Looking for Printing and MaiLing ideas? see Pages 16-21 may - june 2013
With so many factors to take into account, here’s how to be sure you’re on the right path. Page 22
Smart Ways to
Tackle New Tasks in Mail Operations. Page 28
5 Things to Know Before You Say No to Color Again. Page 26
What’s in a Word? A Costly Mistake. Page 8
Volume 26 Issue 4
may - june 2013
Special Printing and Mailing Section: Ideas and solutions starting on page 16!
Top 10 Items to Consider when Selecting a Mailing System With so many factors to take into account, here’s how to be sure you’re on the right path. By Adam Lewenberg
5 Things to Know Before You Say “No” to Color Again By Chris Giles
Smart Ways to Tackle New Tasks in Mailing Operations By Theresa Lang
Keeping your Operations Running Smoothly By Amanda Armendariz
Direct mail to the Web: a Cross-media approach By John Foley, Jr.
Love Works By Wes Friesen
Postal Affairs Digging Deeper Into Full-Service By Kim Mauch
What’s in a Word? a Costly mistake By Christopher Lien
Direct Marketing 101
My Two Cents Secret meetings... and Who Has Our Backs as Service Providers? By Todd Butler
Ship uPS, Fedex, DHL, and uSPS . . . at the uPS Store? By Jim LeRose
The Trenches mail Two Point Oh By Mike Porter
[ PLUS ] 4
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Mailing systems technology
with Amanda Armendariz
PUBLISHER Marll Thiede
EDITOR Amanda Armendariz firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Todd Butler, John Foley, Jr., Wes Friesen, Chris Giles, Theresa Lang, Jim LeRose, Adam Lewenberg, Christopher Lien, Kim Mauch, Mike Porter
Rachel Spahr email@example.com
ADVERTISING 608-442-5064 Ken Waddell firstname.lastname@example.org
GRAPHIC DESIGN Kelli Cooke
2901 International Lane • Madison WI 53704-3128 608-241-8777 • Fax 608-241-8666 email@example.com www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
Volume 26, Issue 4 Subscriptions are free to qualified recipients: $20 per year to all others in the United States. Subscription rate for Canada or Mexico is $40 per year, and for elsewhere outside of the United States is $45. Back issue rate is $5. Send subscriptions to: Mailing Systems Technology, PO Box 259098, Madison WI 53725-9098; or call 608-241-8777; fax 608-241-8666; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or subscribe online at www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com. For high-quality reprints, please contact our exclusive reprint provider, ReprintPros, 949-702-5390, www.ReprintPros.com. All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2013 by RB Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any correspondence sent to Mailing Systems Technology, RB Publishing Inc. or its staff becomes property of RB Publishing Inc. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of RB Publishing Inc. or Mailing Systems Technology. RB Publishing Inc. and/or Mailing Systems Technology expressly disclaim any liability for the products or services sold or otherwise endorsed by advertisers or authors included in this magazine. Mailing Systems Technology (ISSN 1088-2677) [Volume 26, Issue 4] is published six times per year, (January/February, March Buyers Resource, March/April, May/June, September/October, November/December) by RB Publishing Inc., 2901 International Lane, Suite 100, Madison WI 53704-3128, 608-241-8777. Periodical postage paid at Madison WI and additional offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to: Mailing Systems Technology PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098
Keeping Your Operation Running Smoothly Ah, the joys of running a mailing operation. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s a very necessary component of almost any business, but man, sometimes it seems like it’s impossible to get everything down pat. Just when you think you’ve gotten your job description mastered, they go ahead and change it on you, or some new rule or regulation is implemented that completely changes how you do things. But never fear — that’s why this issue is devoted to keeping your mailing operation running smoothly. And whether you’re new to the mailing business or you’ve been around since stamps were still 29 cents (or longer, but let’s be honest, that’s about as far back as I remember), we’re positive you’ll find something helpful within these pages. The feature story on page 22 is a great place to start. Adam Lewenberg details all the ins and outs that go into selecting a mailing system, and the questions that you should ask yourself before making such an investment. We don’t need to tell you that every mailing operation has different needs, and these questions are a great place to start so that you can be sure any purchase you make satisfies your operation’s needs, and not the guys’ next door. And speaking of things running smoothly, another great resource to use is our new weekly feature, Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday, we send out a brief but insightful tip from an industry expert, so you can be sure to stay on top of things in the weeks between our print issues arriving in your mailbox. Remember, mail is still relevant, but it’s not the only way we communicate anymore — join us in our multi-channel communication strategy and see just how well physical mail and digital communications can work together! All you need to do is go to www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com and sign up for our newsletter, and the tips will come your way. As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology.
Real Life Management Love Works Want to be a more effective leader? Want to help your team be even more successful? Learning how to consistently lead with love is the key you are looking for! It’s one thing to want to lead with love, and another to know how to do it and then live it out. I recently read an outstanding book that can help us — let me share some of the key ideas. “undercover Boss” is one of my favorite shows and usually ends with me choked up with emotion. Some of the CeOs featured are already caring and inspiring leaders, others less so, but all end up learning valuable lessons when they work with front line staff and supervisors and realize that people are truly the most valuable resource of any organization. I remember watching the episode featuring joel manby, CeO of Herschend Family entertainment, which owns or operates about 20 family themed attractions across the country such as Dolywood, Silver Dollar City, and Stone mountain in Georgia. after seeing joel on the show I told my wife that this guy really understands what servant leadership is all about, and knows how to add value to all of an organization’s key stakeholders (employees, customers, owners, and community). Recently I heard that joel had just written a book on leadership called Love Works, so I got my copy and read it with great interest. Love Works — “Leading with Love” joel and other successful like minded leaders understand and promote the concept of servant leadership and “leading with love.” Talking about “love” in business makes some people squirm. Part of the problem is that our english language has only one word for love, while our friends the ancient Greeks had four — one of which is “agape” love, which is the one that is most relevant for business settings. agape love is not about feelings and is not emotion-based. agape love is unconditional and is behavior based — it’s about choosing to care and following up with actions. When we look at love in action, love works — at work. and it can be a powerful tool to help us strengthen our teams and improve the value we add to our stakeholders. Key principles that explain this kind of love come from one of the oldest and most respected authorities on human behavior: the Bible. joel elaborates on seven key principles of practical love that the apostle Paul outlined in chapter 13 of his first letter to the Corinthians. This is a passage that is often used at weddings, but it can also be used as a leadership philosophy. Seven Key Principles of Leading with Love 6
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1. Be patient — demonstrate self-control in difficult situations. Key points include: don’t be patient with poor performance, but be patient with how you respond to poor performance. Praise patiently in public — including being specific, exact, and legitimate. admonish in private with specifics, then reaffirm the person’s value and help them “get back on the horse” and move on. Praise more than you admonish. Some studies found the ratio should be at least 4 to 1. 2. Be kind — show encouragement and enthusiasm. Kindness is the root of encouragement, encouragement leads to enthusiasm, and everyone benefits from enthusiasm. Remember that kindness, encouragement and enthusiasm start with us in leadership roles. When a leader is kind, it will influence front-line employees who will in turn be more likely to treat customers well. every time we contact someone, we can make their day better or worse — so make it better. I like the Sam Horn quote: “anyone who consistently makes you feel bad is not helping you be better.” Finally, break through the email clutter and use hand written notes of thanks. Over the years, I have received handwritten notes of appreciation from a CeO and also a President of my company — both notes are framed and will be mementos that I enjoy well into my retirement years. 3. Be trusting — place confidence in those around you. Leading with love isn’t possible if you don’t trust people. and when you trust people, leading will be more effective than ever. Listening carefully is a sign of trust — interrupting people is a sign of distrust. another way to show trust is to avoid micro-managing and let others make decisions they are responsible for. Then we need to avoid overriding a decision that has already been made unless it is absolutely necessary. 4. Be unselfish — think of yourself less. Being unselfish doesn’t mean thinking less of yourself — it means thinking of yourself less. unselfish leaders aim to make as few decisions as possible. They also deploy a Socratic rather than autocratic leading style. Socratic leading involves asking questions, facilitating rich team discussions, and then making the best possible decision based on that rich discussion. margaret Thatcher has a great quote that supports the Socratic and participate approach: “Being in power is like being a lady. If you have to remind people that you are, you aren’t.” 5. Be truthful — define reality corporately and individually. Highly respected CeO max DePree said, “The first respon-
With Wes Friesen
