When everything is available for sale on your smartphone, why do catalogs still clutter your mailbox? The old-school marketing format has survived to play a crucial creative role in modern e-commerce. Today, the catalog is bait for customers, like a store window display, and a source of inspiration, the way roaming through store aisles can be. The hope is shoppers will mark pages they like and then head online, or into a store, to buy.
Nearly 7 billion pieces of mail go undelivered each year, a travesty for both the planet and for direct mailers’ budgets, says the head of a California company that verifies and corrects mailing list data. “The fact is our Earth is in trouble,” says Geoff Grow, CEO of Service Objects. “Reducing waste through data quality is why we exist. By being efficient with direct mail campaigns, we preserve energy, drastically lessen the amount of paper ending up in landfills, and reduce the use of many other natural resources.”
Do you ever wonder how your mailings measure up to all the latest United States Postal Service requirements? How can you be sure if you are meeting all the requirements or barely meeting the thresholds set by the Postal Service? Did you know that the Postal Service will implement financial penalties as early as July 2014 for Full-Service mailings not meeting the requirements? Now the Postal Service has a new reporting system called the “Mailer Scorecard.” That’s right. You get scored on how well or badly you are performing when processing mailings using their programs. The Mailer Scorecard is a report that tracks your mailing performance trends across months and years for various U.S. Postal Service programs.
Every month, the Who’s Mailing What! team gathers around the archive table and looks through the hundreds upon hundreds of direct mail packages that are sent to us from around the country. One of the largest categories of mail that we track is financial services. And—within that broad category—are credit card mailings. We can be inundated with them.
Rep. Darrell Issa may introduce a U.S. Postal Service overhaul bill that more closely tracks with a White House plan, a move that the California Republican hopes will help rally more Democrats, congressional aides say. With the clock ticking on his tenure as chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Issa, the leading House advocate for legislation to overhaul the financially troubled agency, may introduce the bill as soon as next week, when Congress returns from its break.
The U.S. Postal service has launched its second trial of a same day delivery service, this time in New York City. The Metro Post-branded service sees Manhattan businesses paying a fee for their packages to be collected in the afternoon and delivered anywhere on the island by that evening. New York District Customer Services Supervisor Jesse Garrett said the new service “blows our competition out of the water,” but it remains small with just five city carrier assistants providing delivery.
In the aftermath of this year’s historic 6 percent increase in postal rates, mailers have been advised by postal consultants and agency wags to enter into a kind of direct mail rehab. The rate is the rate, it’s not going to change—the abiding wisdom goes—so clean your lists, right-time your mailings, integrate them with other channels, co-mail and commingle, and wring the most out of your increasingly dear postal dollars.
While it seems like both technology and business publications are constantly writing about the latest social media trends, direct mail isn’t a topic that’s known for making headlines. However, just because the press isn’t infatuated with direct mail doesn’t mean it’s not a valid marketing option. On the contrary, it’s a tried-and-true marketing tool that still works quite well.
Digital marketing and digital media have changed the way many marketers communicate with their customers and prospects. Email has provided a cost-effective and expeditious vehicle to communicate with customers. Online vehicles, such as banner ads and content marketing, are demonstrating value as effective pull marketing mechanisms.
So has digital marketing, and more specifically digital media channels, changed or influenced direct mail best practices? And how should marketers adapt their direct mail to accommodate these new channels?