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USPS Highlights Customer Success Stories

KISSIMMEE, FL — Repositionable notes, PostalOne, Customized MarketMail, Confirm, Delivery Point Validation, custom publications and traditional direct mail were just some of the U.S. Postal Service products and services featured in the general session yesterday at the 2006 National Postal Forum here.

The session was spearheaded by Pat Donahoe, USPS deputy postmaster general and chief operating officer, and Anita Bizzotto, USPS chief marketing officer and executive vice president. Postal service customers, either live or via video, related their experiences using some of these tools.

Dennis Farley, senior distribution manager for ESPN the Magazine, New York, discussed his company's work with repositionable notes. RPNs are sticky notes that can be placed on envelopes, catalogs, magazines or newspapers to highlight information or an offer. Because the notes can be removed easily, the recipient can place them somewhere handy as a reminder of the offer.

During the past holiday season, “we put them on the front of subscriber copies of our magazine to get people to go to ESPN.com for added subscriber benefits,” Farley said. “We were so impressed with the results that we are making the notes a part of our marketing mix. They are a great innovation, and we like them a lot.”

Farley said the circulation department might use the repositionable notes in marketing efforts as well as providing the notes as a value-added benefit for advertisers. The editorial department is considering having a note on the magazine's cover to direct people to important features inside.

Scott Lorenz, director of postal operations for Time Inc., New York, said his company is excited about the changes the USPS is making to create electronic documentation and postage programs like PostalOne and eDropShip.

PostalOne is a Web-based suite of services that lets mailers link their mailing information electronically with USPS acceptance, verification and payment systems, eliminating most of the paperwork. PostalOne contains an eDropShip feature that streamlines and automates the drop-shipment scheduling and mail induction processes.

A representative from Gatorade's Propel Fitness Water showed off the company's plastic mailer touting the virtues of the product, a non-carbonated beverage that comes in eight flavors.

The mailer, shaped as a large, one-dimensional bottle of Propel Fitness Water, featured colorful images of men and women working out, running and playing tennis inside the “bottle.” A snap-off coupon at the bottom of the mailer invited recipients to try one bottle of the drink for free or get $1.75 off any Propel multipack.

To mail the piece, Gatorade used Customized MarketMail, a Standard Mail option that lets mailers send a dimensional piece of any shape or design through the mail. The mail piece was created by Targetbase, a direct marketing agency in Omnicom Group's Diversified Agency Services. The campaign was credited with driving sales through direct mail and helping promote Gatorade's brand as the most unique sports drink on the market.

Sharon Harrison, a technical director at AT&T, discussed how her company reduced its undeliverable-as-addressed mail by 30 percent since using Delivery Point Validation through her postal software vendor. The DPV system helps mailers obtain accurate delivery address information and facilitates identification of erroneous addresses contained in mailer address files.

The USPS also introduced new concepts such as cloth envelopes, which can be purchased from Cloth Envelope Co. (www.clothenvelope.com). The envelopes are made of durable cotton and can run through USPS equipment without tearing or breaking.

The envelopes can be used for marketing. For example, the fabric print can be matched to a company's product or service, and custom prints are available if a logo or special image is needed.

Finally, Bizzotto discussed a product recently launched in Buffalo called Postal Wizard. The USPS tool lets mailers enter their mailing statements and manage their accounts online.

“We process 14 million postage statements per year,” Bizzotto said. “That's a lot of paper for us, it's certainly a lot of paper for our customers, and it's a lot of opportunities for mistakes and it's a lot of time waiting in the business mail entry units.”

The USPS will start a phased national deployment next month that will move from East to West.

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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