Door Slamming on Home Mail Delivery?
July 28, 2014

In the neighborhoods of tomorrow, door-to-door mail delivery will be a thing of the past. If U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) gets his way, door-to-door delivery will be gone within a decade for 15 million addresses. Issa estimates $2 billion in savings from the bill approved on Wednesday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which the congressman heads. USPS spokeswoman Sue Brennan, commenting only on USPS policy, told Target Marketing cluster boxes specifically for new homes are old news.

Staples Gives Mini Post Offices the Boot. Sort Of.
July 16, 2014

Union protests worked, speculate some of Tuesday's news accounts about Staples officials' decision to end its participation in the pilot for the USPS Retail Partner Expansion Program. Actually, the test didn't work, says USPS. Staples representatives didn't return an email requesting comment. The Postal Service and Staples have been piloting a program at 82 Staples locations to test the feasibility of offering postal products and services inside Staples stores," USPS spokeswoman Darleen Reid says in an emailed response to Target Marketing. "Based on the information learned from the test, the Postal Service and Staples have agreed to end the pilot by August 1st."

USPS to Rise Like a Phoenix: True or False?
July 14, 2014

Direct mail matters to marketers. Yet the USPS is on its knees due to the rise of email, mobile and the Internet. So could another innovation, 3D printing, save the U.S. Postal Service? The USPS Office of Inspector General thinks so. "3D printing could boost the Postal Service's package revenue by $323 million to $1.1 billion per year," the OIG opines in its July 7 white paper "If It Prints, It Ships: 3D Printing and the Postal Service."

Postal Workers Protest Staples, AFL-CIO Joins the Fight
June 4, 2014

The AFL-CIO has endorsed the Postal Workers’ (APWU's) boycott of the office supply giant Staples over the U.S. Postal Service’s privatization of retail operations by contracting mail services to Staples, with “postal counters” staffed with low-wage, high-turnover Staples employees rather than postal employees. The USPS began contracting out postal services to Staples in October. So far, 80 Staples stores are part of the pilot program. But the USPS plans to expand the scheme to 1,500 Staples locations nationwide at the same time the USPS is eliminating public post offices.

FedEx Is Making Big Shipping Charge Changes
May 22, 2014

For years, whenever FedEx or UPS changed rates for parcel delivery, the other wasted little time in duplicating the move. Of course, those moves always seemed to go in just one direction: up. And they're about to go up again. Earlier this month, FedEx set the stage for a price hike of unprecedented scope. It will affect rates charged to consumers for delivery of packages low in weight, but large in size. Here's how the company explained it: "Effective January 1, 2015, FedEx Ground will apply dimensional weight pricing to all shipments. Currently, FedEx Ground applies dimensional weight pricing only

At Your Service! Really!
May 7, 2014

I had to meet a friend unexpectedly at the hospital the other day. As you would expect, my mind was racing with all sorts of "what ifs." I was wondering where to park when I pulled into the main entrance, and several kind people positioned at the door offered to valet my car and escort me to where I needed to go. This level of service reminiscent of a fine hotel, not a hospital, pleasantly surprised me. Genuine helpfulness and sincere caring. (And, thankfully, all turned out well for my friend.)

Can Staples Break the Postal Service?
April 25, 2014

Union workers for the U.S. Postal Service plan to protest a deal between the Post Office and Staples Inc. that was struck late last summer and has so far resulted in the opening of 82 contract postal units in Staples stores around the country. The protests are set to take place Thursday at 56 additional Staples locations that are being added to the program. The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 USPS workers, about half the total number of Post Office employees, and their average wage is $25 an hour … [vs. Staples at] $8.52 an hour,

Who Is the Postal Customer?
April 23, 2014

The USPS Office of Inspector General recently published a whitepaper that summarizes focus group research asking the American consumer what they want from the Postal Service now and in the future. And more importantly, they asked consumers what they need. The results weren’t necessarily surprising as some of the responses confirmed what many of us already knew (i.e., almost 70 percent think that taxes at least partially fund the USPS). But the research should help both mailers and the USPS in setting future business plans and strategic direction as the consumer is a customer to all

At MeritDirect Co-op: Shifting Marketing Landscape Prompts Concerns, Experimentation
July 16, 2013

Political stalemate in the nation's capital is causing business uncertainty and restricting marketing growth, a gathering of direct marketers were told last week at MeritDirect's 14th annual Business Mailers' Co-op and Interactive Marketing Conference. “There's great growth in the financial markets, unemployment is down, the housing market has improved and there is more confidence among consumers,” said keynote presenter Bruce Biegel, senior management director at consultancy Winterberry Group. “The country is doing pretty well, but it's subject to what they do in Washington ... Unless there's a change in gridlock, there's no real growth ahead

To Be More Successful, Study Failures
May 9, 2013

As the 1940s air war in Europe intensified, the Allies faced a major problem. Their bombers would leave England by the hundreds, but too many of them didn’t return, brought down by extremely heavy enemy flak. The Allies desperately needed to beef up the armor on their planes to provide protection, but armoring an entire plane, or even an entire cockpit, involved far too much weight. How could they choose the few especially vulnerable places to be armored? A couple of clever engineers solved this problem with a counterintuitive analysis. After comprehensively logging the locations of flak damage inflicted around