After an exciting day one at the National Postal Forum (NPF), a late winter (early spring? – oh, please, please, please) snowfall blanketed the mid-Atlantic region and depressed attendance on Monday. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said this is the first NPF he could remember in his more than 30-year career with the Postal Service that we have had snow, but added neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow would stop the NPF from going on.
Those who were held back by the weather missed an inspirational keynote from Donahoe and his executive team about the “Great Story” there is to tell about the effectiveness of mail, encouraging mailers to compete for a greater share of the “marketing pie.” He noted that 12% of total American marketing spend goes to direct mail and challenged listeners to find ways to grow marketing mail. He went on to say that demonstrating ROI (what we prefer to call Return on Marketing Investment or ROMI) is needed to show the value of mail.
Donahoe challenged mailers to create mail that is more personally relevant, is more actionable, has expanded functionality to allow interaction with mobile devices and makes full use of creative design. He noted that consumers react to great mailpieces.
Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Nagisa Manabe called mail more relevant and effective than ever. She said mail done right makes people feel special and can provide an instant link to the digital world. She also explained how mail can drive digital adoption as people who have not tried various digital options will engage in them when prompted to do so through a mailpiece.
Manabe also highlighted the USPS partnership with Sony Pictures to promote both Priority Mail and the movie “Amazing Spiderman 2,” noting that just like Spiderman, USPS delivery services are fast, agile and reliable.
Kudos to our friend Lucie Jameson of The Hartford, who appeared in a video describing how her company uses Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) data to manage their total mail program. We were very impressed by Lucie’s postal acumen and how she applies it to improve The Hartford’s ROMI.
Chief Information Officer Jim Cochran talked about how the USPS is working to enhance the Intelligent Mail value proposition with perks such as free Address Correction Service (ACS) for all residual pieces in a mailing. He also touched on transitioning Move Update enforcement to an analysis based on mailer performance trends, rather than a mailing-by-mailing analysis.
Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan described her team’s efforts to reduce costs for the Postal Service. Her team has reduced the annual USPS cost basis by more than $16 billion so far, helping to preserve the long-term affordability of mail.
Improving the customer experience with the Postal Service was the topic of Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman. He outlined new initiatives that the USPS will be launching in the coming year to provide more value to mailers and create a great customer experience.
Donahoe closed the session by calling on mailers to “rediscover the power of mail.”
We’ll talk tomorrow about innovative new ways to use mail in integrated campaigns that can drive customers to brick and mortar retail locations and retail websites.
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