Customization Boosts UPS Store's Use of Postcards

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The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc., both United Parcel Service brands, are using Modern Postcard's print and mail solutions to customize grand opening promotional and profit center mailings for each franchisee store.


Modern Postcard has printed and mailed nearly 65 grand opening direct mail postcard campaigns monthly for The UPS Store since July 2003. It has generated more than 2 million postcards for about 600 new store locations.


Another 1.3 million cards have mailed for profit centers like pack and ship, and copies and documents. This has made postcard marketing more common among the 3,500 UPS Store locations that handle retail shipping as well as postal and business services.


"Prior to Modern Postcard, they had a problem in customizing postcards and matching it to their franchisees and database," said Christopher Foster, marketing manager at Modern Postcard, Carlsbad, CA. "They had a master postcard run, but it wasn't customized to their profit centers or service."


Modern Postcard lets franchisees build a local customer base while maintaining brand standards imposed by the corporate office in San Diego. Content, promotional offerings and targeted mailing lists are customized to the specs of each UPS Store franchisee.


The UPS Store agency Doner Advertising, Newport Beach, CA, uses Modern Postcard's solutions to choose deluxe or sumo-sized cards and customizes content based on the corporate template. Doner and the franchisees independently have tapped Modern Postcard's new Modern Connect list services since September to target prospective customers, both consumers and businesses.


Once that process is completed, Doner submits the postcard for printing, particularly for the grand opening mailing. Franchisees can do follow-up mailings directly through Modern Postcard. In either case, Modern Postcard sends the mailers directly from its inhouse mailing center.


"We receive store location information and then upload data and image files to print and mail the cards," Foster said. "All our images are press-ready PDFs. Since we use an entirely digital workflow and have all the mailing equipment inhouse, we can turn the printing and mailing around quickly."


Modern Connect addresses a geographical problem. Radius searches, based on a specific number of miles, may be incomplete or have inefficiencies from too few or too many names. Modern Connect combines its service area mapping and online drive time application with demographic data. USA Data provides the demographic data, and ESRI offers the mapping data.


The Modern Postcard franchisee customer enters its street location and a driving distance. The technology creates a map based on the driving distance. The customer then selects demographics in that area. The user will see a polygon that wraps around corridors of traffic and not radius circles that may cover bodies of water, bridges and other topographic obstacles like mountain ranges.


The user can remove postal carrier routes, change drive time and adjust its demographic data to make the list being built applicable to the target sought.


"It connects with the natural consumer behavior of shopping within a few minutes' drive," Foster said. "The UPS Store calls this local-store marketing. Service area mapping combined with drive time is being used to create a list that both works around the boundaries associated with a franchise location and reaches customers within a specific driving distance."


Foster claims more than 20 clients, including The UPS Store and Chicago restaurant chain Stir Crazy Enterprises, have bought 120,000-plus names through Modern Postcard's online drive time application since its September launch. More than 1 million names have sold through the overall Modern Connect list services, including occupant and feature lists.


Modern Postcard mailers for The UPS Store are as much for brand building and awareness as they are for driving traffic to store locations. Other mailers focus on specific profit centers. All mailings are integrated into other marketing channels such as e-mail and radio in quarterly promotions.


Customization within pertinent market boundaries is key.


"If a new UPS Store is opening, and they want to send a mailing to announce the grand opening, they want to make sure the mailing list doesn't encroach into another franchisee store's customer base," Foster said. "Also, they want to directly contact customers in their neighborhood, especially small-office, home-office addresses, with a customized mailing."


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