A recent decision by the Postal Service to transition its MailPro magazine to an all-digital format has left many in the mailing community scratching our heads. This bi-monthly newsletter is full of valuable information for readers who depend on the mail. Each issue includes news on USPS programs and services, pricing information, mailing success stories and industry trends.
Personally, I very much value the hard copy edition I receive in my mailbox. I travel often for business and almost always take a recent copy with me to read on the plane. The news that MailPro is moving to an all-digital format was personally disappointing and sends the wrong message to the mailing community.
At a time when the entire industry, including the Postal Service, is focused on educating businesses on the strong ROI of physical mail and the need to include print communication in cross-channel campaigns, it’s frustrating that the USPS has decided to stop mailing its own publication.
In the message to readers, it states, “While we’re saying goodbye to the old MailPro and hello to the new MailProDigital.com, our goal remains the same: providing you — our customers — from the largest high-volume shippers to small businesses to e-commerce sellers, the information you need to grow your business through the mail.” The irony here is almost too much to take.
There were a few sound options the USPS should have considered before halting the print edition. They could have surveyed readers and continued to mail to those who prefer the print version – much like marketers do with their loyalty programs. Like a few others in the industry have mentioned, they should have explored options to reduce mailing costs. Using a Slim Jim or Stretch format to qualify for Standard Mail letter rates seems like an obvious solution. The American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) mentioned a similar option for retailers to help offset the rising fees for mailing full size catalogs.
Regardless of their intent, the Postal Service did a poor job of optimizing the print technology and postal optimization opportunities available to them. These are the same issues our industry is confronted with every day. The USPS had a perfect opportunity to set an example for the industry and showcase how to deal with pricing pressures. This time, they didn’t deliver.