Mailing Systems Technology March/April 2022

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Dispersed Workforce? Digitally Deliver Their Mail! Tritek 'Oasis' Digital Mail System

Opening, Scanning, Imaging, and Sorting Mail

• Digital Mail improves the management of high-value mail • Digital Mail reduces labor • Digital Mail is trackable • Digital Mail improves efficiency • Automatic scanning for checks • Digital Mail is GREEN





DEPARTMENTS 05 Editor's Note

Postal Reform... Finally? By Amanda Armendariz

06 Real-Life Management Measure What Matters! By Wes Friesen

08 Inkjet Info


The Power of Color: Emerging Technologies in the Direct Mail Space


By Karen Kimerer

10 Strategy and Culture Connection Forget Decision Trees! Utilize Tree Decisions to Drive Progress

By Bruce Gresham

12 Postal Insights

Still Obligated After All These Years By Leo Raymond


14 The Trenches 16 What Would Ben Franklin Do?

Making the environmental case for paper

By Kathi Rowzie

18 Move Update: Understanding Your NCOALink, ACS, and ASE Options

Choose the USPS-approved method of address quality that’s right for you and your mailings

By Greg Brown

20 Three Critical Steps to Securing Hybrid Mail Centers and Managing Cybersecurity Risk By Mike Sanders



22 Data Quality and the Customer Experience By Ken Kucera

26 Handwritten Mail Pieces: The Answer to Customer Satisfaction & a More Robust Mail Stream?

B2B Direct Mail

By Mike Porter

15 Software Byte

The Move Update Standard – Sometimes Compliance Isn’t Easy

By Bill Marsh

24 Say What?

By David Wachs

28 The Future of Business Mail By Adam Lewenberg

SPONSORED CONTENT 25 Is Inkjet the Answer?

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! EDITOR’S NOTE VOLUME 35, ISSUE 2 MAGAZINE STAFF President Chad Griepentrog Publisher Ken Waddell Editor Amanda Armendariz Contributing Writers Greg Brown, Wes Friesen, Bruce Gresham, Karen Kimerer, Ken Kucera, Adam Lewenberg, Bill Marsh, Mike Porter, Leo Raymond, Kathi Rowzie, Mike Sanders, David Wachs Audience Development Manager Rachel Chapman Advertising Ken Waddell 608.235.2212


Design Kelli Cooke

MadMen3 PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098 Tel: 608.241.8777 Fax: 608.241.8666 Email:

SUBSCIRBE Subscribe online at 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 Online at REPRINT SALES ReprintPro 949.702.5390 All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2022 by MadMen3 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, MadMen3 or its staff becomes property of MadMen3. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of MadMen3 or Mailing Systems Technology. MadMen3 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 35 Issue 2] is published six times per year (January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December) by MadMen3, PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098, 608-241-8777. Periodical postage paid at Madison WI and additional offices. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: Mailing Systems Technology PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098


n March, the Senate passed the bipartisan Postal Reform Act of 2022. While, on the surface, this bill seems to address many issues that have plagued the United States Postal Service over the past decade-plus, it unfortunately is not quite the comprehensive reform act that many in our industry were hoping for. I have been perusing many industry information sources and discussions on LinkedIn over the past few days, and it seems that many are disappointed that this bill didn’t live up to expectations. On the bright side, it does remove the pre-funding requirement, which, thanks to the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, required the USPS to pre-fund future retiree health benefits. This often put the organization in the unfortunate position of posting significant losses, even though it would have turned a profit without that requirement. Instead, future retirees will be required to enroll in Medicare. On the operational side of things, the bill continues the sixday delivery standard via an “integrated package and mail services network” and mandates greater transparency on performance (with information available on a website accessible by the general public); reform of flats processing; and the inclusion of the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) in the appointment of the USPS Inspector General (this is obviously not an all-inclusive list).

Some of these points are a bit murky. For example, the public website that will allow greater transparency sounds like a plus, but the USPS already publishes reports detailing its delivery statistics. And, as we covered in the January/February issue, the statistics shared are sometimes cherry-picked, so the helpfulness of this website remains to be seen. Furthermore, the integrated package and mail services network mentioned in the bill is simply another way of saying that the revenue (and twice-yearly rate increases) from First-Class and Marketing Mail will continue to subsidize package deliveries, even though mail volumes continue to drop year-over-year. So while the removal of the pre-funding requirement should certainly be lauded, it’s no surprise that many in our industry are lamenting the lack of any other significant postal reform (especially with respect to the universal service obligation, which, as many point out, continues to remain undefined). It will be interesting to see how these changes play out for mailers and the USPS alike. As always, thanks for staying connected with Mailing Systems Technology. | MARCH-APRIL 2022





ighly respected management guru Peter Drucker counseled, “What gets measured gets managed and improved.” This speaks to the importance of carefully measuring only what really matters. We need to set and measure performance metrics that drive the results that are most important to our teams and the broader organization. Done well, our relevant performance measures can help improve the performance of our teams, inspire our team members, provide a common focus, and allow us to track progress. The end result we are pursuing is to select the right measures and set the right targets. Here are 10 guidelines that can help: 1. Tie performance measures to organization objectives (aka goals). Ideally, there are a few very important objectives that our teams are focused on supporting. An important concept is that, sometimes, “less is more.” If we have too many measures, people get distracted, confused, and the most important measures can lose some focus. The key objectives define WHAT is to be achieved. Good objectives are significant, concrete, action-oriented, and ideally inspirational. Strategies and the associated performance measures benchmark and monitor HOW we get to the objective. 2. Address stakeholder needs. As objectives and performance measures are being developed, consider the “Right Questions” approach, which focuses on the critical few things by which to judge our performance results. Put ourselves in the shoes of our key stakeholders



