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JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2016 www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com

SET YOUR MAIL OPERATION APART WITH THESE BEST PRACTICES PAGE 22

IMPACTS

OF THE RECENT USPS RATE INCREASE PAGE 18

HOW MUCH

DOES ADDRESS QUALITY COST YOU… REALLY? PAGE 24

THE NEXT

STEP IN MAILING AUTOMATION: OPTIMIZING YOUR WORKFLOWS PAGE 28


TABLE OF CONTENTS

JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2016 | VOLUME 29 ISSUE 1

FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS/COLUMNS 05

Editor's Note

Don't Just Survive... Thrive! By Amanda Armendariz

06

Real Life Management

Conflict: A Potential Blessing in Disguise By Wes Friesen

08

18

09

We all know by now that the “average” rate increase is anything but, depending on what you’re mailing. By Adam Lewenberg

10

These first-class practices can put your mail center ahead of the pack. By Mark Fallon

24

13

The Next Step in Mailing Automation

New processes and innovations can make your operation run more smoothly. By Nick Benkovich

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Mail & Technology Merge

Is There A Place In The Digital World For Mail? By Vincent DeAngelis

14

Direct Mail Evolution

6 Ways for Print Businesses to Increase Revenue By Joy Gendusa

16

28

Software Byte

Turning Your Shipping Department into a Profit Center By Peter Christy

Do You Know How Much Address Quality Costs… Really? Mailers know address quality is important, but determining how much bad addresses can cost them is a little harder to do. By Paula Stoskopf

The Trenches

How to Get Your Next Job in the Document Business By Mike Porter

12

22

Postal Affairs

6 Ways to Save Postage in 2016 By Kim Mauch

How Will the 2016 USPS Price Increase Impact Your Budget?

How Do You Measure Up?

Direct Marketing 101

3 Steps to Track and Improve Your Cross Media Campaigns By John Foley Jr.

Guest Column

3-4-1: A Win for All By Harry Stephens


EDITOR'S NOTE

VOLUME 29, ISSUE 1 MAGAZINE STAFF Publisher Ken Waddell Editor Amanda Armendariz amanda.c@rbpub.com Contributing Writers Nick Benkovich, Peter Christy, Vincent DeAngelis, Mark Fallon, John Foley, Jr., Wes Friesen, Joy Gendusa, Adam Lewenberg, Kim Mauch, Mike Porter, Paula Stoskopf Audience Development Manager Rachel Chapman rachel@rbpub.com Advertising 608-442-5064 Ken Waddell ken.w@rbpub.com Design Kelli Cooke RB Publishing Inc. 2901 International Lane Madison WI 53704-3128 Tel: 608.241.8777 Fax: 608.241.8666 Email: rbpub@rbpub.com SUBSCIRBE Subscribe online at www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com. 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 Call 608.241.8777 Fax 608.241.8666 E-mail rachel@rbpub.com Online at www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com. REPRINT SALES ReprintPro 949.702.5390 www.ReprintPros.com All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2016 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 29 Issue 1] 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.

DON’T JUST SURVIVE… THRIVE! WITH AMANDA ARMENDARIZ We’ve all heard the jokes about “snail mail” being just that; so slow and pokey that it’s of no use to anyone. It’s a dying medium that will be obsolete in a few years, right? Wrong! I know I touch on this topic rather frequently in my editor’s note, but that’s because I hear these misconceptions so often that it’s become my personal mission (at least during the work day; don’t worry, I’m not pontificating about this to fellow Girl Scout parents at our weekly meetings) to stand up for the hardcopy mail piece and proclaim that not only is mail not dead, it will not only survive the coming years and increasing digitalization of the world, but it will actually thrive. How do I know this? Now, granted, I don’t have a crystal ball that I can utilize, but discussions with industry insiders and experts are much more optimistic than the non-mailing world would have you believe. Yes, digital communication is real, and obviously here to stay. And that’s not a bad thing. Digital communication can be a very effective method of customer engagement, especially given its immediacy. But that doesn’t mean that it needs to replace hardcopy mail; far from it. Instead the two can complement each other very nicely. Joy Gendusa touches on this very eloquently in her column on page 14, in which she discusses six ways that print businesses can boost their revenue. Yes, these tactics involve incorporating electronic communications, but nowhere is it even hinted that print mail must fade into the background. Instead these two mediums work together to bolster the effectiveness of both electronic and hard copy communications. Vincent DeAngelis, who formerly authored our Intro to International Mail column, is now providing a new column for us with (in my opinion) the perfect title: Mail & Technology Merge (check it out on page 13). Because, after all, isn’t that the point? That these two mediums, each with their strengths and weaknesses, merge together to create the ultimate customer communications vehicle. That’s what mail (in whatever format) is all about, and will ultimately allow us to not only survive, but thrive. As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology.

POSTMASTER Send address changes to: Mailing Systems Technology PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098

www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2016

5


REAL LIFE MANAGEMENT

By Wes Friesen

CONFLICT: A POTENTIAL BLESSING IN DISGUISE

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onflict is an inevitable part of human relationships and exists in every organization and team. The good news is conflict handled well can be healthy and lead to greater successes. Bad news is that conflict handled poorly can result in employee dissatisfaction, lower productivity, poor customer service, increased employee absenteeism and turnover, increased stress and, in the worst case, litigation based on claims of harassment or hostile work environment. Let's start with a discussion of when conflict can be healthy. Healthy conflict occurs when there is a work environment where people can voice disagreements and have candid conversations about the important issues at hand. A healthy exchange of ideas and different viewpoints can result in sharper analysis, more creativity and wellcrafted initiatives moving forward. Steve Goodier speaks to the value of different perspectives when he said, “We don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note. Only notes that are different can harmonize. The same is true with people.” The key is to disagree without being disagreeable, and once decisions are made to have everybody support them. Since there is potential for conflict to bring benefits when handled well, let's look at some keys to resolving conflict.

Keys to Resolving Conflict Well Here are some guidelines to resolving conflicts and gaining some benefits when they arise: 1. View Conflict as an Opportunity. Leadership guru Warren Bennis cuts to the chase by saying, "Leaders do not avoid, repress, or deny conflict, but rather see it as an opportunity." Healthy conflict resolution can improve the quality of our processes, initiatives and relationships — and make our teams stronger.

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“We can work it out. Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting my friends.” —John Lennon & Paul McCartney

2. Pick Your Battles. Some conflicts are minor and will resolve themselves without our intervention. Sometimes the best action we can take is no action. 3. Hit Conflict Head On. If a conflict is important enough to be addressed, don't avoid it but take it on and drive to a peaceful resolution. Unresolved conflicts can escalate and become harder to resolve as time drags on — so we are wise to resolve sooner versus later. 4. Stay Calm. Conflicts escalate when we get angry. And we tend to stop listening to understand as we get angry. To remain calm it's helpful to look at the big picture and realize that most disputes eventually get resolved and very few have long-lasting consequences. 5. Listen to Understand. One of Stephen Covey's 7 Rules of Highly Effective people is to "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." Dean Rusk counseled, "One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears — by listening to them." By active listening we dignify people and give them a chance to fully share their perspectives. We also build the foundation that can lead to acceptable resolutions.

6. Ask Good Questions and Gather Information. Few conflict situations are clear cut, so we need to ask good questions and gather information before jumping to conclusions. Good questions focus on asking what happened and soliciting relevant information. Open-ended questions such as, "Can you tell me what happened?" can draw out useful information in a non-judgmental manner. 7. Attack the Problem, not the Person. Personal attacks backfire as Abigail Van Buren emphasized when she said, "people who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes." Remember the goal is to resolve the conflict and underlying problems, not to punish the people who are involved in the conflict. 8. Identify Points of Agreement and Disagreement. Henry Ford observed: "If there is any secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as your own." 9. Look for the Win-Win. Edwards Deming encouraged us to: "Adopt a new philosophy of cooperation (win-win) in which everybody wins." Greg Anderson explains "The Law of Win/Win says ‘Let's not do it your way or my way; let's do it the best way.’"


