Archive of posts filed under the From the Staff category.

Mail Drives Mobile Commerce Promotion

Yet another USPS® incentive promotion is rapidly approaching – Mail Drives Mobile Commerce Promotion. This promotion starts running on November 1, 2014 through the end of the year (December 31, 2014), but the registration for this promotion started on September 15, 2014.

Mail Drives Mobile Commerce Promotion
The goal of this promotion is to promote use of mobile technology in direct mail to create a convenient method for consumers to do their shopping. This promotion is offered to Standard Mail(including non-profit) Letters and Flats mailings that use mobile barcode technology on the mailpieces which, when scanned by a mobile device, leads to a mobile optimized web site.

The incentive is a 2% up front postage discount, which is calculated in PostalOne!® and applied to the postage statement at the time of mailing. Mailers may also be eligible for an additional one percent rebate on the postage of their qualifying mailings if a portion of their orders are fulfilled via Priority Mail® between November 3, 2104 and January 15, 2015. Mailers who wish to participate in the Priority Mail rebate must complete a separate claim form that is due no later than February 15, 2015.

The registration period for this promotion started September 15, 2014 and runs through December 31, 2014. As a reminder, the promotion period runs from November 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014.

Eligible mail pieces must include a mobile barcode or other equivalent print/mobile technology that when scanned by a mobile device, leads to a mobile optimized web site. The destination web pages must reside on a web site platform that contains or is deeply integrated with a checkout functionality that allows the customer to complete the purchase of the product referenced in the mailpiece through a complete mobile optimized experience.

  • Mailpieces must contain an Intelligent Mail® Full-Service barcode.
  • Directional copy must be included near the mobile barcode on the mailpiece providing guidance to the consumer to scan the barcode or image and information about the landing page.
  • For purposes of this promotion, a product is defined as a tangible and physical item that needs to be distributed or manufactured and can be shipped via a mailing or shipping product offered by the USPS (delivery by the USPS is not required).
  • Mailings must be submitted via eDoc using Mail.dat®, Mail.XMLor the Postal Wizard. The eDoc must identify the mail owner and mail preparer in the By/For fields using the CRID, MID, or Permit number.
  • All pieces covered by a postage statement claiming the discount must meet all eligibility requirements.
  • Mail must be tendered for acceptance during the promotion period of November 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014.
  • Postage payment for the eligible mailings must be paid using Permit Imprint or Pre-canceled Stamp permit. Some Meter Permit mailings may qualify.

More detailed program requirements are available online, as well as a Mail Owner enrollment guide and a Mail Service Provider enrollment guide.

Additional information
More detailed information regarding these upcoming promotions can be obtained at the USPS RIBBS® web site, or questions may be directed via email to

Some members of the media are calling attention to the meetings industry in a spotlight that blurs the benefits of face-to-face events.


The latest commentary on what’s happening in the industry from tech and tools to people and places.

February 19 2013
Investing in Education
By Deborah Sexton, President and CEO

Some members of the media are calling attention to the meetings industry in a spotlight that blurs the benefits of face-to-face events.

A report from California-based KTVU on Monday, February 18, highlights that the United States Postal Service will be spending upwards of $2 million to send the Postmaster General and 400 USPS employees to the National Postal Forum in San Francisco. The Washington Times picked up the story with a headline that reads “Broke U.S. Postal Service pays $2M for conference, golf, party.”

While the USPS has yet to release an outline of the expenses that comprise this budget, the organization has made it clear that it is not covering all of its attendees’ personal expenses. Employees will shoulder the costs of golfing fees along with some additional costs.

As the news unfolds, leaders in the meetings industry must take time to fully understand the circumstances and give all parties the opportunity to demonstrate their rationale and the business benefits of their strategy and decisions. While headlines may lead to negative assumptions from a public that has seen plenty of headlines of massive losses and reductions in delivery service, the reality is that participating in this kind of conference is what will help the USPS determine a path to return to profitability.

The NPF offers four days of education that will undoubtedly play a role in shaping the future of mail delivery. The session lineup includes courses such as “The Digital Journey: Shaping the Future of the Postal Industry”, “Enhancing the Value of Print” and “Securing Your Business in an Insecure Digital World.” As more people pay their bills online, these sessions are very relevant for those 400 employees who will be on-site.