(investors, customers, employees) and ask what is important to them. We should develop “balanced” measures of success. Effective teams add value to all important stakeholders and avoid a singular focus (e.g., being low cost) to the detriment of other important outcomes (e.g., high quality). Following are potential types of measures to consider. For each measure that gets used, we should have a target to compare actual results against:  Productivity (productivity is simply a measure of goods/services produced divided by resources used)  Quality (e.g., reliability, accuracy, mistake-free, meets requirements, etc.)  Volume (how much is being produced?)  Timeliness (are work products completed when needed?)  Service (are customers satisfied with the service they receive?)  Compliance (are postal regulations, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, and other regulations being met?)  Cost (e.g., measure overall costs and/ or cost per unit)  Safety (e.g., lost work days; OSHA recordables)  Environmental (e.g., incidents) 3) Solicit participation from your team members. Leadership expert Warren Bennis counseled, “Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.” We should involve our team

members as much as we reasonably can. By doing so, we gain buy-in and will end up with a better quality result. I also like this quote from Steve Jobs: “We don’t hire smart people to tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” 4. Have some stretch in the performance measure targets. Research has shown that it is important for targets to have some stretch, but at the same time be realistic. Specifically, research by Harvard University and the University of Michigan found that the degree of motivation and effort rises until the expectancy of success reaches 50%, then begins to fall. The key to maximize motivation, effort, and performance is to have targets that are neither too easy nor considered too hard (unrealistic) to attain. 5. Avoid the activity trap. Peter Drucker warned against what he called the “activity trap,” which is focused on activity versus being focused on the end outputs. Drucker said, “Stressing output is the key to increasing productivity, while looking to increase activity can result in just the opposite.” 6. Seek measurable data. Quality guru W. Edwards Deming famously quipped, “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” As we define our relevant and important measures, it’s advantageous to find ways to objectively measure our results whenever possible. That being said, keep in mind the Albert Einstein quote, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” There are times when a subjective assessment (e.g., evaluate on a scale of one to five) can make sense. 7. Promote transparency. We want to broadly share our targeted performance measures and our actual results with team members and others. Assuming our team members had input and buy-in to the measures, by broadly communicating, we promote accountability. We also have the potential to build a performance-minded culture where the concept of “success breeds success” thrives. Daniel Pink, author of Drive, speaks to this when he wrote: “The single greatest motivator is ‘making progress in one’s work.’ The days that people make progress are the days they feel most motivated and engaged.” There are many different methods for sharing the actual results of our measures versus the targets. For example, we can


prepare hardcopy reports to distribute; display hardcopy posters or post on a bulletin board; provide electronic reports, digital dashboards, or displays; or any other means that resonates with our teams. We can communicate numbers and/or graphics, and consider color-coding results as red, yellow, and green. Whatever methods we choose, making time to discuss as a team is also essential to promote accountability and stimulate motivation and engagement. 8. Stay flexible. Reality, as we know, is that “life happens” in both our personal lives and in our business lives and worlds. When unexpected things happen (like a once-a-century global pandemic!), we need to be flexible in both our objectives and our related performance measures. 9. Periodically evaluate and analyze. Keeping our performance measures relevant is essential to maximize our value added to the organization and our key stakeholders. One tactic to maintain relevance is to periodically take time to evaluate how well the performance measures are contributing to the success of our teams and the broader organization. We should also periodically evaluate the reasonableness of the

targets, and our actual results against the targets. Since circumstances sometimes change, so should our measures and/or targets sometimes change. 10. Integrate into a continuous performance management system. John Doerr has written an excellent book called, Measure What Matters. I recommend the book for anybody that wants to go deeper on this topic of objectives and performance measures. One interesting approach that Doerr describes is continuous performance management. The main concept is that instead of only relying on annual performance reviews as has been customary, we should practice continuous performance management. The heart of this approach involves using CFRs: Conversations: authentic, richly textured exchanges between manager and employee, aimed at driving performance. Feedback: bidirectional feedback between manager and employee, and between peers, to evaluate performance progress and guide future improvement. Recognition: expressions of appreciation to deserving individuals for contributions of all sizes.

Here is a closing quote from author Pearl Zhu, which summarizes the ideal performance measure: “Every measure selected should be part of a link of cause-and-effect relationships, and ultimately affect the growth and long-term perspectives of the organization.” Let’s measure what matters and reap the rewards to our teams and organization!  Wes Friesen (MBA, EMCM, CMDSM, MCOM, MDC, OSPC, CCE, CBF, CBA, ICP, CMA, CFM, CM, APP, PHR, CTP) is a proven leader and developer of high-performing teams and has extensive experience in both the corporate and non-profit worlds. He is also an award-winning university instructor and speaker, and is the President of Solomon Training and Development, which provides leadership, management and team building training. He serves as the Industry Co-Chair of the Greater Portland PCC. His book, Your Team Can Soar!, has 42 valuable lessons that will inspire you and give you practical pointers to help you — and your team — soar to new heights of performance. Your Team Can Soar! can be ordered from or (under Book) or an online retailer. Wes can be contacted at or at 971.806.0812. | MARCH-APRIL 2022





n a competitive marketplace, the secret to success is delivering what your customers need and doing it better than anyone else. To maintain a leadership position in your industry, you must keep an eye on the progression of the products and services that you deliver. Here’s a good example: Consider the difference between a direct mail campaign 10 years ago versus one today. Although they were available, features like personalization, full-color printing, and relevant messaging were not affordable for many marketers a decade ago. Thanks to ongoing technological advancements as well as the increasing need to treat each prospect and customer as an individual, direct mail campaigns still hold an important place in the overall marketing mix. Even so, many marketers still question the value of a direct mail investment and really don’t understand how to give their direct mail pieces a proper makeover. Fortunately, many of the barriers to high returns and high engagement have been removed, and a new wave of powerful direct mail trends has surfaced. Let’s take a look at a few. More Is Not Always Better! Mail volumes reached their peak in 2006, but they have been steadily declining ever since. At the same time, however, Statista notes that US direct mail volumes experienced a slight bump last year; 70.22 million direct mail pieces were delivered in 2021, compared 8


to 67.05 million pieces in 2020. This represents a year-over-year increase of 4.7%. Given the widespread belief that digital marketing is the only way forward, a modest increase in direct mail volumes is an important piece of data. What this uptick really indicates is that brand owners recognize the opportunity that direct mail can provide. For that reason, it might seem logical to continue with the tried-and-true direct mail practices... but not so fast! The way in which you approach an opportunity makes all the difference in the outcome. According to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, a pioneer in computer science, “the most dangerous phrase in our language is ‘we’ve always done it that way.’” As we consider the evolving needs of today’s consumers, there has never been a better time to rejuvenate direct mail. This is because volume, even increased volume, is not the primary indicator of effectiveness. A World of Color Disneyland’s renowned World of Color event takes place every night, wowing its audience with a multi-dimensional and emotional experience. Even if you don’t have Disney’s theatrics projected onto 1,200 water fountains, there is no question that color influences behavior. In today’s world, a color image is often more desirable than a basic black and white one. For marketers, the use of color can create powerful reactions from the intended audience. A study