sibility of a leader is to define reality.” Practical guidelines include: Don’t shoot the messenger or confuse disagreement with negative conflict. Don’t assume people see the truth — speak up. As a leader, it’s usually best to speak last. Be open to hearing the truth — find an accountability partner or partners that will always tell you the truth about yourself. Finally remember the adage to “speak the truth in love.” 6. Be forgiving — release the grip of the grudge. What was done to you doesn’t matter in the end — all that matters is how you respond. If someone has wronged your team or organization, consider giving them another chance if it is a one-time offense, they are aware of their shortcomings, they want to improve, and if you have doubt about letting them go. Forgive someone who has wronged you — I agree with Jeff Henderson, who says “the longer you hold a grudge, the longer the grudge has a hold on you.” 7. Be dedicated — stick to your values in all circumstances. Choosing to lead with love may be the single most difficult decision a leader can make, but a wise leader dedicates herself to it because it is also the best way to lead an organization. If you lead anything or anyone, you are in a position of power. As leaders we need to use the power given us to get things done such as setting stretch targets, holding others accountable, asking for resources, making tough decisions, rallying people to common goals and getting results. Great leaders do all these things and at the same time lead with love. Martin Luther King Jr. understood this well when he said, “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.” Dr. King understood that love and power must be harnessed together to get the most important things done. My final encouragement is to follow Gandhi’s charge to: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Good luck to you as follow the path of leading with love and setting a positive example for others! ¡ Wes Friesen, MBA, CMDSM, MDC, EMCM, ICP, CCM,CMA, CM, CFM, APP, PHR is the Manager of Billing, Credit and Special Attention Operations for Portland General Electric, a utility in Portland, Oregon that serves over 829,000 customers. Wes leads his teams with the able assistance of Supervisors Allison Rowden, Jessica Eberhardt, Heidi Fouts and Matt McHill. Wes teaches university classes and is a featured speaker at national Conferences like MAILCOM, National Postal Forum, FUSION and others. Check out his personal website for free information (www.wesfriesen.com). He can be contacted at email@example.com. www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com ¡ MAY - JUNE 2013
With Christopher Lien
What’s in a Word? A Costly Mistake a uSPS-approved move update method is required to receive presorted or automation prices for First-Class mail or Standard mail. Since 2008, mailers have been required to prove (and sometimes demonstrate) to the uSPS that an approved move update method has been applied to the address at least 95 days prior to the mailing date. The uSPS offers several approved methods to comply with the move update requirement. among the approved methods are the national Change-of-address Linkage System (nCOaLink), address Change Service, and ancillary Service endorsements. There are a few other alternatives, but by and large, these are the most commonly used today. Of these, only nCOaLink is a true pre-mailing move update method, as the address can be updated prior to inducting the mailpiece into the uSPS. However, post-mailing move update methods are also widely used when repeated mailings occur within the 95-day window and are also excellent complements to the nCOaLink pre-mailing solution. With an average of 6,500 or more changes-of-address occurring every hour in this country, the combination of a pre-mailing and post-mailing solution makes sense to keep up with customers on the move. However, when mailers start using ancillary Service endorsements, they need to pay very careful attention to what type of correction service is being requested. Traditionally, there are five different types of services that can be requested: address Service Requested, Change Service Requested, Forwarding Service Requested, Return Service Requested, and Temp-Return Service Requested. each of these services has different final disposition of the mailpiece, and each of these can carry very different costs. In short, one changed word can make a huge difference, and often result in unintended consequences. Consider the difference between ‘Change Service Requested’ and ‘address Service Requested’ used on a Standard mail piece addressed to someone that moved more than 12 months ago. For Change Service Requested, the uSPS would dispose of the piece and return uSPS Form 3547, along with the new address or reason for non-delivery. The fees associated with this service range from 55 cents to free if mailed as part of a qualifying FullService Imb mailing. Putting ‘address Service Requested’ on the mailpiece, however, results in the uSPS returning the undeliverable mailpiece to the sender, either with the new address or with the reason for nondelivery. The fee associated with this requested return service is calculated as the appropriate single-piece First-Class mail or Priority mail rate for the piece, plus a nonmachinable surcharge if 8
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applicable, and then that final amount is multiplied by 2.472 and rounded up to the next whole cent. In some cases, mailers have seen fees well exceeding two, three, even five dollars per piece! Depending on the size of the mailing, these unintended fees could wipe out an entire year’s mailing budget. To be clear, there is a time and place where address Service Requested might be appropriate. For example, if the mailer is sending out a very expensive direct mail piece and would like to have it returned to send to someone else, they might consider address Service Requested. However, it is not uncommon that someone simply used the wrong first word in the endorsement and ended up with an unexpected result. In january 2014, the uSPS will start requiring Full-Service Intelligent mail barcodes. With the Imb comes an additional service endorsement, ‘electronic Service Requested.’ electronic Service Requested is meant as a signal to the uSPS carrier that the specific disposition of the piece is “baked” into the barcode. embedded into the Intelligent mail barcode is a Service Type Identifier (STID), which directs the uSPS systems to process the mailpiece using an appropriate type of address Change Service (aCS). For example, the STID for a Full-Service Imb Standard mail piece requesting Change Service Requested is 562. a similar mailpiece in the same mailing requesting address Service Requested would have a STID of 541. Both pieces would have the same human-readable endorsement ‘electronic Service Requested’ printed on the mailpiece. It is only within the Imb that the specific service requested is known. and since the Imb is designed such that it is nearly impossible to decipher the codes by simply looking at it (unlike the POSTneT barcode), some type of scanner or barcode verification device would be needed to avoid unintended consequences. In short, quality assurance devices need to be seriously considered to avoid this costly embedded mistake. undeliverable as addressed (uaa) mail is a costly problem and remains a concern for the mailing industry. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce uaa and to stay compliant with the move update rules. With Full-Service Imb requirements just around the corner, mailers using ancillary Service endorsements should start looking now into how these requested services are embedded into the Imb, to ensure they know precisely what type of service is actually being requested. For more information on move update and a list of all the Service Type Identifiers, visit http://ribbs.usps.gov. ¡ Christopher Lien is Vice President, Software marketing, Bell and Howell.
With Jim LeRose
Ship UPS, FedEx, DHL, and USPS . . . at the UPS Store? The Roman Catholic Church broke with long-standing tradition and selected the first ever South American Pope. The Republican Party, desperate to win back the White House, is now considering inclusion policies few considered even remotely possible, such as acceptance of gay marriage and women’s rights (yes, you read it right). In Augusta, GA, relentlessly uncompromising golf officials decided to grant Tiger Woods an unheard of “break” by not disqualifying him after a serious infraction — a controversial first in Masters tournament history that will be discussed for ages. These are significant changes made by organizations not known for flexibility. So with all of these goings on, I shouldn’t have been so befuddled when I entered the UPS Store and discovered a veritable smorgasbord of shipping options including services from: FedEx, DHL, and the USPS. Admittedly, at first I was deeply confused. I thought, what’s next? Dennis Rodman becomes ambassador to North Korea? Snookie appointed to lead Homeland Security? Something must be wrong here; after all, these companies hate each other. Now they are all represented under one roof? Enter Wolfgang Boernert, entrepreneur et al, new owner of the UPS Store (formerly Mail Boxes etc.), implementer of change and mastermind of this bold new endeavor. Boernert doesn’t care what it says on the sign outside (it says UPS Store — I checked twice). “I will provide our customers with services from the shipping company of their choice, not ours. Sometimes customers require a service that is better provided by an alternative carrier, so we give them what they want,” says this brave new adventurer calmly (as I carefully peruse the surrounding for hidden cameras). “For example, if someone wants to send a gift to a soldier protecting our country in Afghanistan, the USPS is the only option. We want to help facilitate that shipment.” So why would someone choose the UPS Store to send US Mail? There are plenty of reasons, including extremely accommodating store hours: they’re open until 7:30 p.m., and this benefits the USPS. My mind is racing; hmm . . . could this be a clever way for UPS to eventually take over the USPS? I continued to pry. Boernert states, “Sometimes delivery times can vary widely between UPS and FedEx”. DHL, the largest worldwide carrier, offers faster delivery times, sometimes by two or three days to dozens more countries when compared to both UPS and FedEx. So when it absolutely, positively, has to get to an international destination on time… well you know the rest! “Our staff will do anything for our customers, such as: greet them in the parking lot in inclement weather (rain, sleet, or snow, etc.)
to help carry a package inside. Then they’ll seal it, tape it, prepare it for shipping and essentially do whatever else is needed to assure the recipient gets delivery safely and on time.” Need a refrigerator or other gigantic item delivered to a relative or friend? No worries; they’ll pick it up and deliver using UPS or FedEx freight services – whichever works best for the customer and costs the least. I continue to be astounded. Beyond traditional offerings, the UPS Store provides numerous business services including; instant email/text notification of inbound/ arriving packages, finger printing, copying, printing, passport photos, 800 #s, web hosting, business cards, email accounts, and a lot more. It’s an all-in-one service center for the small business and consumer that hardly resembles a place that just ships UPS packages.
