You’d be hard-pressed to find more consumers regularly excited about email than the recipients of USPS Informed Delivery notices. One such postal customer — Target Marketing Publisher Chris Lyons — opened up his email that shows scans of his physical mail and shared his smartphone screen with editors assembled to pick "The Best Marketing of 2017” campaigns for our most recent magazine issue.
While it may seem counterintuitive that an entity known to marketers for direct mail and packages dominated the email marketing category, it makes more sense when you realize consumers love it. They see pictures of their letters in an email before opening their physical mailbox. And 95 percent of them, including Lyons, open the emails every day. (Perhaps the missing 5 percent is for Sunday?)
“As a marketing professional, I am in awe of the tremendous performance metrics of ‘Informed Delivery’ and wonder at all the possibilities it offers USPS for the future. As a consumer of ‘Informed Delivery,’ I love it. It is the one email I open every day, religiously. Well done and congrats to the USPS on the development of such a creative, valuable and unique service!”
We at Target Marketing can attest that Lyons is a busy individual, with a packed inbox.
Still, USPS had some stiff competition in the category, as did the other marketers in online, social media, TV, direct mail and best overall brand marketing competitions.
So first, we’ll talk about our picks for this year’s most important campaigns and brands, and then we’ll drill down to why USPS won the email contest.
Best Campaigns of 2017
The introduction to our article about these campaigns reads:
When we sat down to talk about the best marketing of the year, Target Marketing’s editors brought a lot of nominations to the table. They included marketing that inspired us, campaigns that moved us ... in some cases just campaigns that made us go buy something.
These six efforts are the ones that we felt had to be recognized.
You’ll read about an email campaign that got a 95 percent open rate, a national candy bar that changed prices based on how mad people were, and our pick for the most inspiring TV commercial in a year when there was some incredible competition.
We have no qualms telling you these were our favorites, clearly biased by our own tastes and marketing experiences. But we also think they’re six brands and campaigns that every marketer needs to know. Each one of them found a way to take what they do to a level we didn’t even think you could reach until we saw it for ourselves.
Email Marketing: USPS Informed Delivery
In our “Best Marketing of 2017” article, the postal service reached the pinnacle this way:
In May, a month after its nationwide rollout, the USPS email option that lets customers see pictures of their incoming physical mail had more than 2 million customers scrolling through their daily messages. As of presstime on Nov. 2, about 6.5 million Americans were using “Informed Delivery,” with 95 percent opening the notifications daily or almost every day.
It’s a big move for the legacy letter carrier to beat out channel-native competitors in the email space for this honor. As for how USPS did it, Product Innovation VP Gary Reblin says: “Informed Delivery creates an unprecedented opportunity for marketers, mail owners, mail service providers and agencies to engage users through synchronized digital and physical touchpoints.”
Reblin says the number of users is growing by the day, with customers in 6,981 ZIP codes taking the survey that showed their delight with the service.
About 95 percent are “satisfied or very satisfied with Informed Delivery” and 96 percent would recommend it to friends, family or colleagues, according to survey results. As of Nov. 15, iTunes users rated the app 4-plus out of five stars.
In November 2017, USPS put out a guide for marketers interested in capitalizing on Informed Delivery. (Opens as a PDF)
It includes the 95 percent figure, as well as details about devices used and which verticals benefit. For instance, 59 percent of customers open the app on their smartphones, 33 percent view the mail on desktop computers and the remaining 7 percent use tablets to see the emailed scans of their mail.
The guide says 88 percent of consumers view the email in the morning, 11 percent in the afternoon and 1 percent in the evening.
And as for how marketers can benefit, one of the guide’s suggestions included customer engagement options:
- Financial Services: Bill Payment, Balance Transfer, Credit Card Activation
- Telecom: Service Upgrade, Device Upgrade, Manage Account
- E-commerce: Subscription Renewal, Seller Registration
- Retail: Promotional Codes, Rewards Enrollment
- Insurance: Policy Bundling, Claim Submissions
- Government: Fee Payment, Voter Registration
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: 2 Million Sign Up for USPS Informed Delivery Feature