It’s March 17th, one of the most exciting days of the year. No, not because it’s St. Patrick’s Day. And no, not because it’s Selection Sunday in college basketball. It’s exciting because it’s the first day of the National Postal Forum, the biggest event of the year for those involved with the Postal Service. Even if you’re not a self-admitted “postal nerd” like me, you have to admit the USPS has been part of the national conversation more in the past few months than nearly anytime in recent memory. If you weren’t able to make it to San Francisco for this year’s event, we wanted to do our best to bring it to you by blogging daily from the show. So without further ado, here are my initial thoughts as we open the seal on this year’s Postal Forum.
Venue, Attendance and Topics Receiving the Most Buzz
Despite being a more compact venue than the past few years, the Moscone Center is located in a great urban setting and provides all the excitement of recent Forums. This morning started a bit slow, but by early afternoon there were a lot of people in the exhibit hall and there was a buzz in the air. We were happy to see many USPS executives and managers eager to interact with the industry, despite media coverage of the event as a boondoggle and reports that the USPS was pulling back participation in response to those reports. This is obviously a very important event for the direct mail industry and, of course, the USPS is key to its success.
Full-Service Intelligent Mail is dominating most conversations here – it’s all about data and how it can be used to make mail more predictable, relevant and valuable. There are a number of sessions throughout the show on how to use the data, as well as the technical aspects of using Full-Service Intelligent Mail.
Other topics swirling in the air include the 5-day mail/6-day parcel delivery proposal, the Postal Service’s digital future, and the need for postal reform legislation to ensure the Postal Service’s financial future.
Recap of Our Presentation on Full Service Intelligent Mail
Earlier today Bob Rosser and I gave a presentation on using Full-Service IMb data to provide more value to direct mail campaigns. It was a gorgeous day, so we were pleasantly surprised to have about 70 colleagues join us for our presentation.
During the session we explored how Full-Service IMb is the ultimate “big data” app. This data adds value to direct mail by:
- Allowing piece-level visibility to monitor manufacturing and quality
- Tracking movement of mail prior to and within the USPS network
- Providing more predictable delivery through product visibility, network performance, proactive intervention and closer to date-certain delivery
- Offering better coordination with other marketing activities and cross-channel campaigns
- Giving a better understanding of campaign performance through an ability to tie response to delivery metrics and trouble shoot poorly performing campaigns
As I mentioned, the session was strongly attended and the consensus among participants was there is tremendous value in the data generated by Full-Service IMb – both to the Postal Service and the mailing industry. However, there remain concerns about the cost of supporting Intelligent Mail.
It’s been a long and exciting first day at the Postal Forum. We’re looking forward to tomorrow’s keynote from the Postmaster General. Please be sure to check back tomorrow as we summarize his speech, and check back daily for full coverage from the show!
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