“I will provide our customers with services from the shipping company of their choice, not ours. Sometimes customers require a service that is better provided by an alternative carrier, so we give them what they want.” With so many choices, how do they know which carrier offers the best and least costly service? Boernert touts an investment he made in multi-carrier rating/routing software. “Now it only takes a few keystrokes to find the fastest and least costly service for our clients.” This is “coopetition” at its finest! Stop in for a free cup of coffee or just great conversation. The only thing they don’t do is make dinner. But I bet if you ask, they will. Change is coming fast in the shipping industry thanks to movers and shakers and those willing to put the customer first, like Wolfgang Boernert, who proudly states; “We love logistics AND our customers!” The UPS Store located in Hackettstown New Jersey — it ain’t just UPS. I hope this information helps you Ship Better and Save Money. ¡ Jim LeRose has been a transportation industry consultant for three decades. Formerly with Pitney Bowes, he is Principal of Agile New York, a leading provider of multi-carrier shipping software / shipping cost reduction strategies and CEO/Founder of EcoReturn — a revolutionary ecommerce return solution. Visit: www.agilenewyork.com and www.ecoreturn.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888.214.1763. www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com ¡ MAY - JUNE 2013
The Trenches Mail Two Point Oh The document print and mail business has, for the most part, mastered the challenges of productivity and cost control. These two items have been key areas of focus ever since I got into the document business in the late 70s. I’m not saying that there is no room for improvement — I seem to uncover opportunities in these areas at every shop I visit. But on the whole, document operations do a pretty good job at meeting the requirements for turnaround times while keeping costs at a minimum.
direct marketing that seems to be stuck in decades-old methodologies. We also receive repetitive statements on closed or inactive accounts along with bill inserts or statement messages that are clearly not targeted to any particular group.
Today it is necessary to concentrate on aspects of document operations that go beyond the traditional manufacturing focus. When analyzing the effectiveness of those efforts today, I’d grade the industry on the whole as “needs improvement”.
It seems that some of the simplest tasks such as deduping or suppression against existing customer files are not even being executed in a lot of cases.
This requirement is fairly new. Keeping track of each customer’s communication channel preferences, recording the delivery channel actually employed for each message, and monitoring message status to enable re-issuance of un-read messages through a secondary channel can be mind-boggling tasks. Channel management may not affect every business today. all companies, however, should be mak-
In the past, service providers and in-house operations had to wait for vendors to develop and release faster machines to meet the throughput goals of the day. That isn’t the case when it comes to mail Mail 2.0 Attribute Description 2.0. The tools necessary to reach the next level of customer communicaOnly generate mailpieces Relevancy that are likely to achieve their tions already exist. The problem isn’t intended objective. a mechanical limitation. It’s more of a Collect, manage, and honor Channel mindset limitation. customer preferences, track the Management
What Is in the Next Level? There are numerous areas of docuAccountability ment processing that could benefit from attention by the operations group. The next level objectives involve Integration a great deal more integration with processes outside the typical document production workflow. making progress in these areas will likely require Security the cooperation of several internal or external organizations. The areas where some improvements could be made include relevancy, channel management, accountability, integration, and security.
Eliminate duplicates, stop mailing to closed accounts, and do a better job of targeting.
Develop a strategy, evaluate tools, and plan to implement customer channel preference capabilities.
Ensure mailpiece integrity, track throughout production process.
Add cameras and tracking software to operations workflow. Use tracking data to initiate follow-up messaging.
Coordinate mailed communications with all other customer interactions.
Feed information about printed mailpieces into existing CRM systems. Use the data to deepen customer relationships.
Protect against malicious attacks and accidental disclosure.
Perform a document security audit to identify vulnerabilities and then implement process improvements.
disposition of each message.
ing some plans for supporting this capability in the future. I believe that someday soon the inability to communicate through customerselected channels may restrict an organization’s ability to compete.
We’re all aware of the value of relevancy, and have heard the warnings about sending customers irrelevant messages. Some organizations have certainly embraced the concept and are on their way to developing more effective one-on-one communications with their customers. judging from the mail that comes to my address though, there remains work to be done. We still get duplicate catalogs, customer acquisition offers for products we already own, and solicitations for services we couldn’t possibly use. and it isn’t just
Keeping track of each document and mailpiece as it moves through the operation used to be a concern only when producing valuable or sensitive items like checks, financial statements, or healthcare information. This is no longer the case. For multi-channel marketing campaigns document operations must have the ability to assure the marketer that each personalized message was successfully pro-
may - june 2013 ¡ www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
With Mike Porter
duced and distributed as scheduled. The ability to track the disposition of each mailpiece and use that tracking information (which may include tracking through the Postal Service) to trigger additional message generation is becoming a minimum requirement for mail service providers.
INTEGRATION Many companies are striving for a 360 degree view of customer interactions. That should include outbound and incoming mail. Few organizations are prepared to capture and deliver such information to centralized databases such as a CRM system where all the activity of a customer can be viewed and acted upon. Some of these actions could even lead to additional print volume, such as the on-demand generation of fulfillment materials when a customer requests them via business reply, email, phone call, or web page visit.
SECURITY Privacy breaches are serious events when it involves the unauthorized release or loss of information protected by laws and regulations. Regardless of the legal ramifications, such incidents are always embarrassing and expensive. Many document operations believe that erecting a firewall to protect their servers from outside attacks is the only measure necessary to ensure data security. This just is not true. Most privacy violations involve a worker or staff member, and many of those events are nonmalicious accidents. Setting up security procedures and making sure they are followed are measures that do not really exist in document operations everywhere. This exposes the document service provider and their customers to unnecessary risk. Even though through studies have shown that physical mail continues to outperform other methods, we also know that it is more effective to include mail along with additional channels of communication. If mail is to remain a critical part of the mix, it has to integrate with the overall customer communication strategy and provide the features and capabilities that companies and their customers are coming to expect. Operating in isolation, as many mail applications still do today, is not the path to growth — or even to sustainability. ¡ Mike Porter is an expert in Print and Mail operations and President of Print/Mail Consultants, an independent consulting firm that helps companies nationwide lower costs and integrate new technologies in their document production workflows. For more of his thoughts and ideas visit www.printmailconsultants.com and sign up for Practical Stuff – the free newsletter for document operations. Your comments are welcome. Send them to email@example.com. www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com ¡ MAY - JUNE 2013
Direct Marketing 101
With John Foley, Jr.
