The Global End Game
Base Your Delivery Method on Your Marketing Strategy
By Lisa Yorgey Lester
Mapping out your mailing plan for an international direct mail campaign is often like completing a jigsaw puzzle. You need to contemplate all the pieces to make it fit.
Unlike domestic postal delivery, no monopoly exists on the delivery of international mail. Mailers can choose from three basic options when sending international direct mail:
1. One of the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) international services;
2. An international mailing service, such as remail or consolidation, provided
by private commercial carrier; or
3. The direct-entry services of the USPS, a foreign postal administration or a private commercial carrier.
Deciding which way to mail your campaign depends on a few key variables, the weight of each will depend on your marketing needs.
ISAL and IPA
The international equivalent of domestic Standard A, mail sent by International Surface Airlift (commonly referred to as ISAL) travels from the United States to the destination country by air. It is then entered into the domestic postal stream of that country, from which it travels by surface to its final destination: the consumer's postbox. Total delivery time is approximately seven to 14 days.
The USPS' International Priority Airmail Service, or IPA, works the same way, except that it is entered into the destination country's letter class with a four- to seven-day delivery window. Mail carried by the USPS travels as mail—as opposed to cargo—and bears a U.S. indicia.
The USPS offers mailers work-sharing discounts on international rates, which currently fall into one of four groups determined by destination. For example, a mail campaign originating from Philadelphia is afforded a $1-per-pound discount on the group-one rate to Europe by trucking the mail to the international service center (also known as a gateway) at JFK International Airport. The USPS operates out of six gateways located in New York, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami.