Whistl announces contract wins and direct mail audience tracker

Tania Mason
Monday, May 15, 2017

Whistl, the UK’s second-largest delivery company, has announced Zurich Insurance and Yorkshire Building Society as new clients as well as renewing several existing contracts.

The Buckinghamshire-headquartered group, which delivers post, parcels and doordrop material both in the UK and overseas, is hoping to recover revenue growth following its drop last year.

A key contract has been renewed with Specsavers, which employs all of Whistl’s mail, parcel and doordrop services.  Deals have also been renewed with Saga, for 65 million items; with Bourne Leisure, the owner of Butlin’s Haven and Warner Hotels, for 20 million items, and with BUPA, for delivery of 4 million items.

The fashion group JDWilliams has also signed a new contract, while Better World Books, Bertrams and Photobox have all hired Whistl for their parcel services.

All the contracts are for terms of between two and five years.  No existing contracts have been lost this year.

The business was previously a subsidiary of TNT Group until 2011 when it was sold to PostNL.  Whistl’s management bought the business from PostNL at the end of 2015, although PostNL retains a 17.5% shareholding. 

In July, the company will consolidate its northern operations into one Bolton "super depot", growing capacity across its North of England operations by a third. It currently has six depots across the country.

Chief executive Nick Wells said Whistl's strategy was two-pronged: “ongoing efficiency in our main downstream access business-mail business, and growth in parcels, doordrop media and international”.

Whistl has also announced that it is taking part in a new scheme jointly with its major competitor the Royal Mail, along with the Direct Marketing Association, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, and ISBA, which describes itself as the voice of British advertising, to measure the daily readership and usage of direct mail by UK consumers.

The new Joint Industry Committee will deliver a similar service to the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) programme for magazine readership, regularly tracking public interactions with direct mail.

Mail is the only mass media channel without an audience measurement scheme of this kind. A pilot programme that has been running for the past 12 months suggests that three-quarters of all post delivered to UK households is opened and read, and then passed on and re-read an average of seven times.

Judith Donovan chairs the Strategic Mailing Partnership, the body which brings together the postal market’s rival firms to collaborate on industry-wide initiatives.  She said the new Joint Industry Committee would help mail suppliers to create new and sustainable growth for future campaigns.

“We know that mail campaigns have a hugely positive impact for customers but agree that having recognised and respected measurements for their impact and success will transform the way the medium is viewed and sold,” she said. 

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