USPS DM Campaign Targets Small Businesses

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Small business owners will begin receiving direct mail pieces from the U.S. Postal Service next month in a campaign that will reach 2 million small businesses.

The mail effort is part of a USPS campaign that broke last week targeting small and midsize businesses. The postal service sees the market as a growing and untapped sector at a time when its mail volumes are declining.

"Over half the people who are employed today are employed in small businesses," said USPS advertising manager Larry Speakes. "We see the small business market as a growing segment, and we see opportunity in this market, especially for our direct mail, Priority Mail and Express Mail products."

The mail effort will feature two pieces -- one promoting informational pamphlets offered by the postal service and the other highlighting shipping services.

The postal service decided to develop two distinct pieces based on the results of a small business campaign last year.

"This is the second year that we have launched an integrated small business effort, and we are using the learning from last year's program to help guide us this year," said Tina Lance, manager, segment advertising, at the USPS. "For example, last year, we bundled products into one direct mail campaign, and tracked which customers responded to which products. This year, we used that information to split our audience, and we are sending those customers who are more responsive to our package products one direct mail piece, and the customers who are more responsive to our direct mail product are receiving another direct mail piece."

The piece promoting the pamphlets drops next month with follow-ups using different creative sent to nonresponders in June and July. A total of 1 million pieces will be sent. Names for the mailing were gathered from an inhouse list of customers and also from a targeted list of prospects.

The piece includes a brochure and letter with an attached business reply card. The brochure features a photograph of a "50s-Style" diner, emblazoned with the word "Growth" on its face. When a small business owner opens the mail piece, the diner expands, which is designed to suggest that direct mail can help a company grow.

The letter in this package promotes "Simple Formulas," a series of pamphlets to help small businesses use the mail to grow their businesses. The letter explains that small size business owners who sign up will receive 18 pamphlets over several months. Mailers can sign up for the pamphlets by sending back the business reply card in the enclosed envelope, by signing up for them on the USPS' Web site or by calling a toll-free number.

The effort promoting USPS shipping services drops in late June to 1 million small businesses.

Titled "leg up," that mailer features a pull-tab mail piece with a photograph of a young entrepreneur sitting with his legs up on a coffee table in his office and a notebook computer on his lap. Beside him are several Priority Mail envelopes, and emblazoned on the mail piece are the words "leg up." The mail piece suggests that the entrepreneur can take it easy because he is using Priority Mail.

The letter in this mail package promotes Priority Mail and offers recipients the opportunity to send away for a 10-pack of flat-rate envelopes. Mailers can receive the envelopes by sending back the business reply card, by signing up for it on the USPS' Web site,, or by calling a toll-free number.

As with the other mail piece, different creative will be sent to nonresponders later in the summer.

FCBi, New York, created the direct mail campaign. Both mail pieces include the tag line, "brought to you by the United States Postal Service." The tag line is part of a brand-based campaign the USPS began earlier this year. Leo Burnett USA -- the postal service's lead agency for strategy, creative and production -- created the "brought to you" theme.

Besides working with FCBi, Leo Burnett USA is also working with Manning, Selvage & Lee and MediaCom to fully integrate the "brought to you" campaign across sales promotion, public relations, and employee communications. A Partnership, Chisholm-Mingo and The Bravo Group will extend the campaign to Asian, African-American and Hispanic markets.


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