Despite direct mail being a so-called “traditional” marketing approach, it has had its own technological advances of late—advances that fundamentally change the way prospects engage with your message. The advances come in the form of unique ways to customize your piece, and even the ability. to personalize your piece with data about the recipient.
Regulators in the United States have approved plans by the US Postal Service to lower its Priority Mail rates for business customers from next month — despite concerns expressed by ground shipping rivals UPS and FedEx. Retail rates for Priority Mail will increase on average 1.7 percent in order to maintain the Postal Service’s overall rate cap.
Fifty vacationing Senators attached their names to a letter sent recently to the chairwoman and ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, asking them to block Phase 2 of the U.S. Postal Service’s Network Rationalization plan. They want a one-year moratorium on the closure of 82 processing facilities and the elimination of 15,000 jobs, as well as a ban on delivery cuts.
Postal reform still sits in Congress’ dead letter office, but politicians are doing something to keep the U.S. Postal Service afloat: They’re spending millions of dollars on direct mail this election. The Center for Responsive Politics reports the postal service has been paid $17.5 million so far this election cycle for delivering political direct-mail pieces, ranking it No. 4 on the center’s list of political vendors. This revenue won’t close the postal service’s fiscal gap — it lost $2 billion last quarter — but every little bit helps.
Admit it. No matter how much magic there is to marketing, we’re all hooked on data. We use it to confirm a suspicion, make our case, benchmark ourselves. It helps guide strategic marketing decisions and influences creative. So, in the spirit of data sharing, we’ve gone through our recent archives* to present you with a selection of compelling, odd, or surprising data points.
The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) announced that Phase 2 of the planned network consolidation and corresponding adjustment of delivery service standards will be resumed beginning in January 2015. As we reported in earlier e-Tips, the USPS originally laid out their Network Rationalization plan in 2011 with a phased approach to closing and consolidating various postal facilities and making the necessary service standard adjustments to correspond with the new service network. Phase 2 of that plan was scheduled to be implemented on February 1, 2014, but the USPS postponed those plans. The USPS goal in closing a large number of processing facilities is to cut costs and optimize their processing network to more closely align with the decreased volumes of mail.
Network facility changes
The first phase of the network optimization plan began in July 2012 and involved 48 facilities. The USPS halted closures during the busy mailing season of September through December 2012, but resumed the first phase closure plans in January 2013. The USPS again halted the closures after July 2013 for the busy mailing season through the end of the year (consolidating a total of 141 facilities), and then planned to resume Phase 2 in early 2014. The Phase 2 plan will begin in January 2015 with consolidation of up to 82 facilities. The network consolidation so far has realized an annual cost savings to the USPS of $865 million and required no employee layoffs. This next phase is expected to realize an additional $750 million in annual savings.
The USPS provides detailed information regarding the planned facility consolidations and closures on a special Our Future Network web page. Included on that page is a link to the Phase 2 FAQ’s. Their Mail Move Plan is available in Excel spreadsheet format, and will be updated on a weekly basis. The USPS also provides information on these planned consolidations on its main web site.
What it means for mailers
So, what does all this mean for mailers? As the consolidations and closures take place, mailers will need to make sure their mailing software solutions – both presort and post-presort – are updated with the most recent postal destination data updates. This includes Labeling Lists, destination drop ship data files (including re-directions), etc. Mailers will also need to pay close attention to the proposed changes in the USPS service standards and monitor mail delivery so that any necessary adjustments can be made to mailing schedules. Stay tuned for further updates as this initiative progresses.
Window Book’s software allows you to easily keep your USPS destination data files, including Labeling Lists and drop ship data, up to date automatically. Our Automatic Postal Data Updater is a complimentary feature in our software, which requires a one-time configuration in the Window Book Automation Scheduler. Contact our technical support team for more details on how to configure your Window Book software for these automatic updates.
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Window Book is here to help
Window Book’s industry-leading post-presort solution, DAT-MAIL™ can help you take advantage of these USPS incentive promotions. To schedule a free Mail Optimization Analysis, visit www.windowbook.com/MOA.
SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Postal Service today added legendary singer Janis Joplin to its Music Icons Forever Stamp series during a first-day-of-issue ceremony at the Outside Lands Music Festival at Golden Gate Park.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service today issued four colorful stamps saluting America’s farmers markets during a first-day-of-issue ceremony held at the FRESHFARM Market by the White House.