If the Postal Service is going to determine a way forward, it’s not going to happen in a silo behind closed doors. It’s going to happen by meeting new customers, strengthening relations with current customers, gaining new knowledge and searching for new solutions to reduce costs in the digital age. All of these activities can occur in one place: a face-to-face meeting.

Make Your Voice Heard

The meetings industry is no stranger to scrutiny, and this news reinforces the need for all meeting professionals to show their support for the real benefits of bringing people together. Meetings are not parties or golf outings; they are idea exchanges that, when designed effectively, power prosperity and business success. For businesses like the USPS that have been facing significant financial struggles, meetings and events can be the key to laying a foundation for a strong future.

5 Tips for Making a Trade Show a Success

by Joyce McKee on August 6, 2012

Thom Singer has written an excellent article titled, Dear Boss – I Wasted The Company’s Money At The Trade Show. He makes a point in the beginning of the article how many companies are wasting their marketing dollars via trade shows. Once they come back to their offices, they point fingers at the show organizer for low traffic, decision makers were not in attendance, poor booth location, etc. Common complaints from exhibitors who are not well prepared for “show time.”

Thom states: “I have never heard of any sales and marketing professionals who return to the office and send the following email… but many should:

“Dear Boss;

I wasted the company’s money at the trade show. I know that you invested a lot of money in sending me to the event, but I failed to participate in a manner that would ensure ROI. Instead I (and the rest of our team) sat on my butt, checked email and Facebook every five minutes, complained about the organizers decisions, and skipped out early to have dinner with my college buddy who lives in the city where the event was held. While the attendees were in the keynote sessions I used that time to go back to my room to sleep off my hangover. Then when they were walking around the trade show I stayed in the booth behind a table and tried not to make eye contact with anyone. My strategy to get leads was to let the prospects come find me. During the networking breaks and happy hours I hung around with the other vendors. As you know, nobody at an event really wants to talk to a sponsor, so I did not want to bother them. There is that invisible wall between vendors and attendees, and I stayed on my side of the barrier. I appreciate that the company invested a lot of money in being a sponsor of the event, even though we did not get much value. I wanted to let you know that I will be as much of a slouch at the next event, too, as sponsoring these things is just a “check the box” activity. I did want to thank you as I really needed this break from my wife and kids, as the baby is not sleeping and trade shows are a great escape for me from the routine of my life.


Thom provides great advice on what an exhibitor should consider:

1. Your booth location does not matter. If you are waiting for the prospects to find you, then you are not good at your job. The best vendors go to the people, and are not overly concerned with the traffic by their booth. If you want to meet the people step out of your booth and instigate conversations. Do not jump into “sales mode”, but instead be in “human mode” and talk to others.

2. Job titles do not matter. Success at a trade show rarely means closing business on the spot. Thus the best of the best are not concerned with the job title of those they meet on-site. They realize that anyone from a prospective client organization can be the conduit to introductions inside companies. Cultivating meaningful relationships, and then proper follow up, with a lower-level employee often leads to c-level introductions.

3. Competitors are just additional people to get to know. Being concerned that your competitors are present is silly. Who cares. If you are better you will win. But better is not just about product or service, it is also your to tell your story. Your prospects know about the other providers in your industry, they are not a secret. Befriend your competition and you will discover competitive information, and also identity the right people to hire the next time you are looking to fill positions.

4. Vendors are only separate if you make it that way. You must be present to win. This means participating in all aspects of the program. The smartest vendors are sitting in the audience during the keynotes (and sometimes the breakout sessions) so that they know what is being talked about during the breaks. They stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone else at the conference, not hiding in the trade show area. By being engaged you will position yourself as part of the “mini-society” that is created at an event… not just a vendor.

5. You are always “on”. While at a trade show you must be constantly focused on the opportunities that exist. When you sneak off to your room to sleep or catch up on emails you are not going to meet people. Opportunities come from people, not from a list of emails. When you skip happy hour, dinner, or time in the hotel bar to go see local friends you are at fault for any lack uncovering leads.

The 2013 National Postal Forum (NPF) will be held in San Francisco, CA, March 17-20, 2013.

Keeping with San Francisco’s reputation as a vibrant and ground-breaking city, this year’s theme is “Delivering Solutions.” Our goal is to develop an NPF program that showcases innovative uses of postal services and inspires participants to explore new opportunities for growing their business.

