BBS, a Chester based mailing house and software company with over 400 retail clients spotted an opportunity with Royal Mail's new Mailmark technology to enhance their clients marketing programmes and greatly improve efficiency.


Labourious manual data capture meant slow insights for some BBS clients.


BBS offer clients addition of Mailmark barcode with their innovative, built in, bespoke data solution.


BBS clients gain the edge with faster, more accurate data insights and control, including 24/48 hour metrics turnaround. 

Find out more


Business opportunity

BBS logo

Mailing house and software development
Retail clients:

As members of the Strategic Mail Partnership Group (a joint initiative between Royal Mail and the UK’s mailing house industry), BBS heard about Mailmark early on. They immediately saw its potential for their business: by developing software to process the data Mailmark provided, they could enable their clients to get a better level of measurement from their mailings, and faster. On top of this, Mailmark meant clients would get the cheapest possible postage option.

Curtis Morgan of BBS says, "Mailmark has helped us keep the cost of direct mail down, making it an affordable media - even for those clients mailing at little as 500 items. "

BBS realised they had an opportunity to vastly improve on the laborious manual data capture which was the only option for some of their clients. For such clients - those without their own data processing capabilities - they could create a cost-effective and efficient way of enhancing their marketing programmes.

Before it would take weeks and weeks [to get metrics] and more often any kind of follow up communication wouldn’t happen.Curtis Morgan - BBS Ltd


BBS piloted a study with clients to benchmark new Mailmark barcoded campaigns against the same campaigns run a year before, and this showed matching response rates. With the lower postage rates of Mailmark, and the ability to track precisely when mail exited and landed, addition of the new barcode was clearly going to be a proven benefit to clients.

How BBS innovated with Mailmark

After the simple step of adding a Mailmark barcode to the mailing, clients had confidence they had only paid for what they had mailed and could track where their mail was in the system - when it went out for delivery and when it would land. This level of information allowed clients to plan campaigns more accurately and flex resource where needed. The company then took things up to the next level when they innovatively added bespoke data into the Mailmark barcode.

Mailmark has... given us a competitive edge by being able to measure clients events even better”. 
Curtis Morgan - BBS Ltd

Where standard data (such as class and format), is contained in the first 45 characters of the barcode, BBS added bespoke data (such as customer unique reference number, or offer detail history) into one of 3 remaining data-strings. This allowed the Mailmark barcode to continue to add value once the mail had been delivered.  For example, it can now be scanned when the customer takes the letter into store or to an event, making it easy to track level of response as well as who is responding, or for processing returns. 

The post delivery scan lets BBS use their bespoke Mailmark software to produce more granular metrics and insights that enhance their clients marketing reporting and planning - boosting their client relationship from mailing house to strategic partner.

Event driven marketing

Where Mailmark has had the greatest impact is in adding value to BBS event driven marketing offering. BBS has been particularly proactive in inserting a client’s own data into the barcode.  This means that if a customer attends an event and brings their letter or invite, a client can scan the barcode and the data is then captured by BBS, allowing them to report response rates extremely quickly.  This not only helps clients measure the impact of the mailing almost immediately, it allows them to follow up with responders while the event is fresh in their minds.

"we can turn things around
in 24/48 hours"
Curtis Morgan BBS Ltd

Curtis Morgan of BBS was very happy with the outcome: 

“Marketing is so dynamic these days the fact that we can turn things around in 24/48 hours and have metrics that show how successful an event was as well as respond with a second mailing very quickly...  This allows our clients to be more agile - which gives them the edge in the current marketing world.” 

Fine tuning

Once response has been measured and acted on, the data can then be further analysed to get a profile of who is responding. This can guide companies to find ‘look-a-like’ prospects, and identify those profiles not responding in order to de-prioritise in the next mailing or try another approach: 

A garden centre on the South coast spent a lot of money on a mailing inviting a large footprint of customers in their region to an event. BBS analysed responders and ascertained the core footprint of responders to be from a smaller cluster of postcodes. This allowed BBS and the client to be more focused and efficient for the next mailing. It also allowed BBS to show that direct mail had been the most effective media of all the local advertising they had done.

More opportunities to come

Mailmark has proved invaluable in enhancing every level of service the mailing house offers their clients. It has ensured BBS offers the best discount as well as giving clients total control of their mailing and it is now the default postage option for all sealed letters and postcards that BBS send.  

BBS hopes to be able to get even more scientific and deeper into the analytics in the future – for example using bar coded vouchers to understand spend.

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