10. Be Creative. Try brainstorming and thinking outside the box to find creative resolutions. Being creative with resolutions takes longer, but can yield a true win-win solution. 11. Focus on the Future, not the Past. The secret to conflict resolution is to treat it like problem solving and focus on what can be done to resolve the immediate problem at hand. Once that is done, look at the past to analyze what went wrong and then identify improvements so that future results meet expectations. 12. Celebrate Agreement. Reaching mutual agreement on what we will do to resolve the conflict is often stressful and hard work! Reaching agreement is also valu-

able and worth taking the time to celebrate — which may as simple as a hand shake, fist bump or high five. 13. Develop a Resolution Plan. Once we have mutually agreed upon the resolution to the conflict we need to document a resolution plan so there are clear actions steps and assignment of responsibilities. Having a plan will increase the probability of the resolution being implemented as agreed upon. 14. Execute the Plan and Follow-Through. Plans by themselves have little or no value unless they are executed. This is an extremely important step that we sometimes fall short. We need to diligently "plan the work then work the

plan" as my former boss and mentor Bruce Carpenter emphasized. 15. Reflect and Derive Lessons Learned. After the resolution plan is executed and the dust settles there is great value in taking time to reflect and identify lessons learned. Much of the value that comes from conflicts is the afterthe-fact reflection and identification of lessons learned that can help us be better managers and improve the success of our teams in the future. Most of us don't like when conflict happens, but when it does let's look for the hidden blessings and use as an opportunity to make ourselves and our teams stronger for the future! ž

Wes Friesen, MBA, CMDSM, MDC, EMCM, MCOM, CCE, CBA, CBF, ICP, CCM, CMA, CM, CFM, APP, PHR manages multiple departments for a utility based in the Northwest. Wes also teaches university classes and is a featured speaker at national Conferences like MAILCOM, National Postal Forum, NACUMS, and other regional and local events. Check out his personal web-site for free information (www.wesfriesen.com). He can be contacted at pchefdebi@comcast.net.

STOP BY BOOTH 609 AT THE NATIONAL POSTAL FORUM

www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2016

7


DIRECT MARKETING 101

By John Foley, Jr.

3 STEPS TO TRACK AND IMPROVE YOUR CROSS MEDIA CAMPAIGNS

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hen increasing the success of your mailing company’s marketing efforts, cross media marketing has proven to be a useful tool. Everyone is looking to increase the ROI that they receive from the things they create and distribute — including emails, landing pages, mobile campaigns, mailers, flyers, and more. By integrating those pieces with other offers and medias, you certainly may increase the impact that the piece has on its target audience. Well, once you've executed a campaign that has utilized a cross-media approach, you cannot simply stop. Rather, by spending time analyzing the results, you will be better equipped to develop and execute a campaign that will perform better than your previous ones. Here are three metrics that may prove beneficial during the analysis process: 1. Response Timing When did your target audience access or respond to your campaigns? Thanks to the increasing popularity of devices such as smartphones and tablets, people truly can respond to your marketing efforts at whatever time is convenient for them. They can type in their pURL at 6am while eating breakfast, and they scan their personalized QR code before falling asleep at night. They may even choose to read your eNewsletter on the weekend. Marketers may reap benefits by researching and understanding when their customers and prospects are consuming information. Are we pushing out content when it's con-

venient for us, or when it's convenient for our customers? Sure, we can't be awake and available at every hour throughout the day. But, if a big percentage of our prospects are looking for help and more information while we are not working, we may need to find a way to better serve them. 2. Conversions Who viewed the landing page but did not submit the form with their information? Yes, sales reps want hot leads! They want people that responded to your campaign, that filled out the form, and that requested help ASAP. While that group of people should certainly be given the attention that they deserve, we may reap benefits by looking at another group of folks too. Take the time to look at who visited your landing page, but did not submit their entry on the response form. Those people have already displayed some kind of interest in your offer — either they typed in a URL, clicked a link, scanned a QR code, or took some other sort of action. If you can find a way to target those people in a special fashion the next time, you may be able to push them further through the funnel.

someone is interested in. By tracking what links people clicked on in your emails and landing pages, as well as what answers they provided on your response forms, you may be able to truly deliver one-to-one marketing materials that appeal directly to them. These three metrics are all crucial to understanding and evaluating the success of your cross media marketing campaigns so you can improve upon them moving forward. ¾

This will be John’s last column for Mailing Systems Technology. We thank him for the many contributions he has given us, and wish him all the best!

3. Popular Content Companies that execute cross-media campaigns with personalized URLs may fall into the path of simply personalizing the most basic of information — first name and perhaps company. But, with technology today, it's easier than ever to learn and understand what

John Foley, Jr. is the CEO of interlinkONE. John and his team provide an award winning distributed marketing software, ilinkONEpro, and have worked within the printing and mailing industry for nearly 20 years, targeting their software and services to this changing, dynamic space. Among other things, their software solution allows for the creation and execution of personalized marketing campaigns, including direct mail, email blasts, and personalized URLs (pURLs). Learn more about John at www.JohnFoleyJr.com and interlinkONE at www.interlinkONE.com

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POSTAL AFFAIRS

By Kim Mauch

6 WAYS TO SAVE POSTAGE IN 2016

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he Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved the USPS 2016 promotions calendar in mid-December, which will give mailers five ways to achieve postal discounts next year. These discounts will be offered for extended periods next year, giving mailers more ways to save than ever before. And an extra bonus — barring congressional action, the exigent rate surcharge will be rolling off early in the year, giving your postage budget some much-needed breathing room. Let’s take a look at the different programs you can take advantage of next year.

Emerging and Advanced Technology/ Video in Print Available for First-Class and Standard Mailings, this promotion will give mailers a two percent discount for including technology like enhanced Augmented Reality, Beacon connectivity and Video in Print. Video screen technology is more affordable than ever, which gives an interesting digital aspect to a prospective mail piece. While this incentive is geared toward the bleeding edge marketer, it allows mailers to experiment with new technologies and compare the responses versus more traditional mail pieces. This promotion will run from March through August.

Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mail Piece Engagement Available for Standard Mail only, this promotion offers a two percent discount for mailings that include specialty ink, paper, or other interactive elements such as smells or tastes. Many of these design elements have been used regularly in successful mailings, but this gives new visibility to techniques like

Not much has changed for the Earned Value promotion this year. If you use Business Reply Mail or Courtesy Reply Mail, you can get a $0.02 credit for each BRM/CRM piece sent to you throughout the promotion period. “scratch and smell” stickers and heat-sensitive ink. Textured paper, infinite folds and other interactive designs will be considered as well for this new program. This promotion will also run from March through August.

Earned Value Promotion Not much has changed for the Earned Value promotion this year. If you use Business Reply Mail or Courtesy Reply Mail, you can get a $0.02 credit for each BRM/CRM piece sent to you throughout the promotion period. If you participated in this program in 2015, you’ll get an extra cent credit for each BRM/CRM piece over your 2015 volume. This promotion will run from April to June, and credits must be used by September 15.

Personalized Color Transpromo This First-Class Mail only promotion builds on last year’s Color Transpromo option by requiring that the color promotion must be personalized to the recipient, either by using their contact information, interaction history, or other personal information to highlight the offer or information. Use this promotion to get two percent off your mailing’s postage from July through December.

Mobile Shopping The 2016 Mobile promotion has an interesting spin: it includes the ability to link to a social media site with the ability to purchase a product. Like last year, the mail piece needs to include a mobile barcode or digital watermark that guides the user to a shopping experience. However, this year the purchasing can take place on growing shopping platforms like Facebook and Pinterest. This promotion offers a two percent upfront postage discount for Standard Mail sent between July and December.

A Postage Decrease? When the PRC approved a 4.3% “exigent” rate case increase back in 2013, it was with the understanding that the prices would be rolled back when the effect of the economic collapse had been satisfied. Despite USPS efforts to make this price increase permanent, the exigent amount is scheduled to be satisfied sometime late March or early April. So, barring any congressional action, mailers will see a significant drop in postage this spring. We’ll know for certain by late February, as USPS is required to give mailers notice 45 days prior to any price change. ¾

Kim Mauch is a subject matter expert in mailing preparation and submission at Satori Software. Contact her at kmauch@satorisoftware.com.

www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2016

9


THE TRENCHES

By Mike Porter

HOW TO GET YOUR NEXT JOB IN THE DOCUMENT BUSINESS

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ompetition for jobs in the document industry of the future could be fierce as mergers, consolidation, and outsourcing force document professionals into the job market. Though your resume may include an impressive history of industry knowledge and experience, there will be plenty of other equally qualified candidates vying for job openings. Individuals who find it necessary to make a job change must distinguish themselves from the pack. This can’t be accomplished overnight. You need to start planning for your next job now — regardless of how secure you might be feeling about your current position.

Your Resume Isn’t Enough A number of people I know in the print and mail industry haven’t really looked for a job for a long time. Things have changed in the way people get hired. Being good at what you do isn’t enough anymore. Having a stellar resume doesn’t automatically advance you to the front of the line. Your background may distinguish you as a mailing savant, but that may not be enough on its own. Employers may be seeking people with skills to help them administer a multi-channel, datadriven, mobile-first communication strategy. Demonstrating that you’re up to speed on current trends and communication technologies could make a difference. According to CareerBuilder, over 40% of employers use social media and Google to screen job candidates. I can’t tell you specifically who will hire you next, but I can pretty much guarantee it won’t be a stranger. Before you ever talk to anyone about a job, someone in the hiring organization will know a lot about you. What they learn online can greatly influence their decision about whether to connect with you or move on to the next candidate.

will find no useful professional information online at all. This is bad, as 35% of employers are less likely to interview candidates they can’t find online. Contrarily, 23% of employers responding to the CareerBuilder survey said they have actually hired employees based on their positive online content. Professional images, demonstrations of creativity, endorsements from others, and number of followers are some of the things that contribute to a favorable online impression. Notice that those items take a while to develop. You don’t want to be scrambling around trying to create an online persona the day you start job hunting. Fortunately, future job-seekers can start implementing strategies right now to begin building the online reputation that will give them an advantage when they need it. Whether you change employers voluntarily, become a layoff casualty, or wish to move up in your current organization you can benefit from an online image boost. Most of the suggestions below won’t take much effort. Spending just a few hours a week in the evenings will get the ball rolling. The ideas below are free or inexpensive, but be cautious about forsaking a professional presentation to save money.