Direct Mail to the Web: A Cross-Media Approach Direct mail can no longer stand on its own as a complete marketing strategy. and in reality, it never should have. It should always have worked in conjunction with other efforts. In today’s world, in order to create a comprehensive touchpoint between company and consumer, direct mail must embrace new technologies. a cross media approach that utilizes direct mail in a unique and personalized way is how direct mail can evolve… not only surviving but thriving as an integral part of your overall marketing strategy. you’ve likely heard the old adage, “Don’t place all your eggs in one basket.” and years back, many marketers would do that. you’d find a business that relied solely on postcard mailings. Or billboards. Or an ad in the yellow pages. Thankfully, today’s marketers realize that you should never put all your proverbial eggs in one basket and focus only on one method to get your message across to your target market. If you did, then it’s easy to jump to the (wrong) conclusion that the “old ways” like direct mail are dead. When marketers develop a marketing strategy that uses several different ways to get the message across to the target market, they should definitely consider direct mail. While they may feel that direct mail is cost-prohibitive, they will find that the response rate on direct mailers is high, therefore easily making the ROI in line with other marketing efforts. Combined with current technologies like QR codes and landing pages, direct mail can enhance the experience of the recipient and allow for sophisticated data capturing capabilities. a QR code printed on the direct mail piece can encourage the consumer to use their phone to interact with the mailer. using a QR code application on their phone, the consumer will scan the QR code and then be directed to a mobile-friendly web page or app. Depending on your target market, your mailer should work with the various media that would be appealing. For example, when you target an older population, you may choose to use a short personalized url so that the consumer can look up a particular offering on their computer. marketing to a younger audience? Then you may use that QR code to lead to a video or interactive game. Or maybe tie it in to social media. you already know where you can find your audience — online, via mobile or social media platforms and so on. So your direct mail efforts should make sense in that they should work in conjunction with other media that your audience is familiar with. The point is to make the multiple messages fit together logically and provide consistent branding with a compelling call to action. using direct mail with a cross media approach will
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create a multi-touch, interactive experience that will maximize your marketing strategy. ¡ john Foley, jr. is the founder of Grow Socially, an online marketing company including Social media. They provide marketing consulting and delivery services. Created in 2010, Grow Socially, Inc (www.GrowSocially.com) helps companies with their online marketing efforts, with a focus on social media. These services include discussing and creating marketing plans, strategies, tactics, and goals that align with your company’s needs. In addition to his role at Grow Socially, mr. Foley serves a CeO for interlinkOne, an integrated multi-channel marketing web solutions company serving the print and fulfillment industries and marketing departments. Contact john at: 978.674.8081 or firstname.lastname@example.org
With Kim Mauch
Digging Deeper Into Full-Service at nPF this year, the industry was promised that all the answers to their questions about Full-Service would be included in the final Federal Register ruling. This ruling was posted in april. While it clarified several important details, some questions remain unanswered. Let’s take a deeper look.
What Hasn’t Changed The Federal Register solidified the Postal Service’s intent to require Full-Service preparation for automation rates starting january 26, 2014. These preparation and submission changes will be required for First-Class mail, Standard and Periodicals letters, flats and cards, as well as Bound Printed matter flats. any mailer planning to delay implementation in hopes that this would all blow over should take note: there will be no delays. Here’s a rundown of the requirements: 1. Intelligent mail barcodes on mailpieces, trays, and sacks must be unique for a minimum of 45 days. 2. Intelligent mail pallet placards, including a unique pallet barcode, are required when mail is prepared on pallets according to the Dmm, used for drop-shipping or Customer Supplier agreement (CSa) preparation. 3. Drop-ship appointments must be scheduled in advance using the FaST system. 4. mailing documentation must be submitted electronically, using mail.dat, mail.XmL or the Postal Wizard. mailers must identify the by/for information and barcodes used in the mailing. 5. mailers who use specialized preparation, like CSa, must use that preparation for all their mailings. mail will continue to be checked for mail content, piece design, and sortation during mail acceptance. If a problem is found during verification, mailers have the option to re-work the mail, or forego the automation discount to send the mail as-is.
Updates and Clarifications The only acceptable tray or sack label will be the new Intelligent mail tray label (Imtb). This layout includes one 24-digit barcode. The Postal Service listed its definition of mail owners and mailing agents. This has been a major source of contention between mail service providers (mSPs) and uSPS. The by/for data is populated by mailer IDs and Customer Registration IDs, and in addition to being confusing, mSPs have been hesitant to request mIDs and CRIDs for all their customers. uSPS has defined a mail owner as “the business entity, organization or individual who makes business decisions regarding mailpiece content, directly benefits from the mailing, and ultimately pays for postage on the mailpiece directly or by way of a mailing agent.” a mailing agent is basically anyone who facilitates a mailing on behalf of a mail owner. While the mail owner information is not required for mailings under 5,000 pieces, this is likely too small a target for most mSPs. Those who want a
consistent workflow may wind up requesting and specifying the mail owner information on all mailings anyway. While palletization rules have been around for several years, the regulations have been clarified. mailers must prepare pallets with Intelligent mail container barcodes (Imcb) according to Dmm standards when: } First-Class mailings have at least 48 linear feet of letter trays or 16 linear feet of flat tubs } The mailer has a customer service agreement (CSa) } The mailing is separated onto pallets or other containers by destination } Standard mail or Periodicals mailings have more than 500 pounds of bundles or sacks } Standard mail or Periodicals mailings have more than 72 linear feet of trays } The mailer chooses to containerize the mailing under Dmm 705.8.0 Of particular interest to mLOCR mailers, a new requirement states that Full-Service automation letters cannot be combined in the same tray with unbarcoded, POSTneT or Imb mail that doesn’t include a delivery point. most importantly, the Federal Register filing outlined the verifications uSPS will perform on mailings starting january 26. In addition to the checks performed on automation mailings today, acceptance personnel will verify that barcodes on pieces, trays and pallets are present and readable, and that electronic documentation was submitted. Supplementary checks will be performed on the electronic documentation itself, but any problems found will not penalize the mailer for the first half of 2014.
Remaining Questions The definition of mail owner versus mailing agent is a step in the right direction, but still leaves several scenarios unaddressed. In some cases, the actual mail submitter will have no insight into who “directly benefits from the mailing” because of the many layers of pre-processing completed by other companies. and while the rules for palletization are clearer, cases of co-palletization and other mixed mailing scenarios weren’t addressed. Lastly, the ruling states that while no assessments for electronic verifications will be made until july 2014, it’s implied that mailers will be on the hook for any deficiencies at that time. What those assessments will be has not been announced. ¡ Kim mauch is a subject matter expert in mailing preparation and submission at Satori Software. Contact her at email@example.com. www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com ¡ may - june 2013
My Two Cents
With Todd Butler
Secret Meetings …and Who Has Our Backs as Service Providers? On march 7, 2013, there was an invitation-only meeting between the Postmaster General and a few of our industry elites. The main goal of the meeting was to convince the PmG that competing with service providers was expensive, very disruptive, and counterproductive. In other words, they wanted the uSPS to stop current and future plans to compete with them. Several corporations were present, along with a number of associations, all representing their own self-interests. The question is, did anyone represent the interests of small- and medium-sized print and mail service providers? The associations, which claim to represent print and mail service providers (mSPs), are generally so afraid of losing access to postal management that they are ineffective in changing major policy decisions of this governmental monopoly. In an effort to gain access, associations employ ex-postal officials to lobby their friends. Seems like a logical, reasonable approach to gaining influence. That is unless the ex-postal employee is more sympathetic to the concerns and needs of the Postal Service (and old friends) than the concerns and needs of the membership that hired them. Over the years I have had more than a few heated conversations with current and ex-postal employees over the need for the uSPS to gather, maintain, and use our proprietary customer information. The only possible need for such detailed contact information would be for the development of postal products and services that compete with our industry. my position has always been and always will be that it is unethical for the uSPS to require mSPs provide proprietary customer information and then use that information as a competitor to sell/provide services to our customers. a few years ago conversations with (some) association employees started with, well yes, the uSPS is collecting proprietary data but not using it. unfortunately for these apologists the OIG did a study (ms-ma-06-002) released in 2006. It said the uSPS was collecting customer information from mSPs and if the uSPS was going to continue to use that information for marketing purposes it had to notify the mSPs of this use. up until full service and eDocs, customer information (now called by/for) was not required by the uSPS! Surprised? Read the OIG report.
new. We have been fighting against uSPS competition since the fall of 1990, when as a small struggling company, the Postal Service nearly put us out of business by offering free ZIP+4 conversions for small lists. During this fight, postal employees told me that not only were they going to provide data services but they were running live tests for providing mail preparation services. The reason the uSPS ceased providing data services was because they did what postal bureaucrats always do, they overreached! It was not associations that were effective in dissuading the uSPS from providing data services; most were not even in the fight. It was big business that put a stop to the new postal data services. The bureaucrats had expanded data services from a maximum of 5,000 records (our market) to 80 million records. The same thing happened this march. It wasn’t our associations, lead by apologists and sheep that prompted the meeting with the Postmaster General; it was large businesses threatened by several proposed new and/or expanded postal offerings. Our associations have had years to affect change at the uSPS but have failed to stop the Postal Service’s illegal (since implementation of Paea) and unethical competition with their membership. all members have received from some associations are excuses and requests for more detailed information! associations were at the march meeting and may have been protecting their own self interests and pet projects, but they were not there protecting the interests of small- and medium-sized service providers. apparently the march meeting got very heated, but by all accounts the industry was successful in changing/clarifying the direction the uSPS would take in the future as it looked to grow sales. The PmG apparently told those at the meeting that he had no intention of competing with vendors, nor would he use for marketing the proprietary information the uSPS was collecting from service providers, and he stated that he needed the direct mail industry as his partners. not competing with the industry it serves is a significant change in direction for the Postal Service.
more recently the uSPS became more aggressive in the collection and future use of our proprietary information. The new requirements for accurate by/for information, the redefinition of mail owner, and major investments in new technology have made it clear to the apologists, the deniers, and the sheep too afraid to raise their bleating voices before being passively led to slaughter that the uSPS was indeed coming after them, their businesses, and their customers.
