It’s turbulent times for the Post Office. Financial obligations to retirees and plummeting First Class mail usage have put the government-run monopoly firmly in the red. But consumer packaged goods marketing veteran Nagisa Manabe forges ahead, thinking “customer, customer, customer.” Since joining USPS in 2012 she has spent most of her time on the road seeing big clients. “Folks would say to me, ‘Hey, this is the first executive meeting we’ve had with the Postal Service in years.”
Challenging a 100-plus-person innovation staff to create new products, and helping grow the Postal Service’s package delivery business with new options for consumers and businesses alike, Manabe helped deliver more than $1 billion in additional revenue last year, the first overall revenue growth for USPS since 2007. “We believe that the role for the Postal Service is to continue to innovate,” Manabe says, “because the fact is that mailers still need us to deliver to every household in America.”
Marketing strategy: Keep the message simple and focused, invest time in partnerships with a roster of agency partners, create plans collaborating with key stakeholders within the organization, build a team that’s passionate about what you do, and most important, always be responsive to customer needs.
Winning ways: I’m most proud of our growth with the Priority Mail shipping product and the campaign that supports it. I am so honored to be working in concert with our outstanding operations leadership, led by Megan Brennan, our chief operating officer. The change to one-, two-, and three-day specific delivery, the addition of insurance, and our significant IT upgrade to achieve 11 points of tracking have been outstanding. The “Priority: You” campaign that supports this platform was created by our fabulous team of McCann, UM, and MRM.
Defining moment: I began my marketing career at Procter & Gamble in 1991. I was recruited by the then-CEO of P&G, Ed Artzt, who really persuaded me to try my hand at marketing. I’m sure he doesn’t remember me, but I’ve always been grateful to him for that intervention so many years ago.
Trend watching: Connected communications start with the consumer and are fully integrated and constantly evolving. Marketing must leverage the best of technology and communicate with consumers in a constant dialog.
Words to live by: There are so many, but since I’m at the U.S. Postal Service, how about this one from Ben Franklin: “If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.”
Good read: Light on Yoga by B. K. S. Iyengar. For nearly 15 years I’ve been practicing yoga and Mr. Iyengar has been my inspiration. “The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.”
Good advice: Consider the mail.