1. Personal Domain Name: You might not be able to get yourname.com, but you should be able to register something acceptable or professional-looking relating to your work or the position you are seeking (mailingpro-yourname.com, montanamailer.com, et cetera). Some website hosting companies include first year domain registrations as part of their promotional pricing. Having a personal website provides a handy place for a blog, testimonials, articles, or other items useful in presenting yourself as an ideal job candidate.

" 2. Email: Set up an email account assoFor many people, a prospective employer ciated with your domain name. Not only Not a Time to be “Off the Grid"

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does it look more professional than a free email account, it automatically points anyone receiving your emails to a blog or web pages associated with your domain.

3. Curated Google Search: Any hiring company or recruiting firm searching on your name is likely to find references to people who are not you. Your information may be pushed to page five or six of the results where searchers are unlikely to see it. Some Google references may even be damaging (I share a name with a criminal who was in the news for a while. I wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea!). Build a custom Google search string to narrow the results. Include a hyperlink to the search string in your email signature. 4. Publish: Anyone can publish articles, comments, and observations online. Write for your own website or blog. Also look for publications, blogs, or online repositories where you can contribute written content, videos, or slides connected with your knowledge and experience in the document industry. Publishing in several venues across the web strengthens your reputation and exposes you to more potential employment opportunities but it takes a while for Google to index sites where your content appears. Newly published content may not show up in search results for a couple of months. 5. LinkedIn: The number one place to search for job talent is LinkedIn. Establishing and maintaining a profile there makes your experience and qualifications accessible to anyone. Make sure it is current, accurate, free of spelling errors, and clearly describes the contributions you have made to your company’s success. In addition to your profile, headline, and a business-appropriate photo lots of other LinkedIn features can be used to demonstrate your value as a


potential employee and get noticed by hiring authorities. A. Contacts – Use LinkedIn invitations to connect with other professionals with whom you share a professional interest. I recommend selectively sending a few invitations a day rather than blasting out to all your Hotmail contacts at once. Customizing the invitation message to tell the person why you think it is beneficial to connect is better than relying on LinkedIn’s default invitation. Invite me! I am pleased to add anyone working in the mailing and document industry to my professional network. B. Groups – Joining groups associated with our industry allows you to start or join discussions. You can send other group members direct messages, widen your network, and be notified by email so you can participate in group discussions. Relevant posts in groups generate increased profile views which lead to more visibility, more connections, and more job opportunities. Some groups require permission to join so allow time for the moderator to approve your request. C. Skills – Be sure to fill in the skills portion of your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters use this section extensively to locate job candidates that match requirements listed on their requisitions. D. Endorsements – These are comments from current and former colleagues, managers, or customers that express their sentiments about working with you. The best way to get endorsements is to give them. E. Media – More powerful than text, LinkedIn allows you to share relevant knowledge with your audience through slide shows and videos.

5. Google Alerts: I have used Google Alerts for years to monitor mentions of myself, industry news, companies, and individuals. You’ll get a daily email with links to articles

published on the web about topics you’ve identified. Use alerts to get informed about company announcements, such as promotions, mergers, acquisitions, or expansions which may present employment opportunities. Topics in the news can be a great inspiration for articles you will post on blogs or your website. Some of the material in my columns in this magazine started out as ideas spurred by Google Alerts.

You can initiate several strategies now that will improve your chances of landing your next job or making a career move. It doesn’t have to be a full time effort – especially if you are currently working. Pick out a few items you can manage and then set aside some time to work on them every week. When the time comes, you’ll be glad you started building a more robust online presence. ¾

HOW TO BUILD CURATED GOOGLE SEARCHES If someone with your name has a significant online presence, their content may bury your own information deep in the search results. Create curated searches to make it easy for prospective employers to find the online references you want them to see. 1. Craft a search string that limits search results to relevant pages. Use the OR operators, quote marks, and minus signs to refine search results. TIP: Use the form at https://www.google.com/advanced_search to build the search string. Google limits searches to 32 words. 2. Perform the search until satisfied with the results 3. Copy the Google-generated hyperlink from the title bar and save it. 4. Add an image or a “Search for me on Google” text link in your email signature and add the hyperlink to it.

Mike Porter is President of Print/Mail Consultants, a firm that helps companies in the document industry increase awareness for their products and services – which isn’t much different from the objectives of an individual looking for a job. You are invited to visit www.printmailconsultants.com and sign up for his free newsletters.

www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2016

11


SOFTWARE BYTE

By Peter Christy

TURNING YOUR SHIPPING DEPARTMENT INTO A PROFIT CENTER

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ith the acceptance of cloud based applications by corporate America, enterprise class technologies are now more affordable than ever. When looking for the absolute best of class shipping system you should find a system that allows you to do the following (these are easy to implement and give you a fast ROI):

Another recent advancement of the new generation of TMS are dashboards. These easy to use intuitive tools allow for organized retrieval and reporting of supply chain activity. This allows for intelligent post-shipping decisions. Customer service departments can now route based on shipping profiles that are created from this analytical data.

Carrier Rating through Optimization Contrary to the early years of basic manifesting, modern TMS are now capable of not only rating "like" carriers and services, but also cross carrier rating. Shippers can now compare small parcel carriers to LTL and courier services. The technology can now factor DIM weight into the equation so as to make intelligent pre-shipment decisions. In all, there are 200+ surcharges that are employed by UPS and FedEx. Reduction of these surcharges by having them in the rating schema can reduce shipping charges as much as 30%.

SaaS Payment Options Long gone are the days of costly hardware investments to house and maintain "on-premise" TMS. So too are gone the costly investment and time consuming tasks of IT personnel to administer these solutions. State of the art hosting facilities now offer shippers more security and data integrity than ever before. Amazon, Hewlett Packard and IBM are just a few of the big names getting involved in this brave new world — and the cost of hosting has never been more affordable ($500.00 to $1,000.00/ month complete with fault tolerance and redundant back up safeguards). This expenditure pales in comparison to costly IT staffs and constant hardware and software “upgrades.” The most compelling aspect when evaluating applications available in the cloud as opposed to On-premise solutions is the paradigm shift away from licensing software and costly annual maintenance agreements. The new transactional model is based on buying transactions for actual usage of the system. This alone can save shippers roughly 18% of the total purchase price of traditional on-premise TMS in just the elimination of annual software maintenance agreements.

Post Shipment Auditing Because of the availability of industry APIs (Application Programmers Interface) these new surcharges are now being addressed from a refund standpoint. Many TMS now utilize the cloud to audit freight bills immediately, thus allowing for revenue recovery of mis-invoiced activity. Some of these activities include "manifested but not shipped" and extended area and residential surcharges. On average these refunds range from four to six percent off the total UPS and/or FedEx annual freight expenditure.

When purchasing a new best of breed TMS — in order to optimize your productivity and save $$ — you should be looking for the following:  A hosted cloud-based solution with operational cost containment  A system based on the transactional pricing model, which offers purchasing of block transaction for a low cost per transaction regardless of the carriers used  For pennies a transaction, look for a system that will rate, process and track UPS, FedEx, DHL and USPS as well as optimize against LTL and regional couriers with UNLIMITED domestic workstations and locations  Look for a provider that offers automated freight auditing on a gain-share basis whereby the customer only pays when there are actual refunds or credits. The shipper pays on actual savings after the refunds or credits are received, and  A system that gives you discount and markup capabilities, so that shipping charges can be passed on and still save the recipient money off the cost of their overall order. Once you have a system with the above cost cutting technology, the shipper can turn their traffic department into a profit center. ¾

Peter Christy is Vice President, Enterprise Shipping Solutions for Window Book, Inc. Window Book can be contacted at 617.395.4585.

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MAIL & TECHNOLOGY MERGE

By Vincent DeAngelis

IS THERE A PLACE IN THE DIGITAL WORLD FOR MAIL?

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o, the holiday season is behind us and we finally get to stop deleting emails, clearing out spam boxes and take the time to look up and appreciate the winter sky as opposed to looking up and dodging a drone dropped package (that last part is a look into the future, I’d suppose). I hope all of you had as great a time as I did duct-taping your laptop to your walls to display the holiday greeting cards you received. And in keeping with the holiday theme, answer the following question:

ment on a piece of papyrus. And it will continue to evolve as it did when billboards, fax machines, telephones, radio and television were introduced to the American public. But this time instead of the invention of the printing press, color and bold graphic, targeted lists and personalization, mail will align itself with digital advances and social media marketing to do what it has always done, whether it’s to brick and mortar or a website: drive traffic.

