USPS Campaign Revives Focus on Big Business

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The U.S. Postal Service this week begins its first direct marketing campaign targeted to large businesses in at least three years.


The "Be Here" campaign illustrates how influential mail can be in multichannel marketing.


"Growth in advertising applications in the mail is looking strong. It's a good part of the business for us, and it's a growing part," said Rod DeVar, manager, advertising and promotion, USPS. "Also, we think we have underpenetrated the larger businesses spending millions of dollars on advertising and that there is room for growth in use of mail as part of their advertising mix."


He also noted that the postal service's sales force has been overhauled after several difficult years.


"Just like everybody else, the economy was tough, and we had a restructuring of our marketing organization a couple of years ago, and the expertise that we had in our sales group to really talk to these large accounts was in a bit of disarray," he said. "But now we have a group of salespeople that have been specifically trained to talk to these larger advertisers and work with them."


"Be Here" includes direct response print ads and direct mail. The effort has three segments based on the classic consumer purchase path: Awareness, Consideration and Purchase.


Full-page print ads for the Awareness phase begin today in major marketing and business publications including Forbes, Business Week, Fortune, Variety, Advertising Age, AdWeek, Marketing News, DM News, Target and Automotive News. The Consideration ads begin May 3, and the Purchase ads start June 7.


The Awareness mail piece will be sent in May, while Consideration and Purchase follow in June and July. In each drop, 75,000 mail pieces will go to advertising managers, marketing communications managers, brand managers and other marketing titles at companies that spend $500,000 or more annually on advertising.


Campbell-Ewald and Draft Chicago created the campaign.


In the Awareness effort, the publication ads and mail piece show a male consumer in his kitchen looking through his mail. Several advertising mail pieces are shown, but a large one in the shape of a cell phone, with the words "Introducing the LATEST Mobile," stands out.


The odd-shaped mail piece is an example of the postal service's Customized MarketMail classification, which lets direct marketers mail nonrectangular pieces without having to enclose them in a package or envelope. The CMM initiative has been successful for the USPS, and response rates for mail pieces using CMM have ranged from 4 percent to 20 percent.


The ad also highlights the consumer's eyes with "Be Here" printed beside them. Copy includes the following: "Targeted Direct Mail can deliver your brand message to any number of the 140 million addresses across the country. What's more, 74 percent of your prospects read it."


The call to action asks readers to mail an attached card, visit usps.com/awareness13 or call 1-800-THE-USPS, ext. AD4805, to receive a "Success with Direct Mail Vol. 1" kit. The USPS will provide case studies and white papers for review, tailored to the print ad or mail piece the customer references.


Before receiving any information, responders will be required to answer basic questions that give the USPS a better understanding of who has responded, and then the USPS sales group will follow up with certain prospects.


DeVar said that though this is the first time in awhile that the agency has focused on large businesses, "we expect it to be a continuous thing. This is our first campaign out, and we expect to be reaching out to these guys pretty regularly."


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