Live from the National Postal Forum: Expanding the Value of Mail

Orlando, FL–On day two of the 2006 National Postal Reform, USPS chief marketing officer Anita Bizzotto and chief operating officer Pat Donahoe made their case for the value of hard-copy mail in an increasingly e-centric environment.

Bizzotto cited statistics indicating that 95% of people 45 years of age and older spend as many as 30 minutes a day looking over their mail. According to the study an unnamed percentage of those surveyed even said that taking that time out of the day even relieved stress. Among the under-30 crowd, 75% of those polled said that hard-copy mail is valuable. .

Lending further credence to the power of mail, Donahoe referred to the 17% of the population currently in the process of moving. “When people make a change of address, they want/demand that their mail follow them,” he said. “So far this year we have forwarded over 4 million catalogs to those on the move.” (See “USPS Helps Keep Catalogs Coming.”)

Bizzotto and Donahoe then presented several examples of companies that benefited from mail campaigns. NetZero, a provider of Internet access services, for instance, earned 5% higher revenue from a direct mail campaign. Automaker Corvette used custom publishing to boost loyalty and sales—recipients of the Corvette magazine are three times as likely to buy a Corvette after reading the publication. And “ESPN” magazine extolled the virtues of the USPS’s program allowing repositionable, or “sticky,” notes to be placed on catalogs, magazines, and newspapers . (See “USPS Starts ‘Sticky’ Program.”) ESPN credited the repositionable notes (RPNs) with boosting sales and reducing subscription cancellations.

Bizzotta and Donahoe closed the session reminding mailers of five main points regarding direct mail:

1) Realize that hard-copy mail is as crucial a component to your multichannel efforts as any other.

2) Focus on what it means to your customers to receive mail at home.

3) Don’t underestimate the role of mail in building customer relationships

4) Address accuracy is critical in reducing undeliverable mail.

5) Mail is a relatively straightforward way to build a foundation for overall brand visibility.

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