As we’ve said before in this blog, direct mail is an important player in our multi-channel marketing world. A new example of how mail can interact with other marketing media is the Informed Delivery Mail Notification pilot program the U.S. Postal Service will be expanding into the New York City metro area later this month. This will make the pilot available to more than 100,000 potential participants in ZIP codes 066, 069, and 100−119.
Originally called “Real Mail Notification,” Informed Delivery is a consumer service integrating mail and digital channels by providing subscribers a daily email alert showing images of the mailpieces they will receive that day in their physical mailbox. This alert can be provided to all members of the household so they don’t miss anything intended for them. It also allows subscribers to review the contents of their physical mailbox, even if they are traveling.
Currently, the My USPS website allows consumers to view and manage package delivery. Based on the results of this expanded pilot, the website could be expanded to incorporate Informed Delivery, allowing consumers to view and manage mail delivery along with their packages.
Consumer Satisfaction and Response Rates are High
Informed Delivery Mail Notification is currently being piloted with more than four thousand participants in Northern Virginia. The first phase of the pilot has proven very successful:
- 95% retention rate;
- 93% of participants check their email alert daily;
- 92% say they are likely to continue using the service.
The Northern Virginia pilot tested three scenarios: mailpiece only, mailpiece with static scanned image, and mailpiece with interactive scanned image (such as live links to websites or phone numbers). Response rates to direct mail combined with Informed Delivery Mail Notifications were twice the response to the mailpiece alone.
Like the Northern Virginia pilot, the New York Metro pilot is driven by physical mailpieces. It is the mailpiece that triggers the email alert and any subsequent interactive experiences. Since recipients view mailpieces both via Informed Delivery and physical delivery, participating mailers generate multiple impressions from a single channel.
New Features Being Tested in New York Pilot Program
The New York Metro pilot will also expand certain capabilities of the program. An image of the mailpiece is currently captured only for letter-sized mail run on automated sorting equipment. No image is captured for flat-sized mail and saturation letters that often bypass sorting equipment. The New York pilot will allow participating mailers to provide images of this type of mail that can be added to the alert on the day the mailpiece is expected to be delivered. The Postal Service is also expanding the ability to link supplemental content to the mailpiece image.
The New York pilot currently has about 35 mailers working closely with the Postal Service to test various aspects of this program. Mailpieces will be designed to drive traffic to a website so response rates can be tracked. Test mailings will compare response rates of pilot participants to control groups of non-participants.
The Postal Service had originally planned to auto-enroll consumers in the pilot area who were already using My USPS to manage package delivery. Instead, the agency has determined it will launch its customer acquisition with an opt-in effort instead. The opt-in campaign is expected to use direct mail and signage in Post Offices to alert consumers to the availability of the program. With this change, the Postal Service is developing a staggered launch schedule for the New York pilot. Although the pilot is still expected to launch in November, the Postal Service has said it will share specific dates when they are finalized.
We’re looking forward to seeing the results of this pilot. We believe it has the potential to more deeply integrate direct mail and digital marketing channels, driving greater value for direct mail users. Continue reading SpeakingDIRECT and we’ll keep you informed as this pilot program progresses.
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