completed by Digital Information World confirms that 93% of buyers focus on physical appearance when purchasing a product. Color is a component of physical appearance, and this insight can be transferred to direct mail. Before we explore today’s key trends in direct mail, let’s consider the role that color plays in marketing. Brands of all sizes have been successfully using color to create demand for their products for decades, and specific colors can evoke certain responses. For example:  Red creates urgency, causes excitement, and is widely used to point to a call to action.  Blue is a steadfast, no-nonsense shade that represents trust, peace, and intelligence.  Yellow captures our attention more than any other color. It is widely used to establish feelings of happiness and optimism.  Green points to goodwill and environmental responsibility. Because it is the color of money, it can also represent wealth or financial security.  Orange is often used to evoke feelings of ambition, originality, and new beginnings.  Although it can represent frivolity or whimsy, pink is also associated with joy, kindness, and love.  Brown is an earthy tone that makes customers feel welcomed, calm, and at home with their surroundings.  Purple is often associated with royalty, prestige, and extravagance.  Finally, metallic tones like gold and silver can lend a touch of elegance. They are considered prestigious and can elevate the perception of status, wealth, and power. Just a few years ago, many marketers were struggling to justify the cost of fullcolor direct mail. Even with the onset of digital presses, four-color click charges made many projects cost-prohibitive. On top of that, it was nearly impossible to add specialty features like gold, silver, neon colors, or textures at a price that brand owners were willing to pay. Today’s ongoing technological innovations are changing all of that. Each year, Keypoint Intelligence’s forecast data compares color and black and white print volumes. Today’s larger production printers with special inkjet capabilities are more affordable than ever and offer solid financial returns. As


the production market (and specifically inkjet technology) matures, a natural shift from offset to digital will cause color print volumes to grow. By 2022, color impressions are expected to exceed black & white (see Figure 1). Specialty printing capabilities (e.g., color embellishments, unique finishing, and engaging digital enablers) and personalization are expected to be used even more as the digital and physical worlds continue to align. Today’s brands can now deliver mail embedded with the technology to take their audience online at a reasonable cost. This will also drive larger color print volumes. The Bigger Picture Marketing and advertising space are often sold by the size of the banner, message, or pop-up. Direct mail is similar — the larger the mailed piece, the higher the investment. Even so, the landscape changed last year when the United States Postal Service (USPS) increased the size allowance for First-Class postcards. The end result was that marketers gained nearly 72% more space to tell their story and elicit a call to action. This is big — literally — especially when you consider the opportunities to create better, more engaging marketing messages. In addition to the expanded real estate marketers have in consumers’ mailboxes, the USPS’s 2022 promotional calendar offers incentives to use immersive marketing methods. One specific promotion allows for discounts when a direct mail piece uses specialty inks.

When you are working with your clients, understand that any conversations about these new techniques must expand beyond technical specifications and cost per piece. To attract interest, you must be able to articulate why it is important to deviate from business-as-usual direct mail. If you don’t answer the “so what?” question, you’ll likely encounter “who cares?” responses. As noted earlier, color can translate to power and value. When used correctly, color can enhance engagement and increase the merit of the mailed piece. If you’re familiar with the other USPS promotions, you’ll see the intended interplay between print and technology. Direct mail incentives that include augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality make it possible for marketers to take their messaging to the next level. With proper planning, they can deliver much more than ink on paper. Today’s trends enable marketers to engage an audience with sight, sound, and touch. There is a natural hesitation in trying new things, and this is something that remains a challenge for many marketers as well as the print service providers who support them. Understanding how consumers engage with direct mail can give you the confidence to do things differently. According to Keypoint Intelligence’s research, certain techniques are more likely to prompt recipients to engage with direct mail. The use of full-color (not black and white) ranked as the number-one technique,

followed by inclusion of a perforated coupon/ticket and the use of high-quality photographs. You can see the entire chart at PowerofColor. These days, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a black & white direct mail piece invoking excitement, joy, prestige, or kindness. Perhaps that’s why so many consumers report that full color or specialty colors prompt them to engage with direct mail. The Bottom Line As businesses begin to stabilize following the intense disruption of COVID-19, marketers must seek new ways to connect with their customers and prospects. As print providers, it is our responsibility to generate awareness about the value that print can deliver. Even in today’s digital world, direct mail can help address the most pressing business needs while generating additional revenue. Progress is the opposite of status quo, and it’s up to you to paint the picture of your future!  Karen Kimerer of Keypoint Intelligence has experienced the many challenges of expanding current market opportunities and securing new business. She has developed a systematic approach to these opportunities, addressing the unique requirements of becoming a leader in our changing industry. She is wellversed in 1:1 marketing, web-to-print, direct mail, book publishing, supply chain management, data segmentation, channel integration, and photo products. | MARCH-APRIL 2022





aximizing every 15-minute block of time is critical to the success of a business owner. If business owners and leaders managed their time and energy as closely as they did the balance sheet, there would be less burnout and improved mental health. More importantly, additional time could be focussed on the critical things in the business — and in life — that drive long-term success, like working to build a sustainable culture and ensuring you arrive on time to the next family event. Too often, business owners place too much on their own shoulders and do not empower other leaders to make decisions. Most companies have used a decision tree, or flowchart, to determine when a decision needs to be made within a business. Instead, a great way to empower others, and to remove undo burden on an owner, is to determine who makes certain types of decisions. This is where “Tree Decisions” come into play.



Identifying Leaf, Branch, Trunk, & Root Decisions To segment the four types of decisions that are made within the business, visualize your business as a tree (see the image on the following page). In this model, there are four types of decisions: Leaf, Branch, Trunk, and Root.

Too often, business owners place too much on their own shoulders and do not empower other leaders to make decisions. Leaf Decisions: When you pick a leaf off a tree, does it faze the tree? Of course not. Leaf decisions are those that if made incorrectly, and the leaf dies, would not

harm the business. These decisions should be able to be made and acted upon by a front-line lead, supervisor, or manager without having to be reported up the chain. In a mail shop, this could be using a different type of No. 10 envelope if stock depletes, or it could be whether to move one job ahead of another. Branch Decisions: It is more noticeable when a branch is missing, but the tree will still thrive. These decisions should be made by a manager, but what makes them different from leaf decisions is that when a decision is made and acted upon, it is reported either daily, weekly, monthly, etc. to leadership depending upon how critical the decision is to an operation. The most common type of branch decision we see owners involved in is digging into the weeds of a small- to medium-sized customer proposal. That’s a no-no. The sales team should have the guidelines and autonomy to make those decisions. Trunk Decisions: Now if significant damage occurs to the trunk of the tree, bad outcomes can occur. Therefore, here is where the owner or senior leadership team should become involved. The front-line manager should make a decision but speak to senior leader(s) before acting so the owner can provide clarity or different options. Note, the decision is still in the manager’s hands, but there is a checkpoint in place with the owner to ensure nothing terrible occurs. Root Decisions: Here is where the decision stays with the owner, and that is non-negotiable. If you kill a main root or enough smaller roots, you can kill the tree. Decisions that have a severe financial impact, change the culture, or impact safety are some of the most critical root decisions. How To Implement Tree Decisions For one month, keep a running tally of all the decisions made by the owner or senior leaders. Also track how much time was spent on the decision and how many people were involved. Determine which decisions should have been made without senior leaders, and how critical those decisions are to the business. This will enable you to identify and categorize the leaf, branch, and trunk decisions.


