As direct marketers, we're closely watching the changes at the United States Postal Service. Discussions about full-service requirements, the consolidation of facilities, elimination of Saturday delivery, proposed exigent rate increases on top of the annual CPI-capped increases, and the ongoing battle over postal reform continue. The decisions made on these issues will have a lasting impact on mailers.
There are many sources of pressure to reduce or minimize the cost of postage in hardcopy mailings with commensurate hurdles at every turn. Over the years, postage has been mitigated with workshare discounts that depend on mailing list density, file hygiene, currency of the mailing list and mailpiece shape and design. As the USPS attempts to remove unnecessary costs and employ automation to the max, mailing requirements increase—such as heavier more expensive paper, more tabs or glue, and other creative and preparation demands that can increase costs. So where is the next realm of postal efficiency and savings going to come from?
For mailers, the key to cutting postage costs is to work with the USPS and service providers to help achieve the best results with postage and cost issues.
One of the easiest methods for reducing the postage bill is to cut mail volume and migrate to other media where response is proven. However, it is risky. Targeting volume cuts to those segments that are less responsive is the key.
Postage cost-cutting may be a priority for many marketing budgets this year, and there are three basic ways to do it: more efficient mail piece design, reducing mail volume and maximizing postage discounts. Here are some things to consider when trying to dial in on that first opportunity and optimize your mail piece design.
Direct marketers that desire to “mail with responsibility” face an increasing number of formidable challenges, including a growing call for Do Not Mail legislation; the USPS push back against undeliverable mail; the ever-driving need to achieve improved response rates; the rising costs of postage and paper; and the slowdown of the economy in general. Each of these forces is hitting hard those marketers that have had to become leaner. The end result: It’s tougher than ever to do the right thing right now. While mail remains one of the most viable, cost-effective and efficient marketing channels, today’s consumers have become increasingly upset by “unwanted”