Dear Editor, I am a veteran of the mailing industry and see everyone walking around me with their face buried in some type of device reading emails, paying bills and placing orders. Some of my friends say mail is dead. I’ve been told that if you see it in Mailing Systems Technology magazine it is true. So please tell me the truth, is there a place for mail in the digital world? – Virginia So Virginia, your friends are wrong. Mail is alive and well. It will continue to be one of the pillars of a successful direct marketing campaign — as it has been since around 1000 B. C. when an Egyptian landowner wrote an advertise-

Some say that digital media might very well be a catalyst to saving hard copy mail. I believe that hard copy mail will be the lynchpin for the future success of digital marketing. Earlier this year, Canada Post published a white paper titled

“Breaking through the Noise.” In its introduction, it mentions that the average consumer’s attention span is eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000 (and, interestingly enough, one second less than that of a goldfish). This would make sense if you think about how quick you would need to be to get through the approximately 2,500,000 emails that are sent every second. In its recently published white paper, “Digital Natives and the Mail,” The United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General had some key findings regarding this demographic and the mail. (Marc Prensky defines the term “digital native” and applies it to a new group of students enrolling in educational establishments, referring to the young generation as “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, videos, video games, social media and other sites on the Internet). Among those findings were:  Mail still matters to digital natives. Although they rely primarily on digital communications, the emotional connection and utility provided by physical mail generates a strong attachment.  Mail must be easy to use, relevant, and beneficial to prompt recipient action. The effectiveness of a mail piece's innovation depends on the user’s ability to operate the digital features easily and quickly, without having to download new programs. Although the novelty of the innovative mail piece may initially attract a wide range of digital natives, the content of the advertisement must be relevant to their needs to make a lasting impact.

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DIRECT MAIL EVOLUTION

By Joy Gendusa

6 WAYS FOR PRINT BUSINESSES TO INCREASE REVENUE

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o survive in this evolving digital landscape, those of us in the printing industry need to adapt — and FAST. In the last five years, according to leading industry research company IBISWorld: } Printing industry revenue has decreased an average of 2.1% per year } Printing companies have disappeared at an annual rate of 3.2% } The number of people employed by printing companies has decreased 4.2% per year And while some of us are adapting, many still have not. IBISWorld predicts our industry will continue to decline — albeit slowly — for the next five years. A slow death? No, thanks. We’ve found a way to continue growing our revenue — to the tune of more than $1 million per year — by offering new digital marketing products to supplement the printing and mailing services we’ve spent the last 17 years perfecting. You can do it, too. Here are six products you can offer to complement your traditional direct mail and printing services. They will keep your clients invested in the benefits of direct mail by improving their results while improving YOUR bottom line. Ready? Let’s get right to it:

1. Business website design Websites for businesses are no longer optional! They’re the new storefront. Just look at these stats: } 95% of consumers visit a business’ website before contacting them } 66% of new customers search online to find local businesses } 46% of all online searches are for information about products and services } 75% of searchers never scroll page the first page of results

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I was dragged kicking and screaming into the website development business. I didn’t want to offer them at all! But I realized in order for my postcard clients to succeed with direct mail, they needed to have a good website. I tried playing the referral game, but if that didn’t go well, guess who they’re mad at! Yep. Me.

Here’s what it boils down to: Many small businesses don’t have the experience to create their own marketing and sales-driven websites, and there are so many “web developers” out there who aren’t marketers and don’t think like you do. By offering website design services to your clients in addition to printing and direct mail, you’ll be able to provide them with better direct mail results. And that means more reorders!

2. Mail tracking When you offer mail tracking to your clients, they’ll know when their mailings reach prospects and can prepare to make the most of their response. How? Using an Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) — which the USPS offers for free. The IMB contains all kinds of useful information for bulk mail: the sort category, the service being requested, an identifier for the mailer, a serial number for each individual mail piece and the delivery address. The USPS machines that use the barcode to sort the mail can also feed information back to the mailer. When that information comes back, a software system (like MrMailTracker.com) translates it into readable tracking results. You can charge a fee for this service or give it away to provide a better value than your competitors!

3. Call tracking This feature allows your clients to put a unique phone number on each direct mail campaign.

That phone number routes calls to their regular phone number, but tracks them so your clients can see exactly how many people are calling off of each campaign. It helps your clients feel in control of their results. It gives them data they can use to tweak designs or messaging and ACTUALLY MEASURE the response. As they discover what’s most effective, they improve their results with each campaign — which encourages them to keep mailing! I SWEAR by call tracking for my own business, so I know other companies find it invaluable, too.

4. Email newsletters Studies show that 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact, which is why follow up is so important. But using only direct mail for follow up can get expensive, and now there are inexpensive online tools for the job. To avoid losing your clients to cheaper online options, you can offer effective digital follow-up tools like email newsletters. You can create mass emails for your clients’ businesses and schedule them to go out on a regular basis. At my company, we use Marketo — we don’t charge our clients any more than they do, but we do charge for managing it (writing, designing, scheduling, etc.).

5. Automated email drip campaigns Using the same program you use for newsletters, you can create email drip campaigns (a series of emails automatically sent out on a predetermined schedule) for your clients. Here’s how a drip campaign works: Every time a new prospect fills out one of your clients’ contact forms, an email is sent to the address provided. This is usually just an introductory message. The next week (or next day, next two days — it’s totally up to your client!), another email is


sent that starts introducing them to what the company offers. Each subsequent email contains a bit more marketing content to gradually draw the prospect in. These programs can be extremely time-consuming to set up (but once they’re up and running, they’re a huge difference-maker), so offering this service is very attractive to business owners.

6. Pay per click (PPC) ads You’ve seen PPC ads: they’re usually at the top and to the right of Google search results. They also come in the form of banner ads (also called display ads) on various website. These targeted ads can be very effective for building brand awareness for your clients and are a great complement to direct mail. The process of targeting and creating effective PPC campaigns is rather compli-

cated. At PostcardMania we have a whole department dedicated to managing our clients’ PPC, so I know that many businesses are happy to hand off that responsibility. And if they can get it all under the same roof so their online ads resemble their direct mail campaign, all the better! These are effective marketing tactics that can easily supplement direct mail AND take advantage of today’s technology without trying to replace the foundation that direct mail provides. In fact, they all BUILD on a good direct mail foundation. You’re not hurting the appeal of your direct mail services — you’re building on them to get your clients the results they want. I KNOW they work, because they worked for us. PostcardMania was the beta company for DirectMail2.0 — a program that makes direct mail marketing even more effective by adding mail track-

ing, call tracking and online follow-up ads into a single, fully ingetrated and 100% automated campaign package. Our clients who use DirectMail2.0 get better results, so they reorder frequently. The first year we offered DirectMail2.0, we added $933,000 to our bottom line. In the last 12 months, it has brought in more than $1.6 million! We’re not just surviving, we’re THRIVING. You can certainly add the products above to your lineup separately, but I’ll tell you, as someone who went through it: it’s a LOT of work. Literally years in the making. Or you can offer these services without taxing your current operation by letting DirectMail2.0 fulfill your orders FOR YOU. They do the work for you under a white label so everything looks to your clients as if it’s coming from YOUR company. ¾

Joy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a fully-integrated marketing firm specializing in direct mail. She used postcards to grow PostcardMania from just a phone and computer to a $22 million enterprise in less than a decade. PostcardMania offers free postcard samples for your industry — request a sample pack today! Connect on Twitter: @postcardmania or @joygendusa. Visit directmail2point0.com or call 800.956.4129 to learn more about an integrated white label system for your business!

MAIL & TECHNOLOGY MERGE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13  Digital natives responded well to physical-digital integration. Digital natives are more likely to take notice of communications that present similar messages about the same information over different mediums. This type of multi-channel communication leverages the specific advantages of each channel to create a seamless user experience. Digital natives found mail pieces with digital features more informative, efficient, and useful than mail pieces without them.  Digital natives responded positively to interactive and well-designed mailpieces. Digital natives were interested

in mail pieces enhanced with characteristics like color, high quality paper and unique shapes, as well as mail that integrates interactive digital features, like augmented reality. In the last few years the USPS has introduced some very cool (so 80s) products out of their New Products and Innovations department, led by Gary Reblin. Utilizing cutting-edge technology, the Postal Service has made mail more powerful than ever. Some, like textured mail, take advantage of enhancements made by the printing community while others, like mail with a QR code, utilize new, and not-so-new, technol-

ogy to enhance the value of mail. I would encourage marketers to look at products like Near Field Communication, Augmented Reality, Variable Data Printing, Cineprint technology, Video in Print and the currently in test Informed Delivery to help drive their customers’ customers to their websites. Because we know that campaigns that integrate direct mail, web marketing and email can boost responses by 37%. Or your clients could hope that one of the 52,000+ Google searches that occur every second leads a buyer to their website. ¾

Vincent DeAngelis is Vice President, Postal Relations, Neopost USA. Headquartered in Milford, CT, Neopost USA provides mailing, business communications management and shipping hardware and software solutions. As businesses increasingly move to digital communications, Neopost USA continues to help its customers communicate via physical mail, digital communications and parcels. For more information on Neopost USA, visit www.neopostusa.com.

www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2016

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GUEST COLUMN

By Harry Stephens

3-4-1: A WIN FOR ALL?

