serves as a reminder to pay. We know the strong statistics that tell us paper statements and invoices in most cases are opened and carefully read. Using Informed Delivery, marketing materials can be included with transactional mail into what we used to call transpromo, similar to the printed messaging on the statements or the flyers inserted into paper envelopes. A link to a URL can be added to suggest a quick and easy way to submit a payment. In another case, while different age groups have different preferences, consider that according to the USPS, 47% of Millennials, born 1977-1995, check their physical mailbox each day and consider reviewing their direct mail a leisurely activity. They pay attention to customized messaging and, while many of them browse online and/or check online for customer reviews of products, restaurants, entertainment options, and more, they often make their purchases through other channels, including in person at retail stores. Combining print with digital content for direct mail campaigns through the use of QR codes, short links, and scannable coupons appeals to the multichannel preferences of Millennials, a group that spends over $600 billion annually.
provide a link to a URL so consumers can fulfill a call to action with a single click. For example, by customizing content in this way, it is possible to supply a clickable coupon that can be used with online storefront purchases, as well as a physical coupon to be used in-store — both of which can increase consumer engagement and sales. Informed Visibility Mail Tracking & Reporting (IV-MTR) offers mailers almost real-time visibility as mail travels throughout the mail stream by providing information like individual household delivery times. IV-MTR can be applied to First-Class mail, periodicals, and Third-Class standard mail that is barcoded. It provides a fast and accurate way to gain insight into how well campaigns are working. Retailers can time direct mail pieces to arrive just before the busiest shopping day of the week or the day a promotion begins. Additionally, they can coordinate sending associated follow up communications via other media channels, such as emails and SMS, for delivery near the same time as the physical mail pieces. Direct Mail Comeback As noted above, the COVID-19 pandemic was not kind to the USPS or for direct mail. Uncertainty accompanied the pandemic because no one knew or could predict its
impact on everyday life, including working conditions, shopping activity, and supply chains for all types of products. Many storefronts closed or restricted their hours, while many consumers turned to online retailers like Amazon for their needs. However, statistics show that direct mail still remains an effective marketing vehicle, offering a response rate that is five to nine times greater than email, paid search, or social media. One reason might be that printed information, especially when colorful, engaging images are incorporated, can invoke a more thoughtful, even emotional response versus email or SMS notifications. Additionally, with paper mail there are no spam filters, junk folders, or ad blockers to prevent delivery. Physical + Digital Content Mail Launched in 2017 and currently with more than 20 million residential consumer household subscribers, Informed Delivery provides organizations the opportunity to reach these potential customers with digital content plus physical documents to better fulfill both the customer’s and the mailer’s expectations. For example, for transactional documents, many consumers prefer receiving a paper bill over an email notification because the paper
Getting Back to Work As the pandemic appears to be winding down, direct marketers will be returning to work, even if they decide to continue working remotely. As they formulate plans and design new campaigns, multichannel marketing will definitely be on their agendas and the USPS’s Informed Delivery and Informed Visibility platforms can be an effective part of that. ListGiant, which focuses on email marketing, claims that by reaching a customer through multiple channels, the customer is 400 times more likely to respond. In addition to its 20 million subscribers, the Informed Delivery platform is adding 500,000 new subscribers per month. Reaching these consumers is an opportunity organizations can’t afford to ignore, particularly when Informed Delivery provides customers an easy and effective way to respond to a campaign’s call to action. With this platform, the USPS can help do what every company is striving to do: Provide the right data, at the right time, to the right people — those who can make business decisions and accelerate their customer experience strategy. Kemal Carr is president of Madison Advisors, an independent analyst and market research firm that addresses the needs of the electronic and print customer communications management marketplace. Visit www. Madison-Advisors.com for more information. MailingSystemsTechnology.com | JULY-AUGUST 2021
Mailing Systems Technology July/August 2021