Letter: USPS Must Explore Opt-In Mentality
Having recently attended a DMA e-commerce conference, I can attest to the fact that Netiquette makes it virtually impossible to reach a business-to-business audience. If direct mail had to overcome the permission marketing hurdles that seek to govern e-mail, the USPS really would be out of business.
Here's a smart move for the USPS: Take advantage of the opt-in mentality. Deliver a snail-mail to each customer asking for permission to deliver mail electronically. In return, promise a lower volume of Standard-A mail, free book of stamps, whatever! And, if successful, the USPS would capture a substantial file of e-mail addresses matched to physical addresses, which are the Rosetta stone to link e-mail with every physical address-based file in the world. USPS could even get in the broadcast business or farm it out like NCOA.
Marketers would have the advantage of a "U.S. E-Mail" permission stamp. Even the greens (who tend to be the most vitriolic anti-spammers) ought to like the tree savings. The revenue potential from this strategy would enable USPS to cut postal rates for traditional mail.
Everybody's happy - except the unions - which is why this may never happen.