The problem is that there are some significant unanswered questions. The first is why has there been no industry press coverage of this meeting? Why no outline of the discussions or at a minimum the new policy positions taken by the uSPS? maybe the reason the general membership (and our industry as a whole) has not been kept informed of the results of this landmark meeting is because the non-compete agreement with the Postal Service only applies to the big businesses present in the room. Which means once again, no one had the little guy’s back! ¡
The desire by postal bureaucrats to expand postal services vertically into providing data and mail preparation services is nothing
Todd Butler, Butler mailing Services, can be reached at 513.870.5060, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.butlermail.com.
may - june 2013 ¡ www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
‘Smartsourcing’ – the Cost vs. Control Decision Doesn’t Have to Be All or Nothing If your organization is like most, you’ve either outsourced document production, considered outsourcing or will ‘test the waters’ within the next three to five years. Typically, analysis is focused on cost reduction. The perceived requirement for losing control over document content is either accepted or evaluated against the financial benefits, which often convince a CFO of the worth even if over internal objections. However, in today’s world of outsourcing, sacrificing your ability to control the customer conversation should no longer be the tradeoff. The right provider will define an architecture tailored to your needs rather than make you fit their technology environment. Document strategies, whether in-house, outsourced or mixed mode, are a complex implementation, but the best will be strong in a few key areas. The ability to control document content, or the lack thereof, has long been an overriding factor in the cost benefit analysis of outsourcing. Today’s tier one print and mail providers have changed the game by deploying web-based content authoring and management solutions. Targeted to business users, these tools allow IT or the LOB to create Transpromo message campaigns, maintain correspondence/ notice templates, update regulatory information, create letters on demand and deploy interactive documents to front line staff. The best also allow web users to target content using pre-developed segmentation variables or create their own via conditioning wizards, upload graphics, incorporate variable data fields and tables and preview content within the target document framework. Once designed, we always recommend clients utilize custom workflow to obtain internal sign-off before promoting to production status. From an architecture perspective, making new content available to production should not require repackaging of the document template – key to minimizing testing and risk. For companies who require even greater control, we recommend a partner that provides in-house and outsourced solutions for all steps of the document process. While you may not be prepared to hand over template management today, you may well be in the future. Choosing a partner that can support both will allow for a ‘lift out’ of your document processes down the road – eliminating the need to migrate onto a new platform which opens you to significant expense and risk. If there is a downside to web access of content, it is on the supplier side. Opening the gate for you means they need to stand guard and ensure no unauthorized persons gain access. Assuming a supplier made the necessary investments in their security infrastructure can increase risk. Make it part of your evaluation and determine if they simply check the RFP box or culturally make data and document security a focus for all staff.
Once your documents are processed, it may need to be archived. Internal needs and processes will determine whether you should archive internally or elect to archive as a service. If selecting the latter, emphasize retrieval and access during your evaluation. We continue to be amazed at the number of organizations who do not have direct access to their own document archive. You should expect the ability for your CSRs to access customer documents through a web portal as well as to direct customers to their documents from your website. Finally, any evaluation of a document solution provider should incorporate a review of their electronic delivery strategy. There are multiple means to achieving your eDelivery adoption and expense reduction goals – presenting PDF at your website, calling an HTML document with integrated payment links on-demand or utilizing a full biller direct solution. Your supplier can help determine which is right for you based on your budget and needs around enrollment, notifications and payment options. Whichever method you choose, evaluate your supplier’s ability to assist in an adoption marketing campaign – leveraging the paper for eAdoption opportunities. Consider the rise of the ‘smart device’ on the value of distributing document content to consolidation touchpoints, such as customer’s mobile banking sites. The decision to outsource any or all of your document processes is complex. I’ve only touched on a few variables here. The right supplier will not just sell you their service but will take the time to learn your business and design a strategy that fits you – smartsourcing done right. For more information, please contact Brian Paulson, FIS Vice President of Output Solutions, directly at 414.815.4507 or at email@example.com.
FIS www.fisglobal.com firstname.lastname@example.org 414.815.4507
The Glossy Challenge Ink Evaluation Program Printing addresses and barcodes on glossy mail pieces using HP inkjet technology has always been a challenge for Direct Mailers. Like a tight rope walker, the machine operator must strike just the right balance between print resolution, conveyor speed, dry time, print quality and barcode scan-ability with two important goals in mind… containing costs and creating happy and loyal customers. No matter how this balance is achieved, compromises are inevitable.
Mail Green is confident Direct Mailers will find the solution to fulfill their requirements using one or more of the fast drying ink formulas for HP addressing and barcoding listed below: UltimatePost - A black dye based formula that delivers exceptionally crisp, dense, readable addresses and barcodes across a wide variety of coated substrates. OnyxPost – A dye based alternative that is similar in characteristic to UltimatePost, but prints slightly darker at lower resolution on glossy coated stock. OmniPost – A black dye/pigment blend that is quickly gaining a reputation as the ink to use on difficult coated substrates. This is the ink to try when you’ve tried everything else. AquaPost – A black pigment ink formulated specifically for difficult to print on aqueous coated surfaces. AquaPost FD – A faster drying black pigment formula that dries faster than the original AquaPost formula. AquaPost Ultra – Mail Green’s latest black pigment option for high quality output on challenging aqueous coated surfaces.
When it comes to HP ink formulas for glossy stock, the mailing industry has come to realize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each coating type exhibits unique characteristics that affect an ink’s surface adherence, dry time, density and overall print quality. To achieve the goal of customer satisfaction, experienced Production Managers know a small portfolio of fast-drying ink formulas is required, each designed for a specific type of coating.
Because it’s impossible to know which ink formula will perform best on a given coated stock, the need for a head-to-head comparison is essential. The Glossy Challenge Ink Evaluation Program takes the guesswork and up-front cost out of the process and helps to insure success. To request your evaluation samples contact Mail Green at (866) 760-6027. For more information go to www.gomailgreen.com.
The process of building an effective ink portfolio includes defining requirements, evaluating ink options, performing head-to-head ink comparisons, assessing cost vs. benefit and carefully selecting a narrow range of ink that best satisfy the mailer’s internal needs, and more importantly, the quality requirements of the customer. In order to facilitate the ink evaluation process, Mail Green has created “The Glossy Challenge Ink Evaluation Program”. The Glossy Challenge is a no-cost program that allows Direct Mailers to request sample ink formulas for testing and head-to-head comparison from Mail Green’s extensive line of HP ink formulas. By providing up-front consultation to help target the appropriate ink formula for a given coating type, Mail Green streamlines the selection process and ensures that time spent testing will be highly productive. All evaluation ink samples provided through the Glossy Challenge program are provided at no cost or obligation.