The business owner should write down five or six root decisions that should reside at that level. With all your types of decisions categorized, place them into the graphic provided and share throughout your culture. It will take 45-60 days for the concept to stick with the team. You will also find that in the gray areas, there will be some team laughter and goofing off like, “Well, that was a twig decision, not a leaf or branch.” Find joy in the process with your team, and take back the 20-25 extra hours per month that we find business owners save themselves when implementing this methodology.  Bruce Gresham and the team at Applied Vision Works (www. use practical methods to help business owners, leaders, and teams reach their goals faster. Connect via 704.726.6728, bgresham@appliedvisionworks. com or via LinkedIn by scanning the QR code at left with your smartphone camera. | MARCH-APRIL 2022





pologies to Paul Simon for borrowing his song title, but it seems to fit our favorite federal agency. Just as Simon had moved from nostalgia into colder emotions, the Postal Service has evolved from an unquestionably essential service into one that’s slowly being marginalized by factors beyond its control. And like Paul Simon, it’s still burdened with baggage from its earlier days. As every civics student learns, the US Constitution includes a clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 7) empowering Congress “to establish post offices and post roads.” Over the 23 decades since it was written, that seven-word phrase has become the basis for developing, first, the cabinet-level Post Office Department, and then, as of 1970, the independent Postal Service, but the fundamental assignment remains unchanged. As now codified in Title 39, US Code, section 101: “The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people.” This principle, combined with other statutory provisions, is expressed in the Universal Service Obligation.

Though there’s no verbatim explanation of the USO in federal law, it’s commonly interpreted to mean delivery of mail to all addresses in the nation, and physical access to postal services for citizens everywhere: six-day delivery and post offices in all communities. Obviously, America in 2022 isn’t as it was in 1789 — or even in 1989 — and the biggest difference that’s impacted the USPS is changes in communication.

reduced the volume of mail being carried and, accordingly, the revenue being generated — especially by higher-margin First-Class Mail — that’s needed to pay for USO services. Meanwhile, the delivery of packages — only recently a serious focus for the Postal Service — has become well-served by private sector companies built specifically for that function. Usually, the postal monopolies are seen as the corollary to the USO. Revenue generated by the Postal Service’s exclusive rights to carry “actual and personal correspondence” (usually interpreted as addressed letter mail, like First-Class Mail) and to access recipients’ mailboxes was supposed to offset the costs of the USO — especially providing the required services even if they’re not self-sustaining. Unfortunately, it’s arguable that the equation that worked for decades isn’t any longer, and is getting increasingly unbalanced. So What Happened? Today, there’s less mail, representing less postage revenue, being delivered to more places; access to postal services — or any services for that matter — no longer means going to a physical outlet (shopping during the pandemic proved that). Nonetheless, the USO remains in place, even as the mechanism to finance it is becoming less relevant and effective. In turn, this is undermining the ability of the Postal Service to be self-supporting. The majority of the mail in the USPS system is commercially-produced, paid for by transactional mailers, advertisers, or shippers sending items to individuals. The majority of the cost is for the infrastructure to process and deliver that mail. None of it is borne by the people who get the mail — delivery is free. The volume of mail being sent by individuals — full-rate First-Class or packages — is far too small to support the system that gets it to addressees. The problem for the Postal Service is simple: commercial mailers now have alternatives to sending hard-copy messages that didn’t exist — or weren’t sufficiently robust — 30 or 40 years ago. As their postage spend decreases, it’s not supplanted by other funding sources

Obviously, America in 2022 isn’t as it was in 1789 – or even in 1989 – and the biggest difference that’s impacted the USPS is changes in communication.



Smartphones now put every user in touch with not only every other user but with all the information available through the internet — virtually instantaneously. Texting, email, and other electronic exchanges of information have seriously undermined the use of admittedly slower paper correspondence. In turn, this has


— certainly not by retail mailers — yet the cost of the postal system continues and grows over time. Every year, as part of its annual report to Congress, the Postal Regulatory Commission estimates the costs of the USO — things required of the USPS that would not be done by a private business — and the value of the postal monopolies. In its report for FY2021 (October 2020 through September 2021), the PRC stated that, for FY2020 (the most recent year for which the data was available), the USO’s cost was $5.9 billion — up from $5.78 billion in FY2019 and $5.41 billion in FY2018. At the same time, the PRC estimated that the postal monopolies’ value as $4.68 billion in FY2020, down from $5.66 billion in FY2019 and $5.56 billion in FY2018. These figures strongly suggest that, while the USO and monopolies once served their public policy purposes, the formula is failing. In a business sense, it would be logical to rethink the continued need for a USO and the utility of the monopolies, but business has nothing to do with any of it. The

USPS is a service established as a governmental function that was assumed would be supported by its customers. What it’s become, however, is a mandated function supported by a subset of senders of mail, not by the recipients. Worse, those senders have alternatives whose use further drains away revenue needed by the USPS to pay for the costs of what it’s required to do. No matter who looks at this situation, it’s clearly not sustainable. The solution being implemented by the current postmaster general is to simply raise prices, but such an approach assumes — fatally to its objective — that ratepayers will comply, and not move their messages out of the mail (see the note in your next credit card statement about getting your bill electronically). Having that non-mail alternative undermines the Postal Service’s ability to cover its costs. Looking at all of this justifies consideration of a fundamental question: has the USO/postal monopolies equation become obsolete? Ending or modifying either would, presumably, require ending or modifying the other. In the end, however,

it might be best to go back to the start: the postal system was established as a public service. Therefore, should the cost of that service not be borne in some part by the public? As it is now, the majority of the cost is being carried by commercial senders who have alternatives to the mail, and who are increasingly incentivized to leave it as the PMG pushes postage costs higher. Obviously, these are trendlines heading to serious problems. It’s reasonable to believe that mail volume will continue to shrink, USPS costs will grow, and postage — if seen as the only source of revenue — will be increasingly unaffordable and unattractive to commercial mailers. A tipping point is unavoidable — and then what? Perhaps it’s time, if not to rethink the USO and the monopolies, at least how to support a Constitutionally-established public service. Whether America’s leaders will ever have the courage to face that challenge remains to be seen.  Leo Raymond is Owner and Managing Director at Mailers Hub LLC. He can be reached at | MARCH-APRIL 2022





