Live from DMDNY: USPS Gives Marketers a “Leg Up”

New York–Postmaster General and native New Yorker Jack Potter seemed right at home during his Wednesday lunchtime keynote address at the DM Days New York conference here. But after taking a few humorous jabs at the local tabloids, Potter discussed the importance of the USPS to marketers and how the U.S. Postal Service has evolved into a customer-driven organization.

“No one thought it was possible, but for the first time in history, this year first-class mail will be overtaken by standard mail,” said Potter. “This is otherwise referred to as ‘advertising mail’ and represents a major shift in our business model.”

Potter said the shift resulted from the agency’s effort to better serve businesses and consumers by working closely with Congress and the White House. He also spoke of Americans’ confidence in mail delivery. “In simple terms, mail works,” said Potter.

To illustrate the effectiveness of mail as a marketing medium, Potter cited a campaign by the Wuesthoff Medical Center in Melbourne, FL. To promote its emergency room facilities, the center designed a unique mail piece – a life-size card depicting a cast of a broken ankle, with the primary ad messages handwritten on the mail piece as if it were literally a cast signed by friends and family. The creative even included a wallet card with the emergency room phone number and the message “From head to toe, we’ve got your health care covered.”

Not only did the mailing get the attention of the 14,000 people who received it, but the word-of-mouth and media coverage it generated further boosted the return on investment. “Mail works because it’s read, it has credibility, and it has value to the recipient,” said Potter. “Those who use mail will ultimately make a competitive advantage for themselves, their firm, and their clients.”

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