Orangebox hits double figures, profits from the direct resurgence

Direct mail is undergoing something of a renaissance at the moment and was up 16 percent to $58 million in the latest ASA ad spend stats. And Orangebox, which has just celebrated its tenth anniversary, is happily riding that wave.

Stephen Bennett, who started the company with Thomas Subritzky in Wellington back in 2003, says the company has grown from two staff to over 50 now. And it’s expanding rapidly, with growth of 48 percent for the Auckland business and 24 percent in Wellington over the past year.

“Not bad for a company in its tenth year,” he says.

As its slogan says ‘We Love Direct’ and he puts the current growth in direct down to a combination of the medium’s measurability, affordability and tangibility. At a time when less mail is being delivered, he says receiving something has become something of a novelty and, as a result, usually has great cut-through. And while he would like to say agencies are using direct creatively to tap into that, it is still a rarity to see a brilliant DM campaign. 

Data use has been getting plenty of column inches in recent months and Bennett says it takes this side of its business very seriously because “everything we do involves data”.

It recently became part of the New Zealand Marketing Association’s Data Warranty Register for its data storage and handling, making it the first mailhouse in the country—and just the fifth business overall—to be given this status.

The register has been created to provide consumers with the confidence that organisations carrying the DWR Trustmark will treat their personal information with respect and privacy, in accordance with best practice standards and New Zealand law.

Bennett admits that direct isn’t the sexiest part of the industry, but most understand its importance and rather than calling itself a mailhouse, he prefers the term “relationship marketers” because it is increasingly moving towards the multi-channel experience (for example, managing EDMs, SMS campaigns or microsites with personalised URLS for clients).

He says it now has over 300 clients, including Foodstuffs, AA, Cigna and a lot of the country’s biggest charities, such as Salvation Army, Arthritis New Zealand and the Foundation of the Blind. And in terms of size, he says it’s now the fifth or sixth biggest mailhouse in the country. 


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