Potter: Mail Works Because It's Measurable

NEW YORK — Instead of discussing next year's postal rate increase, Postmaster General John E. Potter talked to direct marketers about how mail can give a competitive advantage when it comes to reaching the U.S. consumer.

“Americans trust the mail,” he said during his luncheon address at yesterday's DM Days New York Conference and Expo. “Mail's privacy has always been a hallmark of America's postal system. Americans know that what they put in the mail will get delivered — and delivered safely.”

Potter also said mail works because it's measurable.

“More than any other media, mail lets you keep track of your customer and monitor mail performance,” he said. “Today's technology allows mailers to keep track of customer demographics and buying patterns and to adjust marketing messages to match their customers' needs.”

Potter highlighted examples of companies using the mail successfully, including:

· Netflix, which relies on First-Class mail to serve more than 3 million subscribers who will bring Netflix $660 million in revenue this year.

· Kraft Foods, which put together a two-part direct mail marketing program to entice new food industry clients to use its new authentic-tasting ethnic seasonings. It included an 8.5-by-11-inch sales kit that looked like a combination menu/recipe sheet, and then recipe sheets and samples of Kraft's new flavors. Kraft reached out to its target audience and scored a 10.9 percent response rate.

· Citigroup, which increased its use of First-Class mail more than 50 percent to inform current and potential customers about recent mergers with other financial companies and to promote the benefits of new credit cards to its customers. Citigroup also includes ad inserts in First-Class mail billing statements and uses “bangtail tear-off ads” to cross-sell to customers.

Also at the luncheon, JetBlue Airways chairman/CEO David Neeleman was presented with the DM Days Marketer of the Year award. Neeleman said JetBlue doesn't see itself as an airline but as a “customer service company, a marketing company, a direct marketing company that interacts directly with its customers that just happens to have airplanes.”

Though JetBlue's marketing initiatives have not been “the traditional, to-the-mailbox direct marketing, [after] sitting with the postmaster general, I'm starting to think maybe we should do a little bit more, and maybe we will,” he said.

One reason is a new deal JetBlue has with American Express, where the two companies will issue a co-branded credit card that will let cardmembers earn points that are convertible to JetBlue's Flight Gratitude program, TrueBlue.

Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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