Blueprint Management Group, an Australian outsourced direct marketing services company, has announced that it has sold a substantial shareholding to ANZ’s private equity arm, in a move that some in the industry are seeing as indicative of the strength of the direct marketing channel.

The deal is one of the largest private equity deals completed by ANZ in Australia and was supported by debt from both ANZ and Westpac leveraged finance.

The new investment will allow Blueprint – through its brands Customcall and Financial Advice Centre – to continue with its strong plans for growth.

Sydney-based Blueprint – set up in 1997 by Creel Price and Trevor Folsom – builds and delivers direct marketing programs to drive sales and foster customer retention for some Australian and global financial services, utilities and telecommunications brands.

Co-founders Trevor Folsom and Creel Price welcomed the deal saying the Board of Directors was delighted by the agreement with ANZ.

“After a decade of leading the business we announced two years ago our intention to hand the reigns over to an executive management team, effectively to take the group to the next level of success.”

“When we set the company up, we had a vision of transforming the industry which had been plagued by high costs and unpredictable marketing strategies that often lost as many customers as it gained. We think we have created a company that has assisted major players in the sector to overcome these growth issues.

“ANZ’s investment underlines just how important the direct marketing industry has become, particularly as we see a tightening of marketing budgets.

For the Newshound this story just reinforces a couple of points hes been chewing over recently:

  1. Yes, the direct channel is still a viable and strong marketing channel
  2. No, this does not mean in uncertain economic times that marketers should abandon all other channels in favour of one that is the easiest sell to the board in terms of quantifiable ROI.

Come on marketers, be imaginative! If you disagree, so much the better. Just make sure you get ready to weigh into the debate in our next Around the Table piece, which will hit the site and the news stands simultaneously on 28th May. Itll be asking the question whether marketing budgets should be trimmed in times of looming recession, a hot topic right now for sure!