending an excellent meeting with thought-provoking speakers, and a chance to network with postal and industry peers and leaders, you should consider looking into the DMAB.

If you’re interested in taking part, contact Data Services and we’ll put you in touch with the right people at UPU headquarters.