2B companies have long relied on email and in-person events for lead generation. The pandemic changed all that. The glut of emails businesspeople now receive every day makes it difficult for organizations to get their electronic communications noticed. I get 50-100 business emails every day. Most of them are ignored, deleted, or marked as spam. I’ll never find enough time to open them all. In-person opportunities to meet with prospective customers have also disappeared. Though a few in-person events are beginning to re-emerge, many show organizers cancelled events, transitioned to virtual, or reduced the size of their shows. It’s not clear if B2B conferences and shows will draw the same number of attendees they did before COVID-19. Lower attendance will make it tougher for companies to justify spending the money to take part as speakers and exhibitors. Those of us in the mailing business know the solution, of course: direct mail! We can talk about direct mail’s superior conversion rates and the ability for mail pieces to stand out in the uncrowded postal mailbox. Physical mail has other advantages that I’ve mentioned in previous columns. B2B Direct Mail for Today Direct mail may indeed be the answer, but it’s time to talk to customers about B2B



mail that differs from the campaigns marketers relied upon for the last 20 years. One of the first areas to consider is the mailing list. Customers know that direct mail costs much more to produce and deliver than electronic messaging. With material shortages, rising postage rates, and inflation, these costs will continue to rise. Convincing customers to spend their money on direct mail can be a challenge. You can help your customers afford direct mail by trimming those mailing lists. Do everything possible to ensure that addresses are deliverable. In some industries, businesses closed because of the pandemic and many of them haven’t re-opened. Purge as many of those closed businesses from the mailing list as possible. Also, access third-party data to qualify the businesses that appear on the mailing list. Make sure they match your customer’s criteria as a viable prospect for them. Trim the List and Integrate Channels List-reducing actions will lower the number of pieces you ultimately print and mail and decrease revenue. However, by doing so, you get to preserve the job and increase the ROI of the campaign, increasing the chances of running more campaigns and securing work to handle follow-up mailings or fulfillment. Direct mail marketing is not a standalone channel. Mail is a great way to get attention and spur someone to take

action, but it’s almost certain that the action is going to take place online. The great news is that the mail pieces can help to direct that action by providing QR codes, pURLs, or website addresses. Make it easy for new prospective business buyers to do the research you know they will do before ever thinking about placing an order. Also, make sure you can track each recipient’s activity. This will open the doors for follow-up activities and strengthen your pitch to manage more campaigns for your customers. COVID-Inspired Tactics Use digital printing presses and variable data to personalize mail pieces, making them relevant to vertical markets, geographical locations, and other variables. Add the recipient’s name if known, but also address mail pieces to the attention of the appropriate job title. Many employees left their jobs recently, and the mailing list you are using might be out of date. The actual person holding the position you want to reach within an organization in a B2B situation may be someone different from the name you have on file. You might also consider lengthening the intervals between mailings or other outbound messages. Some of those employees you want to reach may be working from home. It may take extra time for their physical mail to reach them. Don’t forget about the value you can add to a direct mail campaign at minimal cost to you. Track the mail with Informed Visibility to give your customers a view into when their mail will arrive at the destination addresses. For some applications such as fundraising, tracking the inbound reply mail may also be of value to your customers. This is an ideal time to talk to customers about the value of B2B direct mail. Just be sure you’re talking about the mail of today, not the nearly obsolete methods your customers may think of when you mention direct mail to them.  Mike Porter at Print/Mail Consultants helps his clients meet the challenges they encounter in document operations and creates informational content for vendors and service providers in the document industry. Follow @PMCmike on Twitter, send a connection request on LinkedIn, or contact Mike directly at



Editor’s Note: This column is a continuation of the topic discussed in the January/February issue.


he Move Update standard is a requirement of Full-Service mail to obtain postage discounts and can lead to assessments. Pre-mailing NCOALink and post-mailing ACS are methods of satisfying the Move Update standard and updating the source databases, which has to be done in a timely manner. Many transactional documents, packages, and marketing mail pieces are costly to produce. Ensuring that a current address is being used can cut down significantly on the chance that the piece of mail will be UAA (Undeliverable as Addressed). There are some key points to keep in mind regarding the NCOALink method. For mail service providers (MSPs) who submit eDocs with a customer’s mailing data, there are challenges with complying with the USPS Move Update standard in specific industries. Many companies mailing for the healthcare, insurance,

and financial services industries require consent before a permanent address

to use a more current address on their mailing. The other side of this is that running NCOALink takes time and resources from the MSP, especially if the MSP was given a print image file by their customer. Furthermore, the print image may need to be transformed to ensure that the new address is in the right spot on the document. The next part of running NCOALink at the MSP is to return new addresses to the source customer so they can update their database (requesting consent to update the address data of individuals when required). This could be costly for the MSP, and costs may be passed back to their customers. There are scenarios where customers provide an MSP name and address data that does not have current addresses. Also, the customer may not allow the MSP to perform any new address updates. When the MSP submits the eDoc under their own CRID, the MSP could end up above the .5% threshold, collectively, if new addresses are not applied in a timely manner. Charging back to customers can be time-consuming and difficult to track. Tools are available that allow the MSP to view any new addresses not applied in a timely manner and track it back to the customer who gave them the source name and address data, allowing them to charge them back for assessments. The best practice for any name and address database is to make sure the address is correct, complete (including secondary address data), and current. NOTE: For Seamless mailers, address changes not applied may create Seamless Undocumented redirection (barcode ID 93) pieces in IV-MQD (Informed Visibility Mail Quality Data) if the original piece before redirection was undocumented. Seamless mailers will not be assessed twice for an Undocumented mail piece in this scenario.