The line up will include exciting new training sessions along with stimulating networking opportunities for mailing industry professionals. To this end, we are looking for exceptional speakers and workshop topics in the following categories:

• Innovative ways to use mail to grow your business and retain customers
• Creative/effective mail piece designs to get high responses
• Shipping solutions for ecommerce
• Using intelligent mail technology to meet business objectives
• How to improve addressing to meet business objectives
• Mailroom manager’s best practices and essential tools
• Professional development/career advancement

If you have a workshop idea you would like us to consider, please go to and fill out the Workshop Presentation Form. The deadline to send in your Workshop Presentation Form online is Tuesday, September 18. NPF and USPS personnel will evaluate all submissions and let you know by mid-October if you have been selected to present.

If you have other suggestions to make this the best NPF ever, please let us know by sending an email to All suggestions will be reviewed and considered for this year’s offering at the National Postal Forum.

For any questions or comments regarding the 2013 NPF call for papers, please contact Lori Miller at or call 703-293-2318.


The U.S. Postal Service today announced plans to move ahead with a modified plan to consolidate its network of 461 mail processing locations in phases. The first phase of activities will result in up to 140 consolidations through February of 2013. Unless the circumstances of the Postal Service change in the interim, a second and final phase of 89 consolidations is currently scheduled to begin in February of 2014.

“We revised our network consolidation timeline to provide a longer planning schedule for our customers, employees and other stakeholders, and to enable a more methodical and measured implementation,” said Patrick Donahoe, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the Postal Service. “We simply do not have the mail volumes to justify the size and capacity of our current mail processing network. To return to long-term profitability and financial stability while keeping mail affordable, we must match our network to the anticipated workload,” said Donahoe. “Our current plan meets our cost reduction goals, ensures seamless and excellent service performance throughout the implementation period, and provides adequate time for our customers to adapt to our network changes.”

The Postal Service will begin consolidating operations this summer — which mostly involve transferring mail processing operations from smaller to larger facilities. Due to the volume of high-priority mail predicted for the election and holiday mailing seasons, no consolidating activities will be conducted from September through December of 2012. Approximately 5,000 employees will begin receiving notifications next week related to consolidating and other efficiency-enhancing activities to be conducted this summer.

“We will be conducting consolidation activities this summer at only 48 locations,” said Megan Brennan, chief operating officer of the Postal Service. “As a result, nearly all consolidating activities in 2012 will occur in August and then will resume again the early part of next year.” These consolidating activities will reduce the size of the Postal Service workforce by approximately 13,000 employees and, when fully implemented, will generate cost reductions of approximately $1.2 billion annually.

“The Postal Service will be communicating with our customers and employees about these changes in great detail,” said Brennan. “We will work closely with our customers to ensure there are no surprises as we move forward.”

The Postal Service also announced it is working with its unions for an employee retirement incentive, although no final decision has been made. “The Postal Service has reduced the size of its workforce by 244,000 career employees since 2000 without resorting to layoffs,” said Brennan. “We are a responsible employer and we will work with our employees to ensure a smooth transition to a much leaner organization.”

The Postal Service also announced that it would soon issue a new regulation to modify its existing Service Standard for overnight delivery. The Postal Service said a Final Rule would soon be published in the Federal Register that would initially shrink the geographic reach of overnight service to local areas and enable consolidation activity in 2013. The new rule would further tighten the overnight delivery standard in 2014 and enable further consolidation of the Postal Service mail processing network absent any change to the circumstances of the Postal Service.

“We are essentially preserving overnight delivery for First-Class Mail through the end of 2013, although we are collapsing the distance that we can provide overnight service to the distribution area served by a particular mail processing facility,” said Brennan. Approximately 80 percent of First-Class Mail will still be delivered overnight.

The Postal Service stated its expectation to pursue additional consolidation activities for an additional 89 mail processing locations beginning in 2014 unless its circumstances change. These consolidations would be based on long-term service standards that would significantly revise mail entry times for customers seeking overnight delivery.

“Given that the Postal Service is currently projecting a $14 billion net loss in FY2012, and continuing annual losses of this magnitude, we simply cannot justify maintaining our current mail processing footprint,” said Donahoe.
When fully implemented in late 2014, the Postal Service expects its network consolidations to generate approximately $2.1 billion in annual cost reductions, and lead to a total workforce reduction of up to 28,000 employees.

