Thinking about the USPS

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Today I wrote a postal story, about how service providers work to provide the best all-around ZIP code data to mail marketers. And, I just finished a feature on how apparel marketers use direct mail.

DMNews does a lot of stories about the trials and tribulations of the postal service and how these affect direct mailers. Clearly, the channel is still important to the DM industry, and the recent stories I've written back that up. Mail has a number of advantages that haven't yet vanished in this digitally focused world despite environmental and cost concerns. The sheer number of stakeholders that remain in the channel means news about the USPS, printing or postal data services are among the most trafficked and commented on our site.

That all being said, I had the postal service on my mind when reading the New York Times' Web site and found this story about a local processing center. Thinking about all the mail that's added to the mail stream due to direct marketing, I was in awe of the work that's done daily only a few blocks from the DMNews offices. I especially appreciated this tidbit from the piece:



Since the earliest days of the Pony Express, mail service has been an instrumental innovator in America: the need to deliver letters safely and on time underpinned the creation of everything from rudimentary post roads to the modern cross-country trucking fleet.


Remembering the story I just finished, about innovations in ZIP code targeting, I'm inclined to agree with the writer here: The chapter of mail's importance as a commerce driver for the US are not yet complete. As long as mail remains effective, marketers will keep looking for ways to optimize it and drive innovation in a number of other places, from sorting technology to government.
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