Mail Green www.gomailgreen.com 866.760.6027
Colordyne Technologies: A Profitable Partnership for Digital Color On Demand Are you still running most of your traditional print jobs, like letterhead and envelopes, on an offset press or color laser printer? If so, let Colordyne Technologies help you save time and printing costs with our high-speed, high resolution digital color printer - the CDT 1600 S: Sheet Fed Digital Color Printer, powered by Memjet technologies. Colordyne Technologies, LLC (CDT) is the leading OEM manufacturer of high-speed, high resolution digital color printing solutions. Our revolutionary line of products will change the way you look at color printing. Capable of providing full variable color (CMYKK), the CDT 1600 S is an affordable solution for a wide range of applications and industries. The Colordyne printer is so easy to use, anyone in your shop can run a job, saving you time and reducing your labor costs. The CDT 1600 S: Sheet Fed Digital Color Printer offers throughput speeds up to 12 inches per second and prints 3” to 8.5“ wide at 1600 x 1600 dpi. Backed by over 3000 patents, the CDT 1600 S will change the way you do business! C.J. Sudman, a Sir Speedy franchise owner in Statesville, North Carolina has this to say: “I would recommend a Colordyne printer to any one of our franchises. The labor and material savings on most print projects is incredible. It is safe to say, even with our limited volume, our Colordyne will pay for itself within a year or so. 80-90% of our traditional offset work, letterhead and envelope, is being moved to our Colordyne. Because of its simplicity, anyone in our shop can run the machine.” And, Shawn Pritchard of Sir Speedy in Dallas-Fort Worth Texas says, “I would definitely recommend this unit to anyone who inquires. It is very simple to operate and maintain. It is very dependable and consistent. The set-up is a couple of simple steps; side guide and roller pressure adjustment. It is very economical from a purchase and operating cost stand point. We have increased our profit margins approximately 50% due to the low cost per image. This has also allowed us to capture some jobs that we had to turn down in the past.” For low quantity, full color letterhead and envelopes, the CDT 1600 S can’t be beat. “Because this is an Inkjet process (rather than a heated toner), you do not have to have “special” window envelopes. You can run the standard window envelopes without the poly window melting. It also has no print pressure because it is an inkjet, so hard edges do not appear in the image area. Because there is no Fuser oil, you can run letterhead and the client will be able to run through a laser printer. You can also have a matching envelope. You don’t have to split them up on 2
different types of machines and have color consistency issues,” says Pritchard. Another application ideal for the CDT 1600 S is greeting card printing. Customers supply their own pre-cut card stock and your franchise prints custom cards. Think about the possibilities during the holidays to increase your profit margins! With almost no waste on set-up for the CDT 1600 S, this is just one more advantage your company can offer over competitors. Pritchard has already seen this application in his shop: “We can handle customers who supply cards they have already purchased. Due to the small feeder adjustment and almost no waste we are able to do those jobs and charge a very profitable rate. Christmas cards have been a great addition lately.” Providing ease-of-use, low print costs, and high-speed, high resolution quality, the CDT 1600 S is the ideal solution. Partner with Colordyne Technologies today and see your profits grow!
About Colordyne Technologies, LLC Colordyne Technologies, LLC is the leading OEM manufacturer of high-speed, high-resolution digital color print solutions, powered by Memjet technologies. Founded in 2009, with market-ready products introduced in 2011, the Colordyne management team has over 250 years of experience in the label and tag industry. Additionally, Colordyne leverages strategic partnerships with companies in the Auto ID (AIDC) industry. Colordyne Technologies maintains two offices in Scottsdale, AZ and Brookfield, WI. For more information, call us at 262.784.1932 or visit www.colordynetech.com. Press Contact: Michelle Thalacker, Marketing Communications Specialist email@example.com
Colordyne Technologies, LLC www.colordynetech.com firstname.lastname@example.org 262.784.1932
TOP 10 Items to Consider when Selecting a Mailing System
By Adam Lewenberg
With so many factors to take into account, hereâ€™s how to be sure youâ€™re on the right path.
veryone has to have one claim to fame in life. mine is that I am the (self-proclaimed) top expert on mailing systems in the united States. I have not been able to tell anyone about this until now because there was never the right time or place. you try to bring this up to someone at a party and watch them suddenly need to “use the restroom.” If you are reading this article it is because you are actually interested in mailing equipment or are looking to replace a system, so hopefully my background and opinions can be helpful. The reason that I can make this claim is that I run the only mail audit and recovery firm in the uS (that we have found) and focus solely on helping the largest companies to procure mailing equipment. Prior to starting my firm, I worked for one of the largest vendors directly helping over 3,000 entities. my goal here is to give you the background needed to know what to look for and the questions to ask when selecting the right mailing system for your organization. It is written without any vendor affiliations and is designed to give you an unbiased view of your options. This guide will explain the 10 core questions that should go into your decision for the optimal system.
Recommended Mail Volumes — What type of system do you need based on your current and projected mail volumes?
• Over Buying — If your volumes are much lower than those recommended, you could be paying more for a machine than you need. • Productivity — all units are designed to process a specific mail volume efficiently. If volumes are too high, it may not be productive to tie up labor with a slower system. If volumes are too low, the unit may be too complex for the needs of the application. It is important to note that the recommended mail volumes and descriptions on the table below are defined by Postal advocate Inc. and not by the manufacturers.
Machine Speed — How fast do you need the system to process the mail to make it efficient?
This is the manufacturer’s rated speed of the unit and shows how many envelopes can be processed in one minute. no one runs a machine at the manufacturer’s rated speed except professional operators who are constantly feeding same-sized material without needing to start and stop. you should expect speeds of 25-50% less.
Envelope Feeding and Stacking — How do you need the mail fed into and out of the system?
mailing equipment is designed for specific usage levels. This is important for three reasons: • Service — The performance of the unit could decrease if the machine is used far above these recommended volumes.
The way the machine feeds mail into the unit is one of the most important aspects because it determines the level of equipment and its ease of use. • Hand Feed — Push in and Pull Out – most basic lowvolume units – Speed range 15-25 per minute MAILIng SySTEM TyPE • Hand Feed — Push from the Mid High Low left and the machine feeds it through the unit. Low- and Typical Monthly Postage Use <$500 $500-5,000 >$5,000 mid- volume units. Speed range Equipment Speed 15-45 50-180 70-310 25-65 per minute. Letters/min Letters/min Letters/min • Automatic Feed — This means Feeding Hand Feed Hand or auto Feed auto Feed that you can put a pile of mail Sealing Some models Included Included onto the stacker and the machine will pull them into the unit. These Meter Tapes For Oversized Items Strip Tape Sheet Strip Tape Strip Tape or Roll units are much easier and faster Dispenser Tape Dispenser (Fed like an envelope) than Hand Feed and are designed Weighing (External Scale) 2-10LB 2-149LB 2-149LB to process higher volumes. The Weighing (Internal Scale) n/a Higher end models Optional differentiator of automatic feed Postal Accounting Summary Summary or Summary or systems is how they work. Lower Info only Transaction Level Transaction Level volume units will require the operator use side guides to set Simple meter Optional CustomAdditional Printing Capability Simple meter the mail, where high volume units ized return ads and ads and address and endorsements endorsements will have automatic alignment. Graphics Printing automatic alignment is especially helpful when you have an internal Space Requirements - LxWxH < 29”x18”x13” 30”x15”x12”58”x23”x17”scale system because it lets you 80”x25”x24” 104”x23”x33” run different size and weight letTypical Supply Costs - Ink and Ink - $.01-.06, Ink - $.003-.03, Ink - $.003-.005, ters and flats together. most midTape $.05-.13 Tape $.04-.08 Tape $.01-.04 Tape (Per Impression) and high-volume automatic feed Typical Monthly Lease Price $25-125 $125-500 >$500 systems have this option. www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com ¡ may - june 2013
• Drop Stacker — most common exit option for low- to mid-volume applications. • Power Stacker — exit option for high volume applications. These stackers typically have a conveyor and a pressure wheel (to improve sealing) and can hold up to 500 finished mail pieces before needing to be emptied.
Envelope Sealing — Do I need the system to seal envelopes and how are they to be prepared prior to processing?
It is very time consuming to seal envelopes manually, not to mention your tongue can get sore. I have heard (but cannot verify) that each envelope is 1-17 calories as well. all mailing systems in the mid and high category will have sealing come standard and it is an option on many in the low bucket. The main questions with sealing systems are how the mail needs to be prepared prior to being sealed. This is especially important with automatic feed systems that process large quantities. • Flaps Closed Sealing - The flaps are down just like they came in the box of envelopes. The system will open the piece slightly and have it run under its brush/sponge to wet the piece. Because it is trying to seal every piece, it is important to check that you do not have envelopes that are already sealed because they could rip or get jammed. Pieces sealed prior to processing should be run together with the sealer turned off. • Flaps Open Sealing - Flaps open means that the envelope’s flaps are stacked on top of each other. This option is only available with high-volume automatic feed machines and is becoming much less popular. The benefit of this type of sealing system is you can run sealed and unsealed mail together. • Flaps Open and Closed Sealing - Some high-volume automatic feed mailing systems can seal envelopes with the flaps open or closed. This is great flexibility for companies with different types of mail coming down from multiple departments.
Meter Tapes — Are there a lot of pieces that are too big to fit into the system and will require meter tapes?
