In a keynote speech at the National Postal Forum—the annual mailing industry trade show—Megan Brennan, postmaster general and CEO of the Postal Service, promoted opportunities for the mailing industry to leverage the rapid adoption of digital and mobile technology by today’s consumers. “We’ve become a device-oriented culture, with laptops, tablets, smartphones and now even watches providing digital and mobile experiences in every aspect of our lives,” remarked Brennan. “The good news is that our industry has a big role to play in that digital future.”
From March 12, 2014: President Obama renewed his longstanding call to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service in his fiscal 2015 budget, saying the agency must be reformed to ensure its future viability. Obama recommended restructuring the Postal Service’s requirement to prefund the health care of retirees. His plan would defer the fixed payments due in 2014, and part of the payments due in the two years after that. Those payments would then be restructured into a 40-year amortization schedule starting in 2017. The proposal would provide more than $9 billion in relief to U.S. Postal Service through 2016.
Direct mail is one of most viable marketing channels available, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Direct mail continues to outperform electronic channels in acquiring new customers. In fact, statistics from the DMA comparing the performance of direct mail and electronic channels show consumers readily accept direct mail as a vehicle companies use to market their products and services. But most importantly, direct mail is measurable, and the return on investment (ROI) is strong.
For some marketers, direct mail may be a strange topic to tackle in our increasingly digital age. A number of consumers have endured so many mailboxes full of bad marketing pieces that they’d be happy if direct mail died altogether. However, there is a way to redeem direct mail’s reputation and use it to pique your recipients’ interest: excellent design.
A lot of people tune into the Super Bowl every year just to watch the commercials. Some years there are some great ones. Other years, not so much. If your particular team isn’t playing, the commercials can be the highlight of the whole day. And when you think about what companies spend to air a commercial during the Super Bowl (an average of about $4.5 million for a 30-second commercial in 2015), you would expect that these clever masterpieces would have some pretty serious impact.
The Postal Service’s new acting CMO, Jim Cochrane, admitted that, like all marketing channels, mail faced challenges. But he argued that it’s gotten its data act together and is better poised to engage in the digitally dominated marketing world than it was just a few years ago. “We’re focused on data and analytics. In the past it was a field of dreams, but now 90% of our mail volume is using IMb [Intelligent Mail barcodes] and packages are getting close to that,” Cochrane said today at a press conference at the National Postal Forum in Anaheim.
The U.S. Postal Service is launching a multi-channel effort that includes an online dashboard giving real-time postal statistics and showcasing campaign assets. The WatchUsDeliver.com dashboard, which launched May 19, features a collection of live counters, impressive postal facts and entertaining modules, like the Live Eagle Cam—a 24/7 stream of rescued American bald eagles “Independence” and “Franklin.”
Americans and Canadians alike love free shipping when buying items online. But when they’re paying the freight, both prefer to wait a few days longer to receive their packages than to shell out higher shipping fees. Asked what was the crucial factor in deciding to make an online purchase, 76 percent of Canadians and 63 percent of Americans said shipping cost was “very important,” while only 22 and 23 percent, respectively, named speed of delivery as the key motivator.
Digital enthusiasts like to crow about the “death of direct mail,” but make no mistake: when combined with digital channels, direct mail can be even more effective now than ever before! Many marketers still treat and track digital and traditional channels separately. In order to enhance the performance of direct mail, marketers should effectively integrate all new and emerging digital channels. Here are four examples.