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Fiscal recovery is no reason to ditch streamlining strategies

The “great recession” has dealt its share of challenges to the mailing industry, and mailers are hard-pressed to find good news these days. Fortunately, the US Postal Service delivered an early holiday present in December — there will be no increase in first-class postage in 2010.

Here are a few ideas to help mailers take advantage of this gift.

Maintain a laser focus on mail quality. One of the unsung benefits of the great recession was the way it forced everyone to “reboot” their mailing operations. Every piece of mail that went out in 2009 had to pass two tests: was it relevant to the recipient and, if so, was it as high-quality a mail piece as possible? Now that the economy has regained a fragile footing, mailers must stay focused on these questions. With the tools and technologies available these days, there is simply no excuse any more for poorly-addressed or poorly-targeted mail.

Keep hunting for bargains. It’s great that the cost of a first-class letter remains 44 cents, but there are easy ways to knock that cost even lower through postal discounts. If you are presorting your mail already, you are ahead of the game. If not, consider making the leap to presort either in your own operation or by partnering with an outsourced provider.

Don’t lose sight of the long term. Depending on the size of your postage budget, the Postal Service’s decision to hold rates can mean thousands of “found dollars.” Consider taking a portion of those savings and investing in tools or technologies to make your operations more efficient for the long term.

As the nation emerges from the downturn, mail retains its place as a crucial link in the marketing and customer communications mix. Kudos to USPS for giving mailers a new year of attractive pricing as an incentive to reinvest in this vital communications channel.

This article originally ran as part of the January 4, 2010 Technique, “Make the most of stable postal rates.” To read the entire feature, click here.

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