There are frequent times when you will need to run mail or packages that are too thick to fit into the machine. all vendors provide meter tapes that can be run through the unit. as a rule of thumb, the bigger the unit, the less expensive the tapes become because they are bought in higher quantities. • Strip Tape Sheets — Low-volume mailing systems will use tape sheets that are run through the machine like an envelope. These tape sheets have two to four places to print postage. These tapes are self-adhesive and easy to apply. Cost per tape (per imprint): $.05-.13 • Strip Tape Dispenser — most mid- and some high-volume units will have a separate tape dispenser where they
may - june 2013 ¡ www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
can be created at the touch of a button. These tapes come two to a strip that is perforated in the middle and can be rerun again on the other side. Strip tapes are self-adhesive and easy to apply. Cost per tape (per imprint): $.06-.08 • Roll Tape - many mid/high volume automatic feed mailing systems will have a roll tape dispenser that will cut the tapes to the proper size. This is easier than needing to load tape strips into a dispenser and rerun the back sides to maximize their use. Self-adhesive cost per tape (per imprint): $.02-.04. Some high-volume units will have an option for gummed back tape that comes out wet, and the cost per tape is about $.01.
Weighing — How are you going to weigh and rate different sized pieces?
most mailing systems have a scale that is connected in some way. They make it easy to calculate the right amount of postage and will have most uSPS rates. • 2-10 LB External Scale — These are the most common scale sizes. many are built right onto the mailing system for space savings and simplicity. • 15-149 LB External Scale — These are for entities that have some package weighing requirements. • Optional Internal Scale —This is a great option for entities that do a lot of mixed weight mail. The different size and weight pieces can be placed on the feeder and the unit will pull them in, assess their size (to determine if they are a letter or flat), weigh, rate, seal, and meter the piece in one operation. This is much faster and more accurate than weighing and rating each piece. This option is available on many automatic feed mailing systems.
Postal Accounting — Do you need to track mail by department or cost center?
many entities need to track their postage expense so it can be charged back to departments or cost centers. This means they need to know how much each group is spending so they can bill them back later. Here are specific accounting questions: • How many accounts do you need to track? • Are you only looking for a month end summary? • Or do you need the details of every transaction? • How do you need to access the data? * From the screen of the mailing system or printed on a meter tape? * With a connected printer? * Having the machine connected to a PC or laptop? * accessed from the vendor's website?
Additional Printing Capability — What else would I like the system to print?
mailing systems have been able to do basic advertisement plates and inscriptions as long as I have been in the industry. The dif-
ference now is that with modern ink jet printing and new color capabilities, there is a lot more that can be printed at a much higher quality to help promote your message. It used to be that to customize any print, you needed to order plates or download from the vendor. Now higher end systems will allow you to create content and download it to your unit without the vendor charges and delays. Here are the typical items that can be printed: • Meter Advertisement • Postal Inscription • Return Address • QR Code or Custom Graphic
Space Requirements — Can the system fit in my space?
When deciding on a mailing system, it is imperative to check your space requirements prior to ordering.
Investment/Price — What is the total amount you will pay? I left this one for last because there are several items you need to look at regarding the price of the unit.
• Buy vs. Lease? – Most entities will lease their mailing equipment because all of the services are included in one
payment. I typically recommend this for low- and mid-volume units, but high- volume should consider both options. • What is included? Make sure to know the pricing on the following and if they are included on the lease: Equipment Meter Rental Meter Resets Postage Advances Maintenance Scale Rate Changes • What is the cost of supplies? This is typically meter ink and tape but could also include print head replacement. • What are the added fees and terms? You should look at the cost for late charges, finance fees, loyalty plans and vendor replacement insurance because they can add up if you are not paying attention to them. I hope these 10 questions make it easy for you the next time you need to order/renew mailing equipment for your organization. The key is to know the right questions to ask to get a system that fits your needs at the lowest cost of ownership. Adam Lewenberg, CMDSS, is President of Postal Advocate Inc. with over 19 years of experience in the mail industry. Their team’s mission is to help entities with large numbers of locations reduce mail related expenses, recover lost postage funds, and make their spends easy to manage. They can be reached at 888.977.MAIL (6245) or email@example.com.
thinGS to Know BY ChriS GileS
Before YoU SAY no to
Color AGAin millions of years of evolution have hardwired our brains to have a predisposition, an attraction, an eye, so to speak, for color. every day we react to colors without even thinking about it: the red stoplight at the junction, the green recycle symbol on the plastic water bottle, the yellow splash of the “on sale” offer. as marketers, we know well that color does make a real difference to the perception of a piece of collateral. However the issue of cost remains very real for all of us. In the past, volume was king. The higher your volume and the fewer colors, the lower your piece cost. In the past, color print processes involved high setup cost before you could even start printing, costs that were usually linked to the number of colors used. as the world continually changes, printing has changed radically over the last 30 years and digital printing has enabled cost-effective low volume print runs — but that’s not all. To stay relevant, commercial printers and print service providers need to become a trusted adviser on when, where, and how to use color for the best effect and result. many are beginning to do just that, which
may - june 2013 ¡ www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
is a good thing. marketers need that help to best understand the cost implications — and potential — of their “color desires.”
Which color is the right color? Color matching has long been the Holy Grail for digital printing. Today it is broadly accepted that this challenge has been overcome. even the humble office printer can provide reasonable color matching without a lot of effort. Offset printing was once considered the only choice for true color matching, but today’s software can manipulate color palettes and adjust to the specific output device and media substrate, real-time. Some printing devices even incorporate image capture systems that monitor the printing process and make adjustments mid-stream to provide the most consistent output possible.
less Can be more. The use of highlight or accent color is a very cost-effective way of using color. This is where only certain areas of a document are in color, the color palette is usually limited, and the effects can sometimes produce better results simply by providing a less cluttered piece. Today some printer fleet service providers will offer pricing for “accent color” cost per page at the same rate as black printing, making color a zero-cost option.
We need higher resolution — or do We? When talking camera image or printer, we love to chase resolution. more is better, right? It’s true that the quality of a 3m image printed at 4”x6” or 24”x36” will be very different, but it’s also true that 20/20 vision only asks for 876 ppi/dpi at four inches. When considering resolution, you need to think about how the printed output will be used; lower resolution may prove better in some applications. In the case of ink jet printing, some lower resolutions may provide richer colors as the drop sizes are larger. another consideration is subject. Our minds tend to be very critical of images of faces, and typically these types of images are perceived as better with higher resolution printing.
make it personal, to make it get notiCed. a sometimes overlooked consequence of digital printing is the ability to make every piece unique. Variable Data Printing allows us to tailor our message to the individual recipient; it allows us to exploit the timing and relevance of our offer to the extreme. Color is often overlooked in VDP, but should be considered a dimension that can be used to enhance the piece. a simple change can have a real impact. Consider for a moment the reminder from the car dealer that your service is due. There is a picture of your model of car; imagine if the picture was the actual color of the car you have; it just makes the whole conversation more personal.
ConsistenCy of Color helps make the ConneCtion faster. every time we reach out to our clients or prospects we need to consider how it fits with all elements of our communication reaching them. Color plays an important role in holding these channels together. Brand colors, consistent color palettes and application of themes all help to link these messages together to enable a dialog. Color can provide consistency across media platforms and increase engagement. In its simplest form, it may be using the same offer graphic on a printed statement and an email confirmation. In a more advanced application, it could be printing an offer directly on a transactional statement or invoice, and then putting the same offer on the outside of the envelope that is used to mail the statement. now the recipient will see the offer before they even open the envelope, and when they do open it, the colors will provide a visual link that helps drive awareness. The best part, you had to send the statement anyway. The future is both bright and colorful; as printing technology advances further we see quality going up and cost coming down. another consequence is accessibility, more and more devices are offering better color print capability at lower costs. Office printers now offer full processed color with color matching. many now are capable of handling many media types, from paper and envelopes right though to magnetic media and plastic stock. even mail centers now have mailing systems that print color directly on the envelopes at the same time as they print postage. We have access to a broad range of output devices, and how we leverage color directly impacts client engagement. you must take into consideration both the physical and digital channels together because the strength of linkage between them directly affects the success of a campaign. We often consider the offer, the words, and the recipient when we construct these campaigns — but sometimes we forget the simple things like the colors we use and how we use them. Having a clearly defined methodology for the use of color is critical for every business; providing clarity for when, where and how color is used will not only help manage the cost of delivering color content, but will also increase effectiveness, improve efficiency, and build client engagement. Chris Giles is Vice President, Core mailing, Solutions and Competitive marketing, Pitney Bowes Inc
www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com ¡ may - june 2013
Ways to Tackle New Tasks in Mail Operations 28
may - june 2013 ¡ www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
Think about your company mail center operations in terms of football strategy, with the object of delivering the ball, or mail, to the goal post or, in our case, to the right addressee as economically as possible. It’s not easy. The field is fraught with obstacles: invalid addresses, improper mail sorting, rising postal costs, changing regulations, and more — all of which translate into higher costs that hit the bottom line of the ledger sheet. The good news is that today’s sophisticated technology and solutions can ease the pain of putting together a successful mail center game plan. Consider these power plays designed to tackle a variety of mail center issues.
