The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) lost $3.9 billion the first nine months of 2013, according to BtoB in its Oct. 15, 2013 edition. The USPS has a proposal before Congress to raise first-class postage to $.49 from its current $.46, a 6.5 percent hike.
Direct marketers are suffering from the USPS’s “precarious financial condition,” and the two leading organizations paying careful attention to how this proposal wends its way toward possible approval are the Direct Marketing Association and the Catalog Mailers Association.
The article in BtoB providing the fodder for this post points also to internet taxation and data security issues as culprits to direct marketing’s pain points.
Postcard Mailings Still Viable
When you think of direct marketing, most thoughts turn to catalogs. The colorful, modelicious glam pages much like magazines selling everything from personal care, attire and furniture to hardware and technology are what we love to flip through, dog ear the pages and circle items for a wish list.
Think about postcards. How often do you get a postcard in the mail for the appointment for the dentist, vet, or next hair cut? How about the insurance agents, landscapers and roofers wanting your attention via a postcard?
There are many businesses using postcard mailings as the core of their lead generation and customer service. I, for one, count on the postcard from my dentist reminding me I have a six-month checkup coming up. Then, they call me to remind me, too. (I love that kind of personal touch.)
Postage for postcards would increase as well.
I recently had the privilege of working with an entrepreneur in Dallas who is a former architect. Chuck Frazier has put his energy and financial backing into a company he founded called SalesWave. He and his smart IT team have spent about five years on the backend of two postcard design, printing and mailing solutions for enterprises and small office, home office customers.
I got to write the news release for him right here to officially launch CRMail for those businesses that support six CRM solutions like Salesforce. For those smaller businesses without an existing CRM solution, SalesWave has created a SOHO product to help streamline postcard design, printing and mailing from a 10-step, time-intensive process down to minutes.
Is Direct Marketing Dead?
It’s the question people love to pose, and the answers in response are weighted with passion. I love this piece in Huffington Post assuring everyone that direct marketing is not dead; in fact, it’s more powerful than email in response rates.
I like this article Randy Bowden posted on Google+ which boasts a confusing title that direct marketing is dead, long live direct marketing. Apparently, the author blames it on branding.
Consumers & Postage
Is there anything we as consumers can do if postage increases again?
More people will do online bill pay; however, I recently had a negative AT&T experience with a paperless statement (they switched me without my knowledge) making my bill tardy. When I got the call, I said pay two months via automatic funds withdrawal.
More than eight days later, I got another email saying I still owed the money. AT&T said they pinged my bank and nothing happened; I called the bank and they said they never got a ping for payment, so I called AT&T again and wasted more time on the phone. The customer service agent with AT&T was great and fixed my issue; however, where is the trust in this process?
As a consumer, I’d rather keep control of my money and write checks. Call me antiquated; however, I don’t like all these companies up in my business, especially when I can’t trust that a permitted transaction went awry causing me a headache.
Here’s hoping the companies that rely on postcard mailings for their livelihood will be able to afford the postage to continue sending customers and prospects helpful postcard mailings so we know when our teeth need cleaning. Here’s hoping that companies will also consider SalesWave solutions for all their postcard mailing needs. Grin.