The best practice for any name and address database is to make sure the address is correct, complete (including secondary address data), and current. change may be applied to their internal databases. So, what is an MSP to do? Some may run NCOALink before printing, inserting, and mailing, but only if the customer the data originates from allows the MSP

Bill Marsh is Senior Product Manager at Windowbook. | MARCH-APRIL 2022


WHAT WOULD BEN FRANKLIN DO? Making the environmental case for paper By Kathi Rowzie


ail center professionals, who already operate in a challenging business environment, are increasingly faced with the task of responding to the popular, but scientifically flawed, narrative that the paper critical to their operations is somehow environmentally unsustainable. If this describes you, then Ben Franklin, father of the Postal Service and first US Postmaster General, offers some sage advice: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” In our increasingly digital world, knowledge — knowing the facts about the unique sustainability of paper — is a potent antidote to the common environmental myths used to justify replacing paper mail with electronic communications: that paper production and use destroys forests, is a major contributor to climate change, con-



sumes enormous amounts of water, and generates excessive amounts of waste. Whether you are the leader of an in-plant mailing operation or the CEO of a company delivering mailing solutions to customers around the globe, these “go paperless” conversations will eventually land on your doorstep, if they haven’t already. To demonstrate to your management, investors, customers, and other stakeholders that print on paper is a truly sustainable choice, both today and in the future, you need to be armed with the facts. Fortunately, there is an arsenal of data to help you make the case for the sustainability paper. Myth: Using paper causes deforestation and destroys forests In the United States, trees to make paper are grown, harvested, and regrown using

sustainable forest management practices that perpetuate infinitely renewable forestlands. While the paper industry was producing products that enrich the lives of consumers, net forestland area in the United States actually increased 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020, according to the latest Global Forest Resources Assessment by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). That’s an area equivalent to 1,200 NFL football fields every day! The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) reports that less than two percent of US forestland is harvested each year, compared with three percent that is disturbed annually by natural causes like fire, insects, and disease, and most of this two percent of harvested wood is used for non-paper purposes. Contrary to the myth that paper destroys forests, the production of paper products

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! is a powerful economic engine and driving force in keeping US lands forested. By providing a dependable market for responsibly grown fiber, the paper industry encourages landowners to manage their forestland instead of selling it for development or other non-forest uses. More than half (58%) of the forestland in the US is privately owned and managed, mostly by millions of small landowners, and they are under no obligation to keep their lands forested. Without the economic incentive provided by the paper industry, untold millions of acres of forestland would likely have been lost permanently to commercial land development — converted to building projects, strip malls, or parking lots. So, is deforestation in the US a real concern? Yes, but using paper is not the cause. The FAO defines deforestation as the permanent loss of forestland. In fact, the definition specifically excludes logging for the production of paper and other products because trees in these “working forests” are expected to grow back, either through natural regeneration or sustainable forestry practices. In the United States, the primary cause of forest loss is rapidly expanding urban development, according to the USFS. Myth: Paper is a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change According to the most recent data available from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the pulp and paper industry is responsible for only 0.5% of total annual US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These very low emissions are due to decades of energy efficiency and process improvements at US paper mills, and to the fact that the US paper industry generates two-thirds of the energy to manufacture its products using renewable, carbon-neutral fuels, primarily biomass. According to the EPA, the paper industry produces more carbon-neutral bioenergy than any other industrial sector, using mostly wood-based leftovers from the papermaking process. This bioenergy use prevents around 181 million metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year — roughly equivalent to removing 35 million cars from the road. Myth: Paper manufacturing consumes enormous amounts of water While it’s true that the paper industry uses large amounts of water to manufacture its products, most of that water is not consumed in the manufacturing process,

according to the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI). NCASI reports that water used in the papermaking process is recycled up to 10 times in a typical paper mill, and then nearly 90% of that water is cleaned to meet federal and state clean water standards before it is returned to its source. Most of the remaining water evaporates back into the environment, with around one percent retained in the manufactured paper. Myth: Paper generates excessive amounts of waste When it comes to circularity, the idea that products should be reused or recycled, paper has all other materials beat hands down. Thanks to the paper industry’s voluntary, multi-billion dollar investments in commercial paper recovery infrastructure and to the commitment of millions of organizations and individual Americans who choose to recycle every day, US paper recycling has nearly doubled over the past 20 years. At 68%, the EPA reports that the US paper recovery rate is higher than any other material in the country, including plastics (nine percent), glass (25%), and metals (34%). The recovery rate of corrugated cardboard is 89%. Myth: Electronic communication is better for the environment than paper The miniaturization of digital devices and the “invisibility” of the infrastructures needed to support them leads many to underestimate the environmental footprint of digital technology. This phenomenon is reinforced by the widespread availability of services on the “cloud,” which makes the physical reality of use and the direct environmental impacts of digital technology all the more imperceptible. Any organization considering a paperless strategy for sustainability reasons must recognize that digital technology places enormous and growing burdens on the environment. Here, too, the proof is in the data. First, consider the environmentally intensive drilling and mining required to extract source materials from the earth. Computers, tablets, and other electronic devices are made with non-renewable resources — fossil fuels, chemicals, precious metals, rare earth minerals, and toxic minerals like lead, mercury, and arsenic that are dangerous when released into the environment. Cisco, the worldwide leader in internet technology, projects that North America will have five billion networked devices

in 2023, up from three billion in 2018 — a 40% increase. Cisco also projects that the average per capita number of devices and connections in the US will reach 13.6 in 2023, far higher than the estimated 2023 global average of 3.6 devices per person. Electronic devices and the massive server farms that support them are powered using mostly fossil fuels (only 17% of US energy is generated from renewable sources). The Shift Project, a think tank focused on the shift to a post-carbon economy, reports that energy consumption for digital devices is increasing nine percent each year, and the share of digital technologies in global greenhouse gas emissions increased by half between 2013 and 2019, from 2.5% to 3.7%. A 2015 study (Andrae and Elder) estimates that the information technology sector could use as much as 51% of global electricity and contribute 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. And according to the most recent Global E-Waste Monitor report, electronic devices create nearly seven million metric tons of e-waste annually in the US, and only 15% of that e-waste is recycled. Most of the remaining e-waste is either burned, landfilled, or dumped. Paper: A Responsible Environmental Choice Digital technology has become an essential part of our everyday lives and is likely making beneficial contributions to your mailing operations, but it also has wide-ranging environmental impacts that continue to grow. While all manufacturing processes have an environmental footprint, the fact that paper is made with an infinitely renewable resource, is manufactured using mostly renewable, carbon-neutral energy, consumes very little water, is recyclable, and is recycled more than any other material, makes a strong case for its continued use.  Kathi Rowzie is President, Two Sides North America. Two Sides North America (twosidesna. org) is a non-profit organization whose members span the entire print, paper, paper-based packaging and mail value chain. Funded entirely by membership dues, Two Sides is the only industry organization that directly challenges unsubstantiated environmental claims about paper made by corporations, the media, government agencies, and others. Two Sides also supports its members with factual, science-based resources to supplement their own sustainability efforts. Learn how to join at | MARCH-APRIL 2022


MOVE UPDATE: UNDERSTANDING YOUR NCOALINK, ACS, AND ASE OPTIONS Choose the USPS-approved method of address quality that’s right for you and your mailings

By Greg Brown


ad addresses are costing businesses millions. More than 43 million Americans move each year, and outdated address lists can result in a letter, bill, package, or flat being undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA). For a mailer and their mail house, this is just bad business — starting with potential liability for financial penalties, along with poor customer communications, limited marketing effectiveness, lagging account receivables, and fewer sales.



