Introduction to Mailmark
What is Mailmark?
Launched in 2014 after a £70m investment from Royal Mail, Mailmark allows mail producers and mail senders to save money on postage. Over the last 4 years Mailmark has grown to become the most common method of sending bulk mail with close to 2 billion pieces of mail sent this way every year. Mailmark aims to provide more accurate delivery visibility while achieving cost savings through standardisation and efficiency. Royal Mail has been increasing the cost or removing alternative bulk mail options to incentivise the adoption of Mailmark. The latest pricing for Mailmark is available here.
How is Mailmark Different?
Royal Mail has achieved significant operational cost savings by introducing Mailmark. These operational efficiencies rely on 3 changes to the way mail is presented for collection.
1. A new type of barcode (Usually a 2D Type 29) being present on each mail piece
2. An eManifest file being uploaded to the eMHS service from Royal Mail containing information about the mail
3. A supply chain ID (SCID) being encoded into the barcode and included in the eManifest
Barcodes are not new to mail, however the eManifest and SCID concepts were devised specifically for Mailmark. The eManifest is a digital log of every mail piece entering the mailing system and must be uploaded to Royal Mail within a specific time in advance of the physical mail being collected. The supply chain ID is a unique reference which captures the various parties involved in the mailing such as the mail owner, bill payer and mail producer.
Why Are Mail Senders Choosing Mailmark?
For organisations who use direct mail there are numerous benefits of using Mailmark. In addition to the cost differential, the attraction is visibility of the mail process. Without Mailmark, it isn’t clear exactly when mail will reach recipients. Different mailing ‘cells’ might land on different days and this presents a challenge for mail senders trying to follow up marketing activity or respond to offers. With Mailmark each time the barcode is scanned on its journey from mail producer to the recipient an online mail tracking service is updated. This service provides mail senders with visibility of exactly where the mail is and specifically when it will arrive with recipients. The online service can also provide feedback about the quality of the address data used, offering opportunities to improve address data.
The Mailmark Checklist for direct mail businesses
The cheaper price and customer preference for visibility has forced direct mail providers to adopt Mailmark. Any printing or mailing business wishing to offer competitive direct mail services must be able to provide the Mailmark option. To get started direct mail businesses require 4 things
An account with Royal Mail with supplied test supply chain ID’s
A service to conduct Mailmark compliant sorts e.g. MyMailing
A method applying Mailmark barcodes such as MyMailing
Software to manage the eManifest upload to Royal Mail e.g. GeMMA
Download the complete guide to Mailmark
The Software Bureau, creators of MyMailing and GeMMA were involved in the inception of Mailmark. Since 2014 The Software Bureau have helped more than 75 organisations adopt Mailmark.
Download their free 24-page guide to becoming Mailmark ready.
Mailmark Step 1 Setting up an account with Royal Mail
To get started with Mailmark you must first contact Royal Mail to request registration for Mailmark. For those organisations who already have a Royal Mail account this request should be directed to your existing contact at Royal Mail. For those new to mail, an email should be sent to email@example.com requesting registration for Mailmark and asking for test SCID’s.
Mailmark Step 2 Create an account with MyMailing
Like any bulk mail service Mailmark requires users to sort mail according to Royal Mail specifications. A sortation service such as MyMailing allows users to upload an address file, choose a desired sort specification and generate a new Mailmark ready address file. A planning analysis report, bag label file and barcode font are also included in the downloadable zip file once a MyMailing sort is complete.
Run Your First Mailmark Sort with MyMailing
Mailmark Step 3 Apply Mailmark barcodes
A Mailmark compliant barcode must be applied to the mailing piece at the point of production. Some specialist document composition solutions include modules for producing Mailmark barcodes within their software. MyMailing users are provided with a font to produce the most common type 29 Mailmark barcode directly within their data-merging software. Simply allocate an appropriate text area on the artwork, ensure the Mailmark font is selected and merge with the sorted address fields created by MyMailing.
Mailmark Step 4 Upload the Mailmark eManifest to eMHS
Each Mailmark mailing piece produced must be included in an eManifest file. This eManifest can contain multiple mailing jobs and it must be uploaded to Royal Mail by 9.30pm on the day the mail is collected. The eManifest tells Royal Mail what physical mail is entering the delivery network. Mail providers use software such as GeMMA from The Software Bureau to manage the process of collating and uploading eManifests to Royal Mail. Mailmark sorts created from MyMailing automatically create GeMMA compatible eManifest files.