16 June 2000

Royal Mail is to transfer the management of DMARC, its direct mail accreditation scheme, from the UK Direct Marketing Association to a commercial organisation, the British Accreditation Bureau. At the same time, the postal operator will impose more stringent recognition criteria on participating mailing houses.

The DMARC scheme is essentially a mechanism for distributing commission on postage to mailing houses that meet certain standards and, since its inception in 1985, was initially run by the Royal Mail and later sub-contracted to the Direct Marketing Association.

The changes are intended to strengthen credibility among advertisers, claims the Royal Mail, although head of media development Brian Aspin concedes that some existing members of DMARC may no longer meet the new scheme's criteria.

He insists, however, that the objective is not to trim back membership: "The aim is to raise standards, not to exclude people."

Nonetheless, lower membership levels would reduce aggregated commission payments, a useful side benefit for the revised scheme which the Royal Mail admits will cost three times as much to run as its predecessor.

BAB, which also runs accreditation projects for the Institute of Chartered Accountants and Lloyd's of London, will take over on a phased basis from September 1 and existing DMARC members will be invited to apply before the end of December.

News source: Precision Marketing (UK)