Direct mail tale can have a happy ending

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Direct mail tale can have a happy ending
Direct mail tale can have a happy ending

These are the best of times and the worst of times — a tale with a present day ring to it for us all.

Postage with a now annual increase is a reality quickly approaching again with increases this May 2009. Letter postage rates will increase more than 3%, and we as an industry are preparing for even more direction on new mail format standards.

Direct mail budgets already under enormous pressures are threatened again, and commingling services must be part of a solution for rising to the challenge of increased channel costs. Commingling reduces postage rates, reduces freight costs and qualifies more mail for faster to market in home receipt.

But one can't simply rely on just any commingle service; certainly not — to borrow from a television commercial — our grandfather's commingling of yesteryear, which added both significant and unwanted time and complexity to a project's path. Present-day platforms available represent industry best of class tools for commingling and provide the smaller mailing client the full access and capturing of the same postal rate benefits the larger mailing client's historically have enjoyed.

Participation, inclusion, quickness to market and better quality with postage cost reductions not seen otherwise are all the end result of today's powerful commingle services. These are available without compromise to schedules, postal receipt validation and or format integrity.

Commingling has always been a volume proposition, and the tools available today allow for multiple letter-sized formats to be mixed together for best mail sorts and postage at vol­umes and turn times not seen before. These services deserve our collective vetting, review and nudge to try out.

Critical to a client's evaluation of commingling is determin­ing if their partners have the ready capacity to support it in a robust manner. If it's provided in-house and on-site, that goes to data privacy and physical package security concerns in addition to the practical timing and cost sensitivities. Turn time and ability to accommodate needed volumes are key ingredients to driving mail to successful five-digit sort lev­els; the number of sorters, bins or pockets and number of discharge lanes are key criteria for such services.

As the ultimate win-win-win, all partners benefit with commingling services — and aren't we all finally ready for such good news?

ptowner@japsolson.com  

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