Direct Line Blog

USPS trying to make believers out of marketers, says PMG

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Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said Monday that he had to nudge his in-house and agency marketing team towards the ad campaign that the US Postal Service will use this fall to show off the effectiveness of mail as a marketing tool.

“They said ‘mail's not sexy,'” Donahoe told reporters at the 2011 National Postal Forum 2011 in San Diego on May 2. He then asked the marketers to check out research showing that consumers enjoy and trust the mail, he said.

Three-quarters of large marketers do not use direct mail, but the use of the medium is extremely rare by pharmaceutical brands, many of which use entire paragraphs of fine print in their TV ads.

Here are some other soundbites from Donahoe's reporter briefing:
  • Consumers age 65 and older were the group most in favor of cutting Saturday home mail delivery, as long as it would not result in higher rates or a postal bailout, Donahoe said. The reason is that government fiscal responsibility is more important to them than consumers of other age groups.
  • He also said marketers are even more enthusiastic about watermark technology than quick response codes. But brands are using both technologies to drive consumers to their websites. “They're using the mail to get consumers' eyes off the mail piece and onto the website,” said Donahoe.
  • The postmaster general added that the USPS expects to get 25 years out of its fleet, so switching to new automotive technologies is a big decision. The USPS is taking a look at electric, hybrid and more traditional technologies for powering their auto fleet, he said.
  • First Class mail volume will most likely continue to shrink as more companies and consumers move their financial communications to electronic methods. “Given the general nature of things, it's going to shrink,” said Donahoe.
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