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his past September, I was at a meeting with the National Postal Policy Council (NPPC) where I serve on the board. Delivering value was the main topic of discussion at this NPPC meeting. James (Jim) P. Cochrane spoke to us about the need to make mail more relevant and to find ways to add more value to mail in order to keep it in the system. Jim is a 41-year veteran of the USPS and has been acting chief marketing and sales officer and executive vice president (CMSO) since April 2015. He reports to the Postmaster General. Jim understands the need to be flexible and change things if needed and many of his accomplishments prove that. For example, he directed the advancement of new mail intelligence, engineering systems, information technology systems, payment technology, secure digital solutions and corporate information security to meet the changing needs of today's marketplace. As Jim spoke about relevancy and value at the meeting, what immediately came to my mind was “2-4-1 = A Win-Win for All.” It was the title of an article I wrote for Mailing Systems Technology in 2011. The idea of 2-4-1 came about at a Major Mailers Association meeting where Paul Vogel, the president and CMSO for the USPS at the time, spoke about improving the USPS experience for its customers. After his talk, one member brought up the idea that perhaps the USPS would approve allowing business mailers to mail a two-ounce piece at the one-ounce rate. Every major mailer at the meeting liked this idea. In the meantime, behind the scenes, those of us in the mailing industry did not stay quiet. The National Postal Policy Council, along with the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service of which many of us NPPC members are a part, is always actively lobbying for lower business rates from the USPS. As such, we knew this 2-4-1 idea was one ruling that would not require 16

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the PRC to rule on or Congress to approve, as it is not a rate increase or a mandate. To be sure, we confirmed this at our NPPC meeting, when both Bill Baker, Legal Counsel for the NPPC, and Steve Sharfman, the PRC General Counsel, agreed that this move would not be defined as a rate case. All of our efforts did pay off and the 2-4-1 became a reality in January of 2012 — and

way already. So after Jim spoke, I made the suggestion that moving up an ounce to ‘3-4-1’would be a serious additional stimulus for marketing via First Class. Just as adopting the 2-4-1 suggestion on the part of the USPS was easy since there were no legal restrictions to worry about and it didn’t need the PRC to rule or Congress to approve, adopting 3-4-1 could happen just

Certainly the Postal Service feels the impact of a drop in the volume of First Class mail it delivers — which means continuing to find avenues for changing the way it does business. it has been a huge success. As we continued to discuss ideas during this new meeting of the NPPC with Jim, I began to think that if 2-4-1 was a success in increasing mail by making mailing more documents affordable, why not build a better mousetrap — just make it larger by now allowing three ounces at the one-ounce rate. That would give business mailers a little more latitude and alleviate the worry of losing the discount to mail at the single piece rate if they were slightly over the two ounces — adding value. It would help support the demand for creating (and mailing) more documents in color — adding value. It would allow mailers to get the mail to the recipient faster as 3-4-1 would be at the threshold of the cutoff for Standard Mail — adding value. Of course, it would require a 6 x 9 envelope, but many folks are used to receiving transactional bills that

as smoothly. And the benefits would be the same — just expanded to encourage using the mail more often and more creatively:  Transactional mailers won’t have to squeeze the billing detail and the important promotional messages on the statements themselves, allowing for the opportunity to use more reader-friendly fonts.  It opens up the ability to take full advantage of white space opportunities (targeted, measurable advertisements or promotional offers usually printed at the bottom of bills or statements), as well as variable data printing (a form of on-demand printing) — both of which are proven ways of positively impacting response rates.  Companies will have greater flexibility to offset mailing center costs by including additional promotional offers with every communication, such as higher-qual-


ity (thicker) newsletters that include important credit union information and service offering updates.  Statements can be used to inform, educate and strengthen member loyalty by providing additional information, such as announcements, disclosures and notifications, as well as to conduct consumer research with surveys and reply cards.  Along with adding value to mailings, it will help our Postal Service by keeping more paper mail in the system.  It will continue to slow the fast-moving tide of using only electronic solutions to communicate versus print. The USPS issued a press release this November comparing 2015 results of operations to 2014. It reported that First-Class Mail and Standard Mail volume decreased by 2.2% and 0.3%, respectively and operating expenses of $73.8 billion increased by $648 million, or 0.9%. Certainly the Postal

Service feels the impact of a drop in the volume of First Class mail it delivers — which means continuing to find avenues for changing the way it does business. All of us in business know that tough times in a business call for tough decisions — and creative solutions. The USPS must continue to fine-tune and streamline its procedures for handling high volume mail with improved time and cost efficiencies like IMb, as well as offer innovative methods that help decrease the cost of using the mail system. As business mailers, I think we do have a responsibility to continue to look for ways to help the USPS remain a viable enterprise. Most recently, I was at another NPPC meeting where Isaac Cronkhite, manager of processing operations at United States Postal Service spoke — and listened. One of the business mailers at the meeting commented on the slow delivery his customers were experiencing. Of the pieces that customers

said were arriving late, eight out of the 10 were mailed as flats. Cronkhite explained that flats have a tendency to stick together in automation, slowing things down. The 6 x 9 envelope that 3-4-1 would use goes through the automated process better. I couldn’t help but see it as just one more way to show how adopting 3-4-1 adds value — and made it a point to go up to Isaac after his talk and bring up the idea to him. Adding more value to printed mail is of interest to all of us. Rising postal costs in this continued tough economy — and postal requirements that keep changing and growing in complexity — are certainly two solid reasons why. In 2011, in this very publication, I predicted 2-4-1 would be a win-win for mailers and the USPS and it was. I think 3-4-1 will be a win-win as well — providing the extra value needed to keep printed mail relevant. ¾

Harry Stephens is President/CEO and founder of DATAMATX, one of the nation’s largest, privately held full-service providers of printed and electronic billing solutions. As an advocate for business mailers across the country, Stephens is actively involved in several postal trade associations. He serves on the Executive Board of the Greater Atlanta Postal Customer Council, Major Mailers Association (MMA), PCC Advisory Committee (PCCAC), and the Board of the National Postal Policy Council (NPPC). You can contact Harry Stephens at hstephens@datamatx.com

www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2016

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HOW WILL THE 2016 USPS PRICE INCREASE IMPACT YOUR BUDGET? By Adam Lewenberg

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et me break down the good and bad news with this rate increase. On the positive side, it is not impacting letters and flats, and for now, those rates are staying at current levels. Customers whose main interaction with the USPS is around mailing documents can rest easy. On the flip side, shipping services will increase an average of 9.5% with some weight and zones going up by over 50%! This is going to have a big impact on shippers who rely on the USPS. What is also interesting is back on May 31, 2015, the USPS actually had a reduction in rates for specific Priority Mail weights and zones. Postal rates are supposed to be tied to the Consumer Price Index, which today is running in the zero to two percent range. The difference is this rule does not impact what the USPS considers “competitive” shipping services, where it has more flexibility to increase rates. 18

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Some possibilities as to why this dramatic rate increase occurred:

1.

For lightweight packages going to consumers (vs. businesses) the USPS has significantly lower rates than the private carriers. Even high volume shippers with exceptional negotiated rates with the private carriers will have a difficult time beating the USPS when you factor in fuel and accessorial charges.

2.

In a recent filling to the Postal Regulatory Commission, UPS made a complaint that the USPS was undergoing anticompetitive policies and claimed: “In turn, the larger market share enables the utility to better leverage economies of scale and scope, increasing its scale and further harming its now handicapped rivals.”

3.

The private carriers typically increase rates at around five percent per year.

4.

This is the Postal Service’s fastest growing segment and it needs it to cover volume declines in other areas. For the past 17 years, I have been creating comparison charts for my clients that go over the changes in rates to show how it will affect budgets. The reason that I do this is that when the USPS talks about a 9.5% increase, this is overall. Based on the type of mail you do, the increase could be higher or lower. You need to look at the class, weight, zone, density and special services required to see the true impact. Also, when you look at the new rate charts provided by the USPS, they typically will not show the level of detail needed (previous and new rates, side by side) to see these differences. This insight will help you budget by seeing how it will impact the most common services that you use today.


