There are postal articles on dmnews.com that get thousands more reads than most other articles on the site. Why? The usual reason: money.
Marketing-related email registers open rates of only 20% on the high end, according to DMA. But consumers open 80% to 90% of the mail that arrives at their doors, say Postal Service surveys. As a result, many companies still invest heavily in direct mail. In fact, businesses spent some $45 billion on direct mail campaigns this year, but only $2 billion on email campaigns. In verticals reliant on direct mail, steep rises in postal rates mean significantly higher marketing costs and potentially deep cuts in prospect mailings. So, employees in the C-suite on down to, well, the mailroom at insurance companies, financial services and healthcare firms, catalogers, and nonprofits closely follow postal rate news.
Nearly half of Direct Marketing News’s Top 15 postal stories of 2015, therefore, have to do with rates. It’s been two years since the Christmas Eve Mail Massacre, when the Postal Regulatory Commission slid the ultimate piece of coal into mailers’ stockings in the form of a 4.3% exigent rate increase. Mailers had originally expected the surcharge to be lifted this past August, but an order from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals led the PRC to reassess the total that would be collected by the emergency rate. An extra $1.2 billion was tacked on to it, and exigency lives on until at least April 2016.
Stories about postal reform also proved popular, again due to the specter of higher rates. Sen. Tom Carper’s new iPOST reform bill calls for baking the 4.3% surcharge into the base postal rate, though passage of any postal legislation (a political hot potato) appears unlikely in the upcoming election year.
Rate-mania even pushed an historical event from the Top 15: the appointment of the United States’ first female Postmaster General, Megan Brennan. Sorry, Madam PMG.