Mailers or their service providers can avoid these problems by working in compliance with US Postal Service’s Move Update requirements — for example, checking a mailing list against the USPS’s National Change of Address (NCOALink) database. This will verify that a recipient on a mailing list has filed a change of address notice with the USPS and will note the new address as well, if it is available. Full-service providers are licensed to provide the previous 48 months of this data.

Why is NCOALink so cost-effective as a Move Update process? It is the only method that identifies UAA before a mailing. By helping mailers reduce UAA as well as the costs of wasted printing, packaging, and postage, it is green from end-to-end. But while NCOALink is critical, it is not the only method of updating moved recipients. Other USPS-approved methods include post-mailing options such as Address Change Services and Ancillary Endorsement Services — each with its own range of options that may impact mailer needs differently. Because undeliverable mail means wasted resources and lost opportunities, mailers should understand their options and prioritize their focus on address quality. NCOA — and Other Address Quality Processes — Matter to Mailers Correcting out-of-date addresses using NCOALink and other preapproved methods allows mailers to meet the USPS Move Update requirement for a 95-day period from the date of processing. These operations not only add value in reducing UAA mail but empower mailers to qualify for First-Class and Standard Mail discounts. Move Update is required to achieve USPS Marketing Mail, FirstClass presort letters and flats, and Parcel Select Lightweight. The costs associated with undeliverable mail can be severe. The Postal Service

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! leverages its Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) technology to check every address a mailer submits in bulk for accuracy. If only .5% of addresses are faulty, failing to mirror USPS change-of-address records beyond a certain cutoff point, the mailer can be charged an eight-cent fee on each bad address. The potential for thousands of dollars in penalties due to out-of-date mailing lists is tangible and extensive. Adding Value with Address Quality Methods Beyond NCOA The Postal Service’s Address Change Service (ACS), a post-mailing option, allows customers mailing First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, and Periodical flats or letters to receive electronic or automated address corrections using the Intelligent Mail barcode. This allows for the USPS to forward mail or notify mailers of a change-ofaddress electronically, provided the addressee submitted a change of address request with the Postal Service. ACS ultimately reduces the volume of printed address correction notifications handled by both the Postal Service and mailers; ACS options also centralize and automate the provision of address correction information to mailers. ACS is available for use with all classes of mail, and there are four distinct types of ACS options that meet Move Update standards:  OneCode ACS allows mailers to receive electronic address corrections using the Intelligent Mail barcode on First-Class, Marketing Mail, and Periodical Flat or Letter mailings.  Full-Service ACS is provided as an additional benefit for mail that qualifies for Full-Service discount postage prices and also relies on the Intelligent Mail barcode. Full-Service Mailers do not have to pay additional costs for Full-Service ACS.  IMpb ACS is requested through the Intelligent Mail Package barcode.  Traditional ACS allows customers to receive UAA notifications electronically, but the Intelligent Mail barcode is NOT required. Instead, a USPS-assigned Participant ID is required and an optional “keyline” may be printed in the address block of the mailpiece. Because ACS service options are automated, they benefit users by more easily reducing the volume of UAA mail. Manual or generally labor-intensive functions are eliminated, and users may choose when to retrieve fulfillment of time-sensitive information via a secure Internet site.

Ancillary Services Improve Addresses Continuously, Post-Mailing In most cases, ACS services must be combined with the USPS’s Ancillary Service Endorsements (ASE), which provide the Postal Service with instructions on how to handle mail if it does come back undeliverable as addressed. These options allow the sender to obtain, on request, the addressee’s new, forwarding address (if the addressee filed a change-of-address order with the Postal Service) or the reason for non-delivery.

The physical nature of mail stands out – welcomed by potentially displaced workers and as an efficient, customercentric channel for marketers – but only if it reaches the right door. Mailers may use one of four Move Update-compliant ASE options to request a notification of the addressee’s new address:  Address Service Requested ensures that whenever possible, the mail piece is forwarded to the new address. The mailer receives a separate notice with the new address and is charged a manual address correction fee. When forwarding is not possible, mail is returned to the mailer along with details of the reason behind the failed delivery. Only First-Class mail is returned at no additional charge; all other mail classes are charged postage and/or fees for the return of the piece. Because of these potential costs, this endorsement is not recommended for USPS Marketing Mail or Parcel Select Lightweight. (Weighted fees would be charged for returned mail, equal to the comparable First-Class mail postage, plus any non-machinable surcharges, multiplied by 2.472.)

 Change Service Requested provides address correction services without forwarding or return. If undeliverable, either the new address or the reason it is undeliverable is provided to the sender.  Return Service Requested (or Temp-Return Service Requested) provides address correction services and always (or temporarily) returns the piece. Here, mailers should be aware that undeliverable USPS Marketing Mail without an endorsement is disposed of by the Postal Service. Proper selection of endorsement is a crucial part of the address quality process, helping to ensure addresses are correct and current. It’s also important to note that ACS and ASE processes do not necessarily meet the Move Update requirement for the mailing since they are post-mailing methods. Yet they still deliver value, as mailers remain in compliance with Move Update requirements if they mail to customers at least once every 95 days using a post-mailing method, and update addresses to be used on the mail pieces prior to each next mailing. If new mail is sent more than 95 days after the last mailing or if this is the first time you mail to an address obtained other than directly from your addressee (in the last 95 days), mailers must use an approved method or mail the pieces at the single-piece First-Class Mail price. Also, mailers can always combine ACS and ASE with NCOALink processing to meet the Move Update method the first time used. Good Data Is Worth the Effort Correct addresses have always mattered, but now maybe more than ever. Is your target working from home or are they still at the office? Have they moved out of the city and into a different or more rural area? The physical nature of mail stands out — welcomed by potentially displaced workers and as an efficient, customer-centric channel for marketers — but only if it reaches the right door. On this landscape, address quality is the foundation to mailing success. Consider your options and choose the right tool or set of tools for better postage rates and USPS-compliant mail that gets delivered.  Greg Brown is vice president of global marketing for Melissa (, a provider of global data quality and address management solutions. Melissa is an NCOALink Full Service Provider licensee of the USPS and its MAILERS+4 postal automation software is USPS PAVE Gold certified. Connect with Greg at or LinkedIn. | MARCH-APRIL 2022




