The U.S. Postal Service’s 2014 promotions calendar, officially announced recently, reprises popular programs with some new wrinkles aimed at increasing use of First Class, shipping, and digital technology. The biggest rate discount being offered, 15 percent, is for a spring promotion for First Class marketing pieces.
A coalition of postal customers and suppliers filed comments with the Postal Regulatory Commission asking it to reject the U.S. Postal Service’s request for a 4.3 percent exigent rate increase. Their bottom line: U.S. Postal Service’s claim that the rate is needed to offset lingering effects of the Great Recession doesn’t meet the exceptional circumstance criteria established by the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.
Mike Porter writes, “I was working for a service bureau looking to bring in some new inserting equipment. Frankly, we were behind the times – even back then. The newest inserter we owned was a swing arm machine that was about 20 years old. It worked fine for the most part, but it was pretty temperamental and it had its limitations.”
Reductions in First Class mail will continue. The package business is expected to grow significantly. Digitalization will be increasingly phased in, and standard mail will remain a viable and effective way for direct mailers to market. This is the vision Deputy Postmaster General of the United States Ron Stroman has for the U.S. Postal Service three to five years from now.
The importance of compelling direct mail copy as part of the overall package cannot be overstated. It’s the difference between the envelope being opened or tossed – and you only have seconds to make a lasting first impression. So find a creative writer and you have great copy for your direct mail campaign, right? Wrong.
Adam Lewenberg writes, “It can be very complicated to manage your mailing equipment agreements because there are so many different charges and often time avoidable fees can arise. This gets multiplied if you are responsible for multiple locations. I have helped accounts paying tens of thousands of dollars in avoidable fees because they did not understand how they were being billed. In this article we will give you the tools to understand these fees and to make sure you are only paying for the services required.”
Fans of e-commerce apparel company Bonobos, a digital pioneer when it debuted six years ago, might be surprised to open their snail-mailboxes this holiday season and find a paper catalog from the trendy brand inside. The 52-page book, filled with photos of handsome men in cashmere overcoats and wool caps standing in snowy fields, follows a successful test catalog sent out this past spring.
On Nov. 13, 2013 the United States Postal Servicefiled with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) a proposal to increase prices for what are considered their “competitive products.” This includes their shipping services of Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, Parcel Select, Parcel Return Service, First-Class Package Service, Standard Post, Domestic Extra Services, and International. The average price increase for these services is 2.4 percent and the implementation date will be Jan. 26, 2014 – the same date that the “market-dominant” prices increase as well as the requirement for Intelligent Mail Full-Service goes into effect.
By now, you should have already created an account on the U.S. Postal Service Business Customer Gateway so that you can access the PostalOne! system. This is a key element for submitting electronic documentation – a major requirement of the Intelligent Mail Full-Service program set to take effect Jan. 26, 2014. As part of that process, mailers must apply for Mailer Identification Numbers, or MID’s, and Customer Registration Identification Numbers, or CRID’s. If you have not already gone through this process, you are way behind the eight ball and really need to get going! But, even if you already have your MID’s and CRID’s, you may not be aware of exactly what purposes they serve.
It’s clear that email is not replacing direct mail any more that texting has replaced normal phone conversations. What texting has done is change some of the purpose behind making a phone call. Direct mail and email have taken the same path. Texting is ideal for when you need to connect with someone and either, or both, of you may be unable to take a phone call. If you would like an actual conversation and to hear a human voice, then a phone call is of course the best way (OK, or you could Skype, which is still a phone call). You can’t text when you’re driving (legally of course), the phone is a way better option for reaching someone in that instance. Texting did not kill the phone call—they both have their place. Likewise, email has not killed direct mail.