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Posts Tagged ‘USPS’

How to save the Post Office?

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

The US Postal Service lost $3.8 billion last year. While still one of the most effective marketing channels, postal mail is in danger of extinction. Can the post office be saved? Postal Journal is a new website that aims to find a solution.

Postal Journal's mission is:

To explore the evolution of the American postal system as part of the nation's 21st century economic and communication infrastructure. To facilitate an exchange of postal perspectives by individuals without regard to past or present occupational affiliations.

The website is not high on design, but it contains links to a number of interesting proposals, such as the "Examination of Potential Postal Business Models" by Alan Robinson. He studies various models and proposes consideration of a private corporate model as other services have done successfully:

Postal Operators Spectrum of Business Models

Is Robinson's the right business model? That's a good debate. And it's good that the Postal Journal website is presenting this idea and many others for consideration. Unfortunately, the website is not interactive… it would be very helpful to see discussion and debate related to the various proposals.

The Postal Journal site has been made possible through the support of the Association for Postal Commerce, Direct Communications Group, the Direct Marketing Association, the Envelope Manufacturers Association Foundation, and the Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association – all of whom have a vested interest in a viable postal service.

Going ‘Postal’ is No Longer Insane

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Going postal in 2010 may be the best decision you make. There’s less competition in direct mail, and there’s less clutter in the box! There is also much more information available today about the prospects on consumer and b2b mailing lists.

Here’s a guest post from Jim Gilbert of Gilbert Direct Marketing, with some initial optimism regarding a freeze on postage rates next year for dominant classes:

From Jim,

Over the last three years, I’ve been super vocal about my dislike for the U.S. Postal Service and its less-than-forward-thinking bureaucracy. When it slammed catalog mailers with 20 percent-plus postage increases in 2007, I went (pun intended) postal on it. (more…)

Is Direct Mail Doomed?

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Direct Mail Falls, E-mail Soars (May '09) MediaPost just published a story entitled "Direct Mail Doomed, Long Live Email" which covers research by Borrell Associates entitled "Direct Mail Falls, E-mail Soars (May '09)". As you might guess from the title, the story spells the demise of direct mail:

After making quick work of print newspapers, and the Yellow Pages industry, "The kudzu-like creep of the Internet is about to claim its third analog victim," warns a new report from research firm Borrell Associates. The victim? "The largest and least-read of all print media: Direct mail."

"Direct mail has begun spiraling into what we believe is a precipitous decline from which it will never fully recover," Borrell predicts. More specifically, it is projecting a 39% decline for direct mail over the next five years, from $49.7 billion in annual ad spending in 2008 to $29.8 billion by the end of 2013.

If Borrell is correct, direct mail will fall from the premiere placeholder for ad revenue to the fourth — behind the Web, broadcast TV, and newspapers.

Is direct mail really doomed?

The financial situation of the USPS is certainly a recipe for disaster: they seem to be in a "death spiral" where their cost burdens drive up postage which drives down direct mail ROI which reduces revenue and profit which drives postage higher (repeat…). Electronic bill presentment and bill paying is taking a big chunk out of the USPS pocketbook. Credit card mailers have pulled back significantly because of their own problems. The USPS' list of financial problems is long and getting longer every day.

Cross-selling, up-selling, and retention programs (i.e. marketing to current customers) can be very effective through email if done right. This reduces demand for direct mail.

However, prospecting for new customers through email often fails miserably (particularly when the wrong mailing lists are chosen). This is where direct mail still shines despite the all the economic challenges of getting direct mail to the mail box. Response rates, average order, and ROI are higher with direct mail prospecting programs. With good mailing lists, results are even better.

What do you think? Can prospecting save direct mail? Or will spiraling postage and other cost increases eventually make direct mail inviable?

Email or Zairmail? NextMark Makes It EZ

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

NextMark has found a new partner to help you create and send direct mail! If you are looking for an email list then the email list finder is a great place to start. However, if you would like to create and send direct mail through the USPS, then take a visit to Zairmail. NextMark's new affiliate partner provides you with online tools that make direct mail easy.

Email List Finder

Did you know that you can find information on over 15,000 e-mail lists using the free mailing lists search tool?

Did you know that you can also find information on over 55,000 postal mailing lists using the free mailing lists search tool?

 Zairmail 123

You now have convenient access to targeted mailing lists, direct mail and postcard templates, and everything else you need to grow your business using direct mail marketing. There is also a free sample mail kit that contains all the information you need to get your direct mail campaigns off the ground.

Real Mail Made Easy

 

Post Office mandates cleaner mailing lists

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

United States Post Office (USPS) The United States Post Office (USPS) is now requiring mailers to update their list more frequently. According to Direct Magazine, "Under the new regulations lists must be updated 95 days prior to the date of a mailing. The previous requirement was 185 days."

The purpose of this change, effective November 23, 2008, is to improve the deliverability of mail as part of the USPS' Strategic Transformation Plan 2006-2010. According to the "Improve Mail and List Quality with Real-Time Feedback" section of plan:

"More frequent mailing list updates to correct the addresses for customers who have moved is another step mailers must take to reduce undeliverable mail and the need for forwarding. New Move Update policies requiring mailers to update customer information within 95 days of mailing will be effective for First-Class Mail and Standard Mail in November 2008."

What's their motivation? Very simple: there's a lot of money to be saved. According to the Plan:

"Estimates of the amount of mail that is undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) are in the billions of pieces, resulting in well over $1 billion in postal costs each year and enormous waste and unnecessary expense for mailers. Addresses that are incomplete or out of date affect service as well as costs. Even when incorrectly addressed mail can be delivered, it is commonly delayed and re-routed multiple times."

The USPS' goals are also very significant:

"The Postal Serviceā€˜s goal is to cut the 2004 cost of UAA mail in half by 2010. To achieve this goal, it is working with mailers to validate address information and improve the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of address lists."

The Post Office knows that good mailing lists are the key to deliverability. Marketers know that good mailing lists are the key to high response rates and return on marketing investment.

Clean up those lists! Need some help finding new mailing lists. NextMark has a free Mailing Lists Search Tool to help you reach your market.