he past two years have tested the resilience of businesses in unprecedented ways, proving that change really is the only constant in life. COVID-19 transformed the “work-fromhome” option from an occasional perk to standard operating procedure. This has required businesses to quickly adapt their cybersecurity programs to accommodate a remote workforce and defend against increasingly sophisticated attacks from malicious actors. In response to the rise in teleworking, compliance requirements also became more stringent, requiring businesses to find novel ways to validate their teleworking controls. As offices reopen, organizations must grapple with the reality of a workforce that has become accustomed to the benefits of working from home. According to a recent Gallup poll, 91% of US remote employees want work-from-home options to continue once offices reopen. At the same time, teleworking has led to an explosion of cyber attacks, which increased from fewer than 5,000 per week in February 2020 to more than 200,000 per week three months later. The new hybrid workplace, while transforming post-pandemic operations, has vastly increased the number and type of threat vectors that can be used to instigate malicious attacks. The traditional approach of hardening the company premises with centralized IPS, firewall, anti-virus, and other defense mechanisms is no longer adequate as the corporate data network has expanded past the traditional brick and



mortar to include every work-from-home user and all of the workstations and networking infrastructure used to connect to the company network. In addition to securing and monitoring the mail center’s network, there is a critical need to manage and secure remote connections to company networks, which may originate from external internet service providers via non-company-managed devices. Providing guidance on the use of company resources in the home office, as well as on company premises, will also be key. Here are three steps every company needs to take: Define policies for hybrid work to promote a culture of compliance To navigate the challenges of a hybrid workforce, some companies have invested in expensive software that monitors employee activity, while others have resorted to video tours and screenshots to demonstrate the security of their teleworking controls. However, ongoing privacy concerns, limited resources, and practical barriers to monitoring employee activity limit the effectiveness of these solutions. To secure your mission-critical communications, you’ll need to develop robust policies and procedures surrounding acceptable use of company assets, bring your own device (BYOD), and remote access. If employees need to access company network resources or applications from a home office, make sure there are policies to address how to securely connect to your corporate network, including pro-

cedures for logging into your company’s VPN and procedures for use of multifactor authentication (MFA) tokens, if applicable. You’ll also want to define how and when employees can use company resources and cover restrictions on the use of personal email and cloud storage accounts. If employees handle print correspondence, emphasize the importance of protecting sensitive information by marking communications as confidential, concealing any sensitive information from public view, and clearly indicating the intended recipient. If you maintain any security certifications, be aware that increased reliance on a hybrid workplace is raising the bar on teleworking requirements. For example, the HITRUST CSF requires businesses that use teleworking to implement suitable protections to prevent unauthorized remote access, as well as theft of company equipment and information. Additional requirements include implementing multifactor authentication and verifying that remote offices comply with your company’s security policies and procedures. Foster a security-first mindset through training Training employees on effective security awareness is fundamental to ensuring everyone in the company understands and complies with your cybersecurity policies and procedures. Will employees be using smartphones to access the network? If so, provide instruction on how to use security-related apps

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! and configure mobile devices to comply with “deny all/allow by exception” policies for connecting to the corporate network. Providing training on detecting and preventing phishing incidents is also essential because all it takes is one careless click to compromise your company’s information systems and data. In case something does go wrong, everyone should know the following five actions to take as part of your incident response plan. Make sure employees know who to contact, what qualifies as a security incident or data breach, when to contact your incident response team, how to contact them, and where to find important information. Create and distribute comprehensive procedures for responding to common security incidents and train every employee on the steps involved. Everyone in the company should also know what to do if their computer is compromised, starting with disconnecting from the company network and unplugging a compromised system. Whatever you do, don’t rely on canned annual training sessions that merely rehash the same information from one year to the next. Keep your training relevant by incorporating what you’ve learned from recent

security events and gamify training through phishing simulations and other activities to provide employees with real-time experience responding to security incidents. Have a plan for identifying and responding to security risks Teaching everyone how to deal with security incidents is only half the battle. To protect your mail center network from the kind of malicious attack that derailed Colonial Pipeline, you also need to perform regular risk assessments and update your incident response and contingency plans. When conducting your risk analysis, identify any vulnerabilities related to remote access, BYODs, and mobile computing, and make sure your asset inventory includes all endpoints assigned to teleworking employees. Once you’ve updated your incident response and contingency plans using the results of your risk analysis, make sure you distribute these plans to each facility and member of your incident response team via digital and print channels. By maintaining plans in a variety of formats and locations, you can ensure they will be available when you need

them, even if your telecommunications network goes down. If managing business communications while transitioning to the new normal of a hybrid workforce feels like a tall order, you might consider outsourcing your document mail distribution services to a secure third party. If you decide to enlist outside services, conduct thorough due diligence for potential vendors. In addition to reviewing their security controls, look for vendors that do SOC 1 and SOC 2 reporting or maintain industry-recognized security certifications, such as PCI DSS and HITRUST. With both ransomware attacks and hybrid work on the rise, keeping your mail center’s cybersecurity up to date can feel like a constant game of catch-up. Creating robust WFH policies, providing security training, and updating your risk management program will ensure your mail center can successfully handle the challenges of a post-pandemic workplace.  Mike Sanders is Director of Information Security

and Systems for DATAMATX, one of the nation’s largest privately held, full-service providers of

printed and electronic billing solutions. Find DATAMATX at



he customer experience, or CX, is one of the hottest topics in business, especially among marketing practitioners. Behavior and demographic data define who the customer is and how they have interacted with the organization. Clearly, a connection exists between how a company collects, manages, and uses customer data and the way customers evaluate their customer experiences. One of the biggest challenges for companies attempting to improve CX comes when they attempt to merge customer data from multiple sources across the enterprise. A sophisticated matching process must compare differences in postal addresses, names, and other information. The software evaluates a customer data record and decides if it should combine it with another. Do this wrong and you’ll mix data from two individuals, creating an embarrassing and costly situation twice as hard to correct as it was to create. 22


What Is the “Customer Experience?” Customer experