Saturday 3 December 2016

An Post builds on GPO's revolutionary past and develops marketing software set to go global

John McGee

Published 10/07/2016 | 02:30

The GPO in Dublin, a symbol of Easter 1916 and still a working post office — from where the revolutionary new direct marketing software will be licensed
The GPO in Dublin, a symbol of Easter 1916 and still a working post office — from where the revolutionary new direct marketing software will be licensed

An Post is in talks with a number of international postal services around the world about licensing a proprietary software as a service (SaaS) platform which it has developed. The self-service platform helps companies target potential customers with direct mailshots that have been created in the cloud.

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According to Liam Sheehan, sales and marketing director of An Post, the company has received interest from postal services in the UK, Australia, Canada and Portugal and is in advanced discussions with two of these.

"I'd be very surprised if we don't have one of those deals closed off by the end of the first quarter of 2017," he says.

The new platform, called Admailer 2.0, builds on a previous service offering which the company developed several years ago. The latest iteration adds much greater functionality and uses technology and software developed in-house, says Sheehan.

Merging a wide range of proprietary consumer data, developed by its Data Ireland subsidiary, together with a cloud-based design suite, customers of the service can create personalised direct mail campaigns which will then be printed at a central location and distributed by An Post the next day.

"About four years ago, we developed the original beta site that used other companies' software and technology. It didn't cost us very much and it was just about functional. But we were surprised with the demand and the positive feedback we received. While it was being used primarily by SMEs, we found big brands wanted to use it," he says.

"So we took some of the good bits from the original Admailer and set about rebuilding it from the ground up. It was like developing a start-up internally within An Post. We now own all the intellectual property around it which makes it an attractive proposition in its own right," he adds.

While SMEs are expected to account for the lion's share of customers, An Post will launch a version of the product aimed at larger corporates at the end of August.

"An example of a large corporate using the service could be a car brand that can store all its marketing collateral in the cloud and allowing the local distributor download it and personalise it for the local market. While control of the brand is still managed centrally by the company, it gives dealers the ability to be smarter at a local level," says Sheehan.

The move comes as postal services around the world continue to seek out alternative and complementary revenue streams as the volume of traditional mail and the revenues derived from it continues to plummet.

Last month, the State-owned company announced that it made a profit of €8.6m on a turnover of €826.1m in 2015 but losses incurred in its mail division amounted to €32m.

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