Over the years I’ve been super vocal about my dislike for the U.S. Postal Service and its less-than-forward-thinking bureaucracy. When it slammed direct marketers with a 20 percent postal increase back in 2007, I went (pun intended) postal on it in my Catalog Success Magazine Column.
Earlier this year after it announced its summer postage sale, I was optimistic. But once I looked at the fine print (i.e., how much you had to mail to qualify), I was critical then, too.
I try to be fair in the offering of my opinions.
Therefore, I have to applaud the USPS for its announcement last week that there would not be a postal rate increase in 2010 for dominant classes.
For those of you not aware yet, last week the Postmaster General sent out a memo announcing no 2010 rate increase, which has spread around the internet faster than a scandalous YouTube video goes viral. That memo can be reviewed here.
I know, I know: Postal rates are already ridiculously and restrictively high, but at least mailers can build their 2010 mail plans without having to cut circ from marginal lists and housefile segments.
But along with my kudos to our Postmaster and the USPS, I also want to put them on notice. Here goes:
Dear Mr. Postmaster General, You’ve started a trend here. Between the postal summer sale and now this offer to keep postal rates stable in 2010, catalog and direct mailers believe that you may actually be interested in working to our benefit. We look forward to the next postal sale, and hope that the USPS opens it up to smaller mailers to take advantage of. We truly hope that you’ll continue to stop thinking like a bureaucracy and encourage more mail volume with innovative special offers and such.
But we’re also wary. Direct marketers are wary because the USPS holds a great deal of power and leverage over us. The last substantial postal rate increase nearly put us under with rate increases of 20 percent-plus. What was the USPS thinking? That move single-handedly drove more and more mailers into the online world. If we were to do the math, we believe the increase in postage actually caused your revenues to go down due to less mail in the mailstream.
Remember this Mr. Postmaster General: Every penny more it costs us to mail means we need to generate about two cents more per catalog and direct mail piece mailed just to breakeven. In this economy, we need every opportunity we can get to mail profitably. We’re struggling to stay alive and keep our workers employed and our customers satisfied.
Keep up the good work, Mr. Postmaster. Please continue this trend.
Sincerely, The Direct Mail Industry
As to you, my loyal readers, I encourage you to send your letters to the Postmaster General (or just copy mine and send it). Make your voice heard! Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Reach the Postmaster General at the following:
The Honorable John E. Potter Postmaster General
U.S. Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20260-0010
Speak to you next week, when I’ll discuss a tactic to help you reduce mail costs by doing a specific suppression on your housefile and list rentals.
Orignally published in All About ROI (formerly Catalog Success) Magazine.