The list of mail processing locations to be consolidated by February of 2013 will be posted at approximately 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on the Our Future Network website.

I Went to Disney World and all I Brought Back was a Mail Design Professional Certification

Written by Tobey Miller

So there I was, minutes from the front gate of the most “magical place on earth,” in a class about mail.

The National Postal Forum is held annually, in or near a resort destination, ostensibly because these locations have facilities large enough to handle the thousands of mail mavens that the event attracts. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt attendance either to locate in Orlando as opposed to Pittsburgh, although I heard that class attendance was quite low when the Forum was held in Las Vegas. I suppose they have to strike a balance between attraction and distraction. When I heard that I would be allowed to go to the NPF this year, I was thrilled, but not for the reason that you might expect. Yes, we were literally within walking distance of the gates of Disney World, but I was excited because the NPF was going to offer classes for the USPS Mail Design Professional certification.

If you have ever tested and received this certification, you know that the studying and testing is grueling, let alone the fact that you have to do it on your own. I was positively thrilled when I learned that there would be 8 hours of MDP classes offered at the NPF and I was not disappointed.

My first thought was, how would they condense the multitude of design rules in the Domestic Mail Manual into just 8 hours of class work? The answer came in the form of some very talented instructors who were as enthusiastic about us getting our certifications as we were. They were from the National Center for Employee Development (NCED) in Norman Oklahoma. In short, the NCED provides training and conference services to agencies and business groups nationwide. They have a training center to which an agency or business could send a group of employees to get training or they can bring the training to you. Here is a link if you’d like to learn more:

The NCED MDP trainers, Lisa Roth and Kyle Moore, at the NPF were terrific! They were knowledgeable, highly organized, flexible, positive, and humorous. Yes, I said it. They were funny. In my 10+ years in this industry, I have always thought that it helped to have a sense of humor if you work in direct mail. I think most of my colleagues would agree and I was glad to see that the instructors at the NPF embraced that philosophy. The humor definitely made it easier to tolerate the sub-zero temperatures in our conference room. While there’s nothing funny about stage 1 hypothermia, mail piece design can be quite humorous. As we sifted through the numerous “if/then”s of the Domestic Mail Manual, the instructors gave us many helpful insights. For instance, they told us that BMEU stands for But, Maybe, Except, Unless. We knew if we at least remembered that one thing, all would be well.

I did take other classes at the NPF which, while not quite as engaging for me, were packed full of important information and revelation. It’s easy to think that the National Postal Forum with its destination locations and seemingly endless, well-stocked networking receptions would be like one big party. It’s not. In fact, the networking is hard work and I have to give it to our Sales team for being able to be “on” every day, promoting our brand and making numerous connections. I was able to see our team in action at the NPF and I don’t envy them their charge. The things they ask of us pale in comparison to the work it takes to get to that point.

In the end, I didn’t get to Disney World but I did ultimately pass my final exam and received my MDP certification…which expires in two years. So I’ll see you in Washington DC, NPF, where I probably won’t get to experience any of the history but I’ll definitely be getting an education.

For more information on MDP certification, visit:

The 2012 Attendee Information Series (Part 1 – Planning Your NPF Conference Experience )

It’s that time of year again.  As the 2012 National Postal Forum draws nearer, mailing industry professionals have begun registering for our annual conference and going through the arduous task of planning the most effective use of their time at NPF.

With over 120 workshops to choose from in a myriad of industry subjects, roundtable discussions, vendor/client meetings not to mention the need for time spent on the exhibit floor, the process of planning a streamlined conference experience can become (especially if you only have a limited time at the show) …well…less than fun.

The Catalog

To properly begin the planning process (ideally even before registering) one should first consult our current promotional catalog.  If you did not receive a copy of the promo catalog in the mail you can simply download or print it from our home page.

The catalog illustrates a breakdown of our workshops into 4 course paths based on job function, 17 categories based on workshop subject and 4 classifications based on attendee experience and technical involvement.  It also provides a brief description of the subject matter contained within each workshop, describes all of our networking events and provides a list of participating vendors.  Use this catalog to understand what is available to you and to become acquainted with the difficulty and subject matter of the workshops in your area of interest.

