The End of Saturday Mail Delivery and the Impact on Direct Marketers

Written By Mark Weinstein, President

For years the U.S. Postal Service has pushed to cancel Saturday mail delivery to cut costs. On February 6, the U.S. Postal Service announced that it plans to end Saturday mail delivery starting in August.  This is the most significant step taken by the USPS to cut costs, and will reportedly save about $2 billion. We are told delivery to PO Boxes and package delivery will remain at six days, and Standard Class mail will still be processed every day.

Postal Service market research and other research has indicated that nearly 7 in 10 Americans support the switch to five-day delivery as a way for the Postal Service to reduce costs.

There appears a strong likelihood of the USPS moving ahead with the 5-day per week plan.  As marketers using the mail we should plan ahead and be prepared for the August implementation.

Post Man
Believe it or not, the Postal Service used to make multiple
deliveries per day, especially around the December holidays.

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7 Steps to Making Your Holiday Card Mailing a Cinch!

Written by Daniela Burgos, Assistant Account Executive

Christmas Card

'Tis the mail merge season...

It's that time of year again when getting into the holiday spirit requires narrowing down your holiday mailing list and hopefully using what has to be the easiest and most efficient tool ever to create labels - mail merge. This marvelous tool, which I am going to use for every mailing now, is a definite life and time saver. I recently had the opportunity to use this tool for a holiday card mailing and it got me thinking about the importance of staying in touch with people and the preferred method of doing so by sending personalized cards. So actually, on some level, everyone creates their own direct mailing pieces, whether they know it or not.

Let's take holiday cards for example; the process follows the same steps we utilize in producing a direct mailing, just on a smaller scale. The essential functions can be summed up into 7 steps:

  1. Collect names of whom you are sending to and make a list
  2. Research correct addresses and/or updates the ones you have
  3. Choose your card design or best awkward family photo
  4. Tailor the message to the specific person/s
  5. Make address labels (hopefully using the mail merge tool)
  6. Put on the stamps and mail the pieces
  7. Wait for a response

When it comes to direct mail, it really is about delivering a tailored message for a response - and isn't that essentially what you are doing when sending out holiday cards? And who doesn't enjoy receiving a thoughtful card during the holidays? I would like to think that our direct mail pieces carry that same feeling; a welcomed letter that is designed specifically for you that meets a need. Though direct mail contains a variety of approaches, the end result of any direct mail piece is to make your life a little easier. It is something you should enjoy opening, like a holiday card.

So if you have not already, send your own direct mailing this season and spread some holiday cheer!


Is the USPS Headed the Same Way as the Hostess Twinkie?

Written by Mark Weinstein, President

Recently, news has been reporting the potential demise of Hostess Brands and the possible extinction of iconic American brands and childhood favorites such as Twinkies, CupCakes, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos.

 

Maybe missed during all the pre-election hoopla was the announcement that another iconic American brand, extremely important to many of our integrated marketing livelihoods, the United States Postal Service, is getting one step closer to insolvency.  According to some sources, the crunch time could kick in sometime between next April through the end of September 2013.

What should we do?

Here’s the problem.

The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service has reached its $15 billion debt limit as capped by Congress and is barred from borrowing more from the U.S. Treasury.

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Big Brother Is “Micro-Targeting” You

Written by Kim Chapman - Account Executive

Political parties have been using marketing tactics for as long politics have existed. After all, isn’t a political campaign the act of marketing yourself to your audience?

One really smart way that parties have been marketing themselves in recent years is through the use of micro-targeting. Essentially, this is a fancy word for political parties using data to market at a more targeted level.

A lot of this work is done by campaign consultant groups. Not only are these groups collecting consumer data from data-housing companies, they are also merging this data with voter registration records. These records include important information: whether someone is a registered voter, with what party they are registered, and how often they have voted in past elections.

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What's up with LevelUp?

Written by Chris Czachor, Account Executive

I recently received a piece of mail that really jumped out at me (see images above).  It wasn’t because it was all that great (although it did grab my attention) but it was more because of the company that was sending it to me.

That company is called LevelUp and they are mobile payment company.  LevelUp is trying to change the way people pay for goods and services by allowing them to pay for items with the mobile phones.  Basically, you put in your credit card information on their secure app and use it to pay for goods and services at places that have the LevelUp technology.  It is supposed to make it easier for the consumer to purchase things and better for the business by providing less transaction fees and better customer information.  This industry is huge and there are already plenty of others vying for market share in this exploding market.

So, why was I so intrigued by LevelUp sending me a mailer?  Well, LevelUp is an online-based company dealing with the mobile payment market and they are sending me direct mail, that’s why.  The last few years has seen a huge shift in advertising and marketing dollars to the digital and mobile space and here is a digital company spending some of their marketing budget on direct mail.

I think this is a testament to the effectiveness of direct mail and just shows how even online-based companies see the value in customer acquisition campaigns that include direct mail as a channel.

So, will this direct mail campaign show a positive ROI and be considered a success?  Time will tell, but I will say that for now LevelUp has one new customer.