USPS Touts Direct Mail to Minority-Owned Businesses

The U.S. Postal Service is promoting its direct mail services, Priority Mail and Global Delivery services to minority-owned small businesses through a series of direct mail campaigns.

The efforts are aimed at small and mid-sized businesses owned by Hispanics, blacks and Asian-Americans. The USPS said it sees these markets as a growing and untapped sector amid declining mail volumes.

“The postal service is seeking to build relationships and sales with important customers by increasing their awareness of USPS products and services,” said Anita Bizzotto, chief marketing officer at the USPS.

A mailing this month to 200,000 Hispanics owning small and medium-sized businesses began the campaign to that group. The USPS used its in-house database and purchased six lists to find names. The piece went to Hispanic-heavy areas of California, Texas, Florida, New York and New Jersey. Based on the most recent census data, the USPS also mailed to businesses in areas of Connecticut, Rhode Island and North Dakota with growing Hispanic populations.

The bilingual, multi-paneled piece noted the benefits of direct mail and offered a business reply card that let recipients request a bilingual “Direct Mail by the Numbers” manual describing how to develop and implement a direct mail campaign. Recipients also could order the book by calling a toll-free number.

“We have an English-language version of 'Direct Mail by the Numbers,' but this is the first time we've produced a bilingual guide,” said Hollie Bowling, USPS program manager of multicultural advertising.

Much of the postal service's multicultural marketing was oriented toward brand awareness at the start of the 2002 fiscal year, Bowling said, but “we decided that our ads should be more direct-response driven.” All multicultural marketing will be direct-response driven in the 2003 fiscal year, which begins next month, she said.

A second mailing will go to the same 200,000 names early next month. This time, the USPS will offer the manual and a sweepstakes where the winner gets a free 5,000-piece mailing, including list processing, creative and postage.

The USPS also drops a similar direct mail piece next month promoting Priority Mail to 36,000 black-owned small and mid-sized businesses.

Half will receive a mailer offering the chance to send away for a 10-pack of prepaid Priority Mail flat-rate envelopes. Mailers can obtain the envelopes by sending back the business reply card or calling a toll-free number. The other half will get a mailer promoting a series of pamphlets on using mail to expand their businesses. Mailers can obtain the pamphlets by returning the BRC or calling a toll-free number.

Another piece will go to 54,000 different black-owned small and medium-sized businesses in early September promoting direct mail.

The USPS also is sending two direct mail pieces totaling 51,175 each to Asian-American business owners this month and early next month. Targeted to Chinese, Korean and Asian-Indian small and medium-sized business owners, one promotes Priority Mail and the other promotes direct mail. Another direct mail piece promoting Global Delivery drops the week of Sept. 6 to 24,522 Chinese, Korean, and Japanese small and medium-sized business owners in target markets.

The USPS works with Bravo Group for Hispanic advertising. Harte-Hanks handles fulfillment. Chisholm-Mingo Group leads USPS communications and marketing efforts for the black market, and A Partnership heads its marketing for Asian-Americans.

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