UPU Schedules Direct Mail Workshop in St. Peterburg

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BERNE, Switzerland - The Universal Postal Union (UPU) will hold a direct mail marketing development workshop in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 27-30 and has invited major postal authorities, DMAs, and leading mail order houses to attend.

"Our primary participants are the postal companies of Central and Eastern Europe and any companies we can identify that work in the region or want to work there," Ken Mckeown, head of UPU marketing development, said.

The UPU has conducted extensive research into the development and growth of direct mail worldwide for several years. It hired Arthur D. Little to do the initial spadework, which has now been completed and analyzed.

The research was well received by UPU members, Mckeown said. Research, he noted, "has not been aggregated in this way before or put to use in ways that interested companies would find applicable.

"Now that we have completed the analysis we want to extend the program by spreading it into different regions of the world and getting the local postal authorities involved in direct mail.

"Direct mail is the best possibility we have to increase mail volume and offset the decline through electronic communication," Mckeown said.

The workshop in St. Petersburg is the third effort of this kind the UPU has undertaken. The first one was held in Hong Kong in November of last year and a second earlier this year in Sao Paulo.

Growth of direct mail in Eastern Europe and Russia has been slow, "and we are trying to influence the postal authorities in the region get involved because of its growth potential.

"We want to connect them with companies interested in doing business there with concrete benefit for all of us, we hope." The workshop, he added, should help people to get acquainted and to establish networking relationships.

"If people from private DM companies come along and get to know postal people on a first hand basis that has to mean more business for the post."

The Russian post, for example, will invite people from across the country, some 90 regional postal people in all. While direct mail has established itself in the Moscow and St. Petersburg regions, it has not had much impact elsewhere in Russia.

The workshop itself will focus on "best practices" for fostering direct mail growth, and on implementing "best practices in the value chain of direct marketing."

The conference program leans to the basics such as planning campaigns, media choices and trends, preparing the message and case studies of leading companies targeting new markets in Eastern Europe.

Invitations have been sent to the American DMA, to DDV, the German DMA, the Federation of European Direct Marketing (FEDMA), Ziff-Davis, L.L. Bean, Young & Rubicom, Otto Versand and Quelle, Germany's largest mail order houses, and to media giant Bertelsmann.

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