The Matrix

The next step is to view a copy of the NPF Workshop Matrix.  This 4 page document is also available on our home page in .pdf format and is most easily viewable either onscreen or on an 11×17 printout (8.5×14 isn’t bad either but is definitely harder on the eyes).

The purpose of the Matrix is to show all forum activities in their entirety according to what is available to the attendee each hour of the day, each day of the Forum (1 day’s schedule on each page).  Using this tool you can quickly assess which workshops may occur at conflicting times and make crucial decisions about how each period of each day will be spent according to priority of subject according to your needs.

The matrix also shows which periods on which days are dedicated exclusively to Exhibit Hall time, lunch, and networking events.  After all, the forum isn’t just about education and we strive to encourage socializing and collaboration among industry peers, as well as generate a thorough understanding of which products are available to the mailing industry professional in order to keep their operations current and accomplish company goals efficiently.

The Personal Planner

Available closer to forum time, the Personal Planner is the final step in the planning process.  Available to users with NPF website accounts (more on this in future articles), this tool allows the attendee to create a personal schedule of onsite events.  By navigating through workshop information sorted by date/time, workshop title, area of interest or speaker, the attendee is able to finalize decisions related to workshops and event participation.  The availability of this tool later in the planning process is instrumental supplying last minute schedule changes, deletions and additions as well as providing the most up to date and thorough descriptions of workshop content and speaker information.

The planner also offers a tool with which you can browse all of our participating vendors on the exhibit floor and list their names and locations on your schedule as a reminder to visit them when your schedule allows.

All of this can be printed out, saved as a .pdf (for use with a smart phone or tablet) or even downloaded to your Microsoft Outlook Calendar for easy access and automated reminders.

Check our home page for updates regarding the availability of this tool or, if you do not already have one, create a website account in order to receive email updates regarding this and other event related developments.

As always, we thank you for your interest and participation in the National Postal Forum.

We hope to see you in Orlando!

The National Postal Forum is fast approaching!

Mark your calendars for April 1st at the Gaylord Palms in sunny Orlando, Florida!!

The Early Bird Registration Deadline is being extended for one week and one week only! Early Bird Registration will end on Friday, February 3rd. REGISTER NOW and don’t miss the opportunity to save $50 on your registration fee!

Now available to help you plan your forum experience is the NATIONAL POSTAL FORUM EDUCATIONAL SCHEDULE. There are four full days of learning opportunities to choose from!

Join us for four powerful days of connecting and communicating – and discover the latest advancements in our mailing industry.

See you in Orlando!

Visit for updates and additional information.
The National Postal Forum
3998 Fair Ridge Dr. Suite 150
Fairfax, VA 22033

2012 National Postal Forum Promotional Catalog is Available!


Wishing you and your family a

very happy, healthy and vibrant 

Holiday Season and a New Year

filled with joy, peace and prosperity.

Watch for the all-inclusive 2012 NPF Promotional Catalog that will be dropped

in the mail this week! Check our website frequently for updates –

All the best,

NPF Staff and Friends


Rooted in the Past…Looking Toward the Future

NPF employs many online and social networking tools to make relevant information easier to locate and share to help keep the industry focused, and to insure that the premier meeting place of mailing professionals continues to be current, accessible and useful.  One piece of that effort is the new NPF Industry Blog.  Our goal with this blog is to leverage our industry contacts, experience, and postal relationships to bring fresh new content to our audience and to the mailing industry’s collective conscious.   Find out what is on the minds of our industry’s leaders, and also what lies on the horizon of logistics, mailroom and direct marketing technologies.  The blog also provides an opportunity for mailing professionals to comment and share their opinions regarding the latest industry news and the topics addressed within this forum.

Although the processes of education, networking, and collaboration have changed a lot since our start in 1968, our mission “to assist the United States Postal Service in building relationships with and educating mailers in the most effective and efficient use of the products and services offered by the United States Postal Service” has stayed the same.  We still strive to connect and educate mailing professionals from around the country and provide a much needed platform on which mailing industry professionals, as a group, can work to improve their interaction with what is still, to this day, the most economical and far reaching delivery service.

Our continuing goal is to provide a meeting place in which the Postal Service and its’ customers can communicate and share the critical ideas and tools necessary to do business in our ever-changing environment.  We hope that you, the mailing professional, will continue to find that goal being met onsite at our annual industry events and now, just a click away, as well.