Royal teams with cheque printer to bring DM templates online

Canada's largest cheque printer and its biggest bank have coupled on a venture to provide small businesses with an easier and more affordable way to put together direct mail campaigns than doing it themselves or enlisting the services of a professional...

Canada’s largest cheque printer and its biggest bank have coupled on a venture to provide small businesses with an easier and more affordable way to put together direct mail campaigns than doing it themselves or enlisting the services of a professional direct marketing agency.

It must be noted, however, that neither Davis + Henderson nor the Royal Bank of Canada have any intention of infringing on the territory of agency suppliers. Rather, the two Toronto-based organizations believe their new Web-based Click Custom Mail service will make direct mail a more viable option for a greater number of businesses – a fact that may actually serve to increase business for everyone down the line.

In its simplest terms, Click Custom Mail is a service that gives small and medium-sized businesses access to a library of more than 400 industry-specific online templates that can be used to create customized direct mail promotions. Located at www.clickcustommail.com, the Web site is configured to allow clients to select the template of their choice for a variety of letters, coupons and surveys, upload their client list, and have the campaign prepared and mailed by D+H within 48 hours. Those who don’t have a customer list can rent a list of prospects online from InfoCanada.

According to D+H, the average cost per piece – including production and mailing – is $1.19, considerably less than what it claims is the industry average of between $5 and $7.

The technology behind Click Custom Mail was developed by Click Tactics, an Atlanta, Ga.-based company in which D+H’s parent company, MDC Corp., recently acquired an equity stake.

Steve Wallace, marketing director, small business, with Davis + Henderson, says the company is targeting primarily small companies with fewer than 10 employees that might ordinarily try to do an entire direct mail campaign on their own, without any professional help. He says research shows that the average Click Custom Mail client will do three or four direct mail campaigns a year, with approximately 400 pieces going out each time.

‘We are capable of doing 10,000- or 20,000-piece campaigns for people if they’re interested,’ Wallace says, ‘but we’ve really designed the product offering for small businesses to do 400- or 500-piece campaigns. It’s where we’ve built in the efficiencies.’

The Royal Bank is helping to promote the service to its more than 400,000 small business customers by providing a direct link to Click Custom Mail on its corporate Web site, at Royalbank.com. It is also helping to promote the service through in-branch and direct mail promotions.

Wallace says additional partners will soon be signing on to promote the program, which he adds will eventually be expanded to include templates for such marketing communications tools as newsletters, brochures and e-mail.

‘There’s not a lot of expertise in small businesses on direct mail,’ he says, ‘so there really is a need in the marketplace for a product like ours to help them be a little bit more versed in direct marketing and how to target customers, test different offers, and evaluate response rates and return on investment. It’s a much bigger proposition that just sending out a flyer or doing a mail drop.’