Priority Mail

Priority Mail is the most popular package service for the USPS, which covers items weighing 13 ounces to 70 pounds and delivers in one to three days throughout the US. The rates are based on the weight and eight primary zones which are determined by the distance you are shipping the item. It also has three different rate categories based on the type of customer. } Retail — Rates that you get at the counter at the post office or through a postage meter. } Commercial Base — Customers that use an approved PC Postage solution get significant discounts over retail rates as an incentive to streamline the way packages

are labeled, barcoded and data is transmitted. } Commercial Plus — Customers that ship over 50,000 items per year can get additional discounts with an agreement with the USPS. Highlights } When you study the rate table, you can clearly see what the USPS is doing with this increase. It is changing rates the most in the less than five pound segment, which is where it has dominance. What is also interesting is that the highest increase is in zones 1-4 vs. the farther away zone 5-8. } Many heavier packages are seeing flat to minimal increases.

} Commercial Plus customers are seeing the largest increase at up to 59% based on weight and zone. Also, there is no longer a half pound rate. } Small Flat Rate Envelopes and Boxes are increasing at 12-16% vs the Medium and Large Boxes at 3-9%. This all flows with the USPS impacting rates for the lightest items. } Sorry if you are mailing to Guam; in the charts above we are only comparing zone 1-8. Zone 9, which is for Guam, is increasing 20-50%. } USPS.com Click-N-Ship will no longer be offering Commercial Base rates but will default to Retail. Mailers will need to find an approved PC postage provider to maintain their Commercial Base rates. www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2016

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First-Class Mail Parcels

In the less than one pound market, the USPS has a complete monopoly and you can see that it is rethinking why it is providing some of the discounted services in this segment. The private carrier rates all start at one pound, whereas the USPS goes to the ounce. Think about the companies sending light parts that can be sent for around $3 with the USPS vs. the private carriers that could be two to three times that amount. Here are the big changes with First-Class Mail Parcels and Packages. } Retail rates remain unchanged. } Commercial Base items will see rates increase up to 69%. This is occurring in the following ways: } Elimination of any presort discounts (5 Digit, 3 Digit and ADC (area distribution center) Rates are no longer available). These presort rates had offered shippers 7-25% additional discounts. } Slight price reductions for 13 ounce single piece items. } New rates now go up to 15.999 ounces when they used to only go up to 13. 20

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This could be a big win in this segment for clients forced to use Priority Mail rates for 13-16 ounce packages. } Elimination of Commercial Plus Rates – This does not seem like a big issue now that Base rates can go up to 15.999 ounces. Additional Rate Change Items We have focused on Priority and First Class because these categories are used by the majority of package shippers. We wanted to highlight some other changes that could also impact your budget. } Priority Mail Express Rates are increasing an average of 15.6% and they are eliminating their flat rate boxes. } Parcel Select Ground, which is being renamed Parcel Select Nonpresort, is increasing an average of 3.1%. } International Mail rates are increasing. } Priority Mail International – 10.2% } Priority Mail Express International – 11.6% } First Class International Package – 21.6%

Conclusion To budget for this increase, you need to look at the type of items you are sending and the weight and zones that are most common to truly estimate the impact. Even with the increases, the USPS is still the best choice for lightweight packages going to residences. With the huge increase in online purchasing that we all do every day, this is a great position for the USPS to be in and will help it fund the future declines in other areas. ¾

ADAM LEWENBERG, CMDSS, MDC, President of Postal Advocate Inc., runs the largest Mail Audit and Recovery firm in the United States and Canada. Their mission is to help organizations with multi-locations reduce mail related expenses, recover lost postage funds, and simplify visibility and oversight. Since 2013, they have helped their clients save an average of 54% and over $20 million on equipment, fees and lost postage. He can be reached at 617.372.6853 or adam.lewenberg@ postaladvocate.com.


HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP?

These first-class practices can put your mail center ahead of the pack.

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uring most of our customer engagements, we usually hear variants of the same question:

“What do the best operations do?”  “How do our competitors compare to these standards?  “How do we compare to other operations?” In the last 15 years, we’ve worked with over 50 companies in different industries — government, higher education, finance, healthcare, telecommunications and utilities. Some have mail operations with five people focusing on inbound and interoffice mail, while others have 100 people producing a million pieces of First-Class Mail a day, seven days a week. Regardless of size or function, the best shops have a lot in common. We define a “First Class Operation” as one that through consistent actions and

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reporting, demonstrates that the operation is staffed and managed by well-trained professionals who add value to the company and use the right tools to deliver:  the correct piece  with the correct address  in the correct envelope or workflow folder  at the correct time  at the correct cost These operations achieve those goals by focusing on the following principles:  Value their employees — through communication, education, and recognition  Value their customers — through communication, and being a solution provider  Well-designed, clean work environment  Track internal and external work — accountability and metrics  Well documented procedures — that are used daily  Aggressive address management  Meaningful metrics transformed into actionable information

 Selecting and exploiting the right technology  Aggressive address management  Quality Control is procedural and cultural  Knowing cost-per-piece and understanding value Employees are the keystone of every successful outfit. Good managers don’t just say their staff are important, they act on that principle every day. Regular communication through daily huddles, staff meetings and one-on-one reviews are the standard. Time, funding and resources are dedicated to internal training, external training and cross-training. When the team does a good job, their efforts are recognized. Regardless of the industry, the product or the price, there is one simple thing all customers want — good service. For in-plant operations, the “customer” is everyone else in your company. Establish regular communication with all customers through newsletters, email blasts and recurring


By Mark Fallon

meetings. Let them know the status of their jobs — especially if something has caused a delay. Don’t just provide a service — offer solutions to their challenges. The condition of your work area says a lot about the quality of the work provided. The best departments are well-organized with the space designed to support the workflow. The area is kept clean — with material staged neatly and trash thrown away immediately. Anyone touring the space is confident that their work isn’t being lost amid the clutter. The best mail center managers have installed processes and systems to track work as it moves through their shop. Inbound mail is measured, accountable pieces are scanned and deliveries are documented. Outbound documents are tracked from creation, through print, fulfillment, entry into the US Postal Service and beyond. In the present age of accountability, companies need to know the date and time that each document was sent to

a customer or partner. The information will need to be stored — and easily retrieved. Well-documented and applied policies and procedures are the hallmark of an excellent operation. Clear procedures must be written for all major activities. The procedures should follow one consistent format, with the author and revision date noted. System changes (e.g., new equipment, postage rates) or staffing changes should be updated immediately. Procedures should be posted in the shop as workflow diagrams, and reviewed as part of regular employee training. Having the correct mailing address is the keystone to a successful print-mail operation. And this is true whether we’re discussing transactional mail, advertising mail or parcels. To effectively communicate with your customers, you must have a professional address management program. An effective address management program isn’t an isolated occurrence. Instead, it involves deploying tools and getting feedback throughout the customer communication process. Measurements are used to determine effectiveness and efficiency. To know if your operation is efficient, you need to know the number of pieces processed, the time needed to process the work, the number of errors, and all expenses associated with the operation. The metrics must be reviewed on a regular basis, because data sitting in files doesn’t add value. Information that’s used properly will add value and will help you improve your operation. Technology is a tool that allows mail centers to continue providing excellent service to their companies in a cost-effective manner. Managers need to stay current on the products, software and services that are available in the marketplace. Develop a strategy for selecting and investing in technology that maximizes benefits and reduces risks. Use the request for proposal (RFP) process to select the best solutions from the best partners. Commitment to Quality Achieving quality requires commitment and the establishment of an environment in which quality can flourish. The reliability of equipment and software, the use of cameras and barcodes, and the implementation of quality control teams combine to deliv-

ery good results. Managers and employees need to believe in the value of doing the job right — the first time. Of course, we need to get better. The goal has to remain 100% — even though we know we aren’t perfect. The best managers know what it costs to process documents — inbound and outbound — by type and category. They monitor their metrics and finances to keep expenses as low as possible. Equally important, they understand the value of the documents they process. The cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best option. The documents delivered to the recipient must have the impact the sender desired.