EvaluatE addrEss ClEansing sErviCEs The u.S. Postal Service (uSPS) is keenly aware of the problems resulting from poor address quality and has created a host of services — such as CaSS (Coding accuracy Support System), aCS (address Change Service), etc. — to help companies expedite mail handling by ensuring that
advanced address quality and cleansing software on the market enables mailers to be notified in real time of invalid addresses. a solution utilizing this software has the ability to suppress the undeliverable pieces of mail, print them as originally addressed, or print them with an updated address. address cleansing can translate into huge savings for high-volume mailers leveraging first-class delivery. Imagine a mailer with 200,000 addresses in its database. not all the addresses will be accurate at any given point in time. a percentage will be returned, wasting time and money. not only will extra postage be required for resending the piece of mail, but somebody will have to open the mailpiece and figure out what to do with it. In another scenario of a lack of address quality assurance, a mailer could incur penalties for failing to deliver a valuable piece of correspondence — tax notices and insurance termination notices, for example.
ExplorE postal optimization solutions and sErvicEs Postal optimization is all about minimizing postage expense. The uSPS offers postage discounts to mailers who produce mailings that conform to uSPS requirements for address accuracy, physical mail preparation, and are presented with valid, accurate documentation. Third-party software, combined with CaSS, is one option for sorting the pieces into a ZIP Code-ordered mailing that organizes the mail into trays and pallets, and generates the accompanying physical and electronic documentation necessary for the uSPS to automate the handling of the mailing. The steepest uSPS discounts are based on volumes of mailpieces going to individual ZIP Codes. Typically, print and mail operations receive output files from disparate sources, created independently, without regard to production efficiencies. Indexing the individual mailpieces out of those files and intelligently recombining them into larger and/or more efficient jobs for production and mailing are made more manageable with postal optimization services. The ability to selectively pool more mailpieces into a single job that can be run through the thirdparty sort software significantly increases the opportunity to achieve the ZIP Code densities that yield the optimal savings.
By Theresa Lang postal addresses are correct. Integrating these uSPS offerings into a mail center operation is challenging, and many mailers are looking to third-party vendors to help them establish new systems and processes to take their operations to the next level as cost-effectively and efficiently as possible. as an example, the uSPS requires mailers taking automation discounts on postage to adhere to its CaSS certification program. CaSS products evaluate if addresses are valid and deliverable by using sophisticated matching algorithms to look up each address in uSPS address libraries. When found, standardized values and small corrections can be returned from the uSPS in order to enhance the quality and deliverability of the address.
So what does this mean for mailers? Well, here’s an example: For the average mailer, a one-ounce, first-class letter requires 46 cents worth of postage. Fully discounted by tapping into the uSPS’ discount offerings, the rate drops to 36 cents. If a mailer sends out six million statements a month at the rate of 36 cents versus 46 cents, that mailer has the opportunity to save $600,000. even for a mailer getting discounts from a Presort Vendor, the savings opportunity would still be significant. However, should an organization submit mail to the uSPS with poor address quality or mail that does not conform to automation standards,
the uSPS can rescind the sender’s discount privileges. Postal optimization solutions should provide mailers with optimal savings, and the third party that implements the solutions should provide on-going support to ensure that the mailer stays compliant and doesn’t lose those savings. www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com ¡ may - june 2013
STAY IN THE KNOW The USPS is making more and more mailpiece postal delivery information available electronically to mailers who register with USPS and subscribe to receive the information. However, updates can slip through the cracks. How can mail center managers stay on top of updates?
month. Keeping in mind the overall monthly cost of mailing, there is a serious need for mailers to update their address lists real time.
Tracking-identifier solutions that enable the USPS to provide feedback can be a feature in an Intelligent Mail Bar Code (IMb) implementation. This feature can capture key mailpiece characteristics that identify the specific correspondence to a particular recipient, and correlate the mailer’s identity of the mailpiece to the USPS’s identity of the mailpiece.
Now, let’s consider a mailer using First Class mail to reach an important audience. Perhaps these mailers have more range of affordability than the Standard Mail example, but what do they do with the information once the tools have done their job? In an ideal situation, the result of the tool(s) automatically feeds the up-line application or database. Complications can arise the next month, however, when another update is identified from a different source or when the upstream application is not processing returned mail.
Similar features can include the set up and function to handle the receipt and processing of the USPS feedback on behalf of the mailer. When the feedback is received, the solution can correlate it to the particular mailpiece identity as the mailer knows it to be. Features of such solutions can include:
Costs are a big factor in this case. During the National Postal Forum, the consensus was that the total cost of an undeliverable mailpiece is approximately $3, factoring in the cost of preparation, print, handling, postage and disposition. At $3 per returned mailpiece, the savings potential at companies doing large mailings is enormous.
• Delivery and Addressee Tracking – a mailpiece leaves a mailer’s
One solution that could help slash that cost is identifying a Centralized Address Resolution function within the mailing operation. Monitors could be put in place to identify changes, confirm accuracy, and be the final arbiter on acceptance. Here are four areas to consider:
premises and is turned over to the USPS for delivery. The post office scans the barcode through the envelope window as the piece moves through the USPS network, and a variety of information is reported back to the mailer: time and place piece was scanned, out for delivery, move-update on file, house burned down, etc. Such tracking-identifier solutions can correlate the feedback to the specific recipient and correspondence sent, so that the mailer will receive sender-specific information, such as confirmation of delivery or new address of someone who has moved. • Undeliverable Mail — Because an “undeliverable” notice can be correlated to a particular mailpiece, arrangements can be made for the USPS to securely destroy the mailpiece, thus eliminating the need to have it returned and manually processed. • Reply Mail Tracking — When mailers include a reply coupon or envelope with a piece of correspondence, tracking-identifier solutions can notify the mailer when that reply or remittance envelope has been placed in the mail because its IMb has been scanned and included in the automatic feedback. • The timely notification that reply or remit responses have been mailed can be of critical benefit to mailers in a number of ways. For example, when a “last notice before termination of service” is sent to an individual, tracking-identifier solutions, through an alert by USPS, can advise the customer that the recipient has mailed the response envelope, and the termination of service can be avoided. Another example would be when service turnaround time is important. If a Netflix customer, for instance, returns a DVD, Netflix will receive a feed from USPS stating the item has been mailed. Netflix can send out the next DVD in queue immediately, speeding up turnaround time.
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Appoint single point of ownership for USPS address management Utilize ACS/UAA address results from one application to all applications Monitor upstream applications on address change quality Centralize and reduce return mail processing
A diagram is useful in understanding the various aspects of the address resolution process. In Figure 1, Address Resolution represents the central function. All other functions exist to some level within every mailer. The question is, do the mailers use that function to drive control over Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and address lists?
DETERMINE WHEN TO USE STANDARD VS. FIRST-CLASS MAIL Many direct mailers using Standard Mail take the “spray-and-pray” approach, which is to say that the mailer may tolerate mail not necessarily reaching the intended target — as long as somebody in the organization or the household receives it. Although accuracy is preferred, the mailing database is limited to what the mailer can effectively afford, and precise accuracy is not always worth the extra cost. Even if the database were 100% accurate at the time a print run was generated, approximately 4.5% (a figure mentioned at National Postal Forum 2013) will go through a change of address, and another two percent will have incorrect forwarding information. So over time, the address list will constantly degrade, at approximately one percent per 30
MAY - JUNE 2013 ¡ www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com
Figure 1 It’s important to note that solutions mentioned in this article are not entirely dependent on in-house skills and tools. Plenty of third-party providers are willing to assist mailers in implementing time- and costsavings solutions to help them score a touchdown in the new tasks that await them on the field of mail center operations. Theresa Lang is vice president of solutions and services, Ricoh.