Employees are the keystone of every successful outfit. Good managers don’t just say their staff are important, they act on that principle every day. Are there really organizations that meet all of these qualifications? Yes, there are. Some are service providers and some are in-plant operations. It didn’t happen overnight, but took years build a culture of excellence. And those leaders aren’t finished improving. The above principles are the baseline by which to measure success, and are the building blocks for delivering first class results. Today and tomorrow. The standards for being considered a “best-in-class” mail operation will continue to be raised. Effective leaders are invested in continuous improvements — for their people, processes and technology — and themselves. ¾ MARK M. FALLON, President & CEO, The Berkshire Company, can be reached at 508.485.9090 or mmf@berkshire-company.com, or visit www. berkshire-company.com for more information. www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2016

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DO YOU KNOW WHAT ADDRESS QUALITY COSTS… REALLY? Return on Investment Growing up, when you asked you parents for money, they probably asked you how it was going to be used, but they had little to no expectation of getting it back, let alone getting the money back with an additional return on their spend. Your boss, on the other hand, wants to know how the money will be used and how quickly a return will be recognized on the investment. You could make a guess on the return. However, this approach will most likely result in disappointing results. The goal of this article is to help you understand a variety of factors that impact the cost of address quality as well as help you quantify what is at risk. If your orga24

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nization is the primary driver of a communication either for driving revenue or a fundraising effort, this article will help you pull together the key cost factors to consider when building your case for improvement. Maybe you are a service provider. This is an opportunity to help drive your clients’ success and increase your value with them. Using numbers, you will be able to help put together the case to invest in solutions and services that get results. As a mailer you may be thinking, “Our list or database is pretty good, we think.” Or as a service provider, you may be thinking, “We offer the basics or meet mailing requirements, so that’s good enough.” But, is it good enough? If that was the

case, would the cost of Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA) mail still be a headache to the United Stated Postal Service? The United Postal Service defines UAA mail as mail that cannot be delivered to the name and address specified on the mail piece, and must be forwarded, returned to sender, or properly treated as waste, as authorized for the class of mail and the ancillary service endorsement on the mail piece. There are several factors that can cause undeliverable mail. It could be that an individual, family or business moved. In some cases a change of address was filed and steps were missed in the mailing effort, failing to integrate the change into a system for future use. In other cases, the change may


By Paula Stoskopf the cost of UAA to the Postal Service is estimated to be over $1.5 billion per year and $20 billion for the mailing industry. $20 billion per year! Where does the cost come from? Postage often becomes the key cost considered when calculating the impact of poor address quality. But, we really need to start at the beginning. Way back to the creative stage of the process. Creative does cost money and it is something that can be factored in when putting together a business case for improvement. Other mailing costs to consider range from list purchase, production, postage to ancillary services. Finally, the cost that may be the biggest loss, OPPORTUNITY. Not reaching the intended recipient means lost opportunity in revenue, donation and even retention. We all know that retention sustains business. The cost of keeping a client or donor is far less than acquiring new. So as we target new prospects, remembering to reach existing clients or donors is vital.

Hard ROIs To start to understand the cost, let’s look at postage for a Standard Mail Letter.

Automation 3-Digit $0.28

AADC $0.28

Mixed AADC $0.30

Machinable ADC $0.30

have been filed incorrectly or even not at all. An incomplete, incorrect or illegible address may also cause a mail failure. Perhaps the mail is addressed to a recipient that is unknown or deceased or they may even refuse or fail to claim the mail. Finally, the piece itself may not have enough postage. No mailing list is immune from these factors. But, if we understand the full cost of poor addressing and the tools available to mitigate undeliverable mail, we can align that information with goals and recognize a real return.

Cost Factors According to a United Stated Postal Service Office of the Inspector General (OIG),

Mixed ADC $0.32

For example, if the mailing is an automation letter, the difference in postage for addresses that cannot corrected increases by roughly six percent. Remember, depending on class of mail, some mail will be “properly treated as waste, as authorized for the class of mail and the ancillary service endorsement on the mail piece.” This means that the six percent increase may really mean a total loss of postage for those pieces.

Have you accounted for… Creative

Art

Printing

Mail List Acquisition

Processing

Production

Logistics

Postage

Example Mailing of 50,000 pieces with a 97% record fully delivery point encoded = 1,500 records that will not qualify for automation rates. For these pieces, postage is roughly $25 higher. That may not sound like a lot, but now let’s consider a nearly total postage lost for those pieces, a much higher cost of about $450. Now repeat that mailing four times, a loss of up to $1,800. Now, add in the cost of the creation of the mail piece and the mail preparation process. This is a cost that can vary greatly, but it is something that can be calculated and agreed upon when making a case for improved address quality. For our example, let’s use $1.00 per piece to cover creative, mail preparation. The lost investment per mailing could be almost $2,000.

Lost Opportunity Lost creative, postage and production costs are one things, but the real loss is lost opportunity. This one is harder to quantify, but it can be done. Key factors to think about are average response rate and average spend. For this example, let’s use a two percent response rate with an average purchase of $50. That could be up to $1,500 in lost revenue for one mailing. We all know, campaigns are repeated. If that happened multiple times through the year, the loss to a business or a charity is much higher.

Common Causes Data Capture Customers, prospects and donors come from multiple sources. Sources range from websites, events and referrals, call centers and purchased lists. Putting in place systems that help you ensure accurate information when the address is captured is the first place to head off costly undeliverable mail. Imagine hosting a fundraising or a prospecting event. New prospects join, invited by those on your existing guest list or they’ve joined because of an open invitation on social media. Their interest is exciting and they even took the time to scratch down their information on a guest card. When your team goes back and tries to enter them into the system, they decipher the information the best they can and get it in the system. Hopefully the system or other tools help them scrub it and get it right. If systems or tools can’t help with a particular lead, then determine other ways to get it right. Maybe a phone call, send a First Class Postcard or use any popular search engine on the internet. www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2016

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Extend this concept of quality at data capture to all places, names and addresses of valuable prospects as they enter a system. Now don’t think it is a small business owner problem. It happens in organizations of all sizes. Disparate systems, departmental initiates and even those freeform spreadsheets of contacts that float around the office present challenges for organizations of all sizes. On the Move So you’ve got those valuable contacts in your system and you are ready to grow your business, drive donations and execute on the goals you’ve set. Guess what though, people move. According to 2013 Census Bureau press release, 11.7% of US residents moved between 2012 and 2013. That is 35.9 million. Many file change of addresses with the Postal Service and some do not. Have a plan to get and keep the most current address. Not Updating Systems Probably the most distressing reason for undeliverable waste is when updated information is not utilized to update the core data system. Mailing standards require criteria is met for scrubbing addresses and identifying moves. Often this occurs right before mailing. What often happens though is the owner of the mailing fails to utilize the feedback from the process and they do not update systems. In some cases the systems have not been architected to make it easy for them to keep old and new addresses or merge in changes. Over time, a move may no longer be identified or an address may fail to standardize. I’ve moved several times. At month 18 and then again at month 48, I’m always disheartened by the amount of mail I receive for the previous owner as their change of address begins to expire out of the processing cycle. It is obvious that feedback from an NCOALink process was not incorporated into the marketing database, even those of some large marketers. Yes, I may be interested in the offer, but in many cases, the previous owner’s interests may be vastly different than mine. Wouldn’t the money spent have been better used to keep up with the previous owner or transition the budget to a more viable prospect?

Turning on Success So how do we turn this around? First, know your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Are you looking for growth, retention or both? If you are a service provider, are your clients’ goals aligned with their approach? Providers, this is your opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and even offer additional services. 26

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2016 | www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com

Second, know your target. Do you clearly understand your audience? You may be asking how this relates to address quality. It does. Different demographics move at different rates. For example, renters and the younger generation move more. Think about the just out of college generation that moves home, moves out and then moves back home. Or, maybe your target is nearing retirement age and has two homes, one near the family in the snow-lands and one in the sun. Third, know the source of the mailing list. Quality can vary. Perhaps the house file is in great shape, but a list you will be adding in is from a valuable source, but it may have some problems. Knowing the source and the quality of the source should drive decisions in what tools to use upfront to get the best possible outcomes. It may even help you decide if post mailing options like AEC and AEC II are a good fit. Fourth, know the tools available. There is a wide range of solutions from pre to post-mailing tools. There are even advanced tools, both from the USPS and proprietary sources that attempt to rescue even the hardest to revive addresses. Some of the advanced tools go beyond address information and utilize name information, third party data and in the case of USPS solutions, carrier knowledge. Know the value of the address and the cost of the tools. Factor this into the equation and then make your decision. In some cases, those addresses may be worth every penny to rescue. In other cases, you time and money could better be spent purchasing new lists and seeking other sources of prospects. If you are a mail owner, it can be confusing especially if your core business is not mailing. Mailing is a method to drive marketing success. Find a service provider you trust. There are so many credible and able providers and consultants to help you be successful. For you the service provider, know the tools available. Even if you don’t directly offer them, help run the numbers and facilitate the process. This will make you invaluable and trusted. Finally, keep up with changes. There is always something new out there. For example, in the last year the Postal Service rolled out Secure Destruction. While not an address quality tool, it can lower your costs and still provide valuable feedback for First Class mail that cannot be delivered. New address change options have also been introduced. The Postal Service has started to introduce the Mailer Scorecard to help

mailers understand their mail quality, including Move Update statistics. This can be daunting for a mail owner whose real business is not mail. But again, this is an opportunity for a provider to help them cut to the chase and get the most out of their mailing efforts.

Bringing the ROI Home You could make a guess on an address quality investment’s return, but this approach will most likely result in disappointing results. So instead of thinking, “Our list or database is pretty good, we think.” Or as a service provider, “We offer the basics or meet mailing requirements, so that’s good enough.” Bring together the cost and opportunity data points. The process will align expectations and ensure that goals are delivered. You, your boss or your client will know how quickly a return will be recognized on the investment. ¾ PAULA STOSKOPF, Director of Marketing and Industry Relations at Fairrington, plans, develops and implements marketing strategies and public relations activities. In her role she also ensures organizational readiness for new and changed rules, regulations and procedures that impact the industry and Fairrington’s clients. Founded in 1981, Fairrington is the largest, full-service, printer-independent mailing logistics provider in the US. The company was built on visionary entrepreneurial leadership, values of integrity and excellence, and a commitment to develop and equip its people to provide extraordinary service. Paula can be reached at PStoskopf@Fairrington.com.

Are you looking at software for data and address quality? Check out the following companies: AccuZIP, www.accuzip.com Anchor Software, www.anchorcomputersoftware.com BCC Software, www.bccsoftware.com Firstlogic Solutions, www.firstlogicsolutions.com Melissa Data, www.melissadata.com Pitney Bowes, www.pitneybowes.com Satori Software, www.satorisoftware.com


THE NEXT STEP IN MAILING AUTOMATION

T

oday’s sophisticated transactional and direct mail offers a complex logistical challenge that has more in common with consumer product manufacturing than it does with most people’s idea of printing and mailing. It may be bank or credit card statements, investment portfolio performance reports, insurance documents or customer loyalty programs, but typically tens of thousands or even millions of separate parts are involved. Some are standardized, some are personalized, and they are likely to be printed using two or more different technologies. The entire mailing list has to be printed without error, brought together at the right time and place, picked and inserted in the correct sequence, mailed, tracked and invoiced.

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JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2016 | www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com

It’s a task that would be impossible without automation, but although the various production and assembly stages are highly automated, the software components that support or enable the various component processes tend to be something of a ragtag collection from different vendors, and often with no single control point from which a clear view of the entire workflow is available.

Complex Kits A typical customer mailing kit, such as an airline’s frequent flyer club, might include several pieces: an individually addressed but otherwise generic cover letter, a brochure detailing customer rewards, a membership or loyalty card, and a fully personalized flyer or insert detailing an offer

specific to each recipient according to their status, membership level and other demographic attributes. Some parts might be offset printed, some digitally printed, some a hybrid of the two (inkjet personalization on an offset-printed carrier, for example), and a plastic membership card might have to be outsourced, but for each recipient, the right version of all the different components has to be available, correctly picked and inserted. To further increase the complexity of the task, the envelope may need to be manufactured and printed too. In addition to the print production aspects, there are data issues to address, such as generating, exporting and cleaning the mailing list, removing duplicates and correcting incomplete or incorrect addresses. These also feed in


By Nick Benkovich

to the financial aspect of the mailing job, in that post office deposits are paid on anticipated numbers of mail items, which may change subsequent to the mailing list clean-up. Discrepancies like this have to be accounted for, with refunds or credits to the mailing client. Again, there’s a further complication in that any one mailing may involve more than one class or type of mail service. On top of that, there are discounts available for presenting the mailing to the United States Postal Service in a specified manner, which may not be the obvious match to the easiest way of producing, assembling or delivering it to the postal facility. One piece of software may be used to import that mailing list, clean the data and sort it; another to estimate, plan and control the manufacture of the various components, more production-specific systems will be used to send the relevant artwork to offset production plate-making or to digital presses, and that’s without the assembly, packaging and dispatch to the mailing center. While each component in the chain may be well optimized for its specific purpose, delays and errors can arise at the point when one hands off to another.

Integration to Address Interdependencies Interdependent parts of the process can be hard to manage efficiently in this sort of set-up, such as coordinating window envelope design and production such that the recipient’s name and address printed on the letter that sits within the envelope are clearly visible and meet the mail service provider’s specifications. Another manufacturing planning challenge is getting the various pieces to nest correctly when the mailing is assembled so that the recipient sees the various items in the order that the sender’s marketing team intended. What’s needed is a means of integration that sits above the various islands of automation and links them in order to provide complete end-to-end visibility and control without having to constantly switch between different applications or systems throughout the process. Ideally this would

include the ability to link into industry-standard mailing tools to consume the presort process output of the final mail list files, the Mail.dat file and create all other tasks and postal reporting. Equally, it would be useful if a customer’s mail list file could be read, cleaned and sent along with an execution workflow to the mailing tool for processing so that the software could return the Presort Mail List, all postal documentation including the Mail.dat file, a list of all activities performed with time, for costing and billing purposes.

the needs of commercial mail producers and facilitates an automated mailing and production workflow for both envelope and transactional mailings. The component’s product-based specification tools include full production planning, process planning for sheet-fed and web-based print, full imposition capabilities with automatic imposition generation for complex self-mailers, and calculation of waste generated and time taken for complex inline operations. The workflow also handles scheduling of all tasks and real time data capture of the actual production time and materials consumption, allowing accurate comparison of estimate versus actual production time and costs. Users benefit from this type of workflow functionality because it gives them the power to make their ERP the central database repository of all the files related to mailing jobs. Machine operators, in turn, can get direct access to all job-specific files via its ability to store, search and manage different file types relevant to mailing planning, processing and production. The Monarch mailing component also gives users a streamlined capability for full invoicing, ensuring that print providers capture all mailing and postage costs on their work. This type of automation addresses direct mail workflow needs that had been ignored too long in the past. For most mailers the workflow advantage is paramount: reducing errors while eliminating manual steps in otherwise time-intensive list management and postal processing creates a vital competitive advantage that helps businesses counter many of the challenges to growth and profitability in the direct marketing industry. ¾

Differences in numbers between initial estimates and actual production quantities can then be calculated for postal deposit credits or refunds. Linking mail lists with specific projects, jobs or orders, as well as linking the mail recipients with the relevant versions would provide important information like the print order quantities needed for production. Differences in numbers between initial estimates and actual production quantities can then be calculated for postal deposit credits or refunds. When a job is completed, automated archiving or destruction of the files would be another time-saving step.

A Central Repository for Mail Workflow Efficiency The need for simpler process controls is well known in the industry, and it is the reason behind the development of products EFI Monarch Mailing, an award-winning component in the Monarch-based EFI Enterprise Print Productivity Suite ERP platform. It was developed specifically for

NICK BENKOVICH is Senior Director, Portfolio Product Management, EFI Productivity Software. www.MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2016

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APPLICATION ARTICLE

Growth Opportunity for Mailers: Changes in Address Quality Requirements for Parcels Right now, the single largest growth opportunity in mailing is parcels. Many mailing-oriented businesses are looking for ways to diversify into this space. This makes it even more important to be aware of USPS® requirements that will affect the future of this business area. The Postal Service™ is known for delivering packages to the doorsteps of America no matter where that doorstep may be. But that delivery comes with a cost, and for parcel mailers that cost may be going up. Starting July 2016, Parcel mailers that are not able to DPV® (Delivery Point Validation) verify their delivery addresses all the way to the doorstep will be paying more. DPV became a required component of CASSTM (Coding Accuracy Support System) certification in 2007. With the addition of DPV, the mailing industry has the ability to confirm if a specific address is a valid delivery point or not. The primary USPS dataset that is used for CASS is a range-based. This range-based data has the ability to identify if a given address falls within a valid range of addresses, but not if that actual delivery point exists or not. Addressing best practices is not a new topic to CASS certified software providers, mail service providers, and mailers that work with letter and flat size mail. However, this has not been the case for parcel mailers, and the Postal Service has been aggressively raising the bar regarding accurate addressing. Satori postal experts, including Senior Director of Postal Affairs Bob Schimek, have a key industry leadership role at MTAC where these new requirements are being discussed. Satori is working with MTAC and the mailing industry to make sure this technology gap is understood by the Postal Service.

Changes Are Coming The USPS will be implementing a requirement that the 11-digit delivery point ZIP™ or delivery address must DPV validate for all competitive parcel products. The threshold will begin at 89% in July and increase over time, eventually reaching 95% by January 2018. In the letter and flat world there is no penalty for an address that does not DPV verify, but for parcels the Postal Service is

proposing a 20 cent penalty for every package that exceeds the threshold. With current validation rates for the industry at only 87%, the additional cost of incomplete addresses will start to add up quickly. Satori Software’s address correction software allows mailers assess and improve the quality of their delivery addresses to avoid the additional USPS non-compliance fees. Validation can be implemented up-front, at the point of data input, or steps can be taken to perform the required validation after order submission and before order fulfillment. No matter how you process your address data, now is the time to get a system in place to be sure you comply. As a CASSTM certified vendor, Satori brings over 30 years of experience providing mailing solutions, and is well positioned to help you get ahead and avoid the potential fines.

www.satorisoftware.com sales@satorisoftware.com


Mailing Systems Technology Jan/Feb 2016  

Mailing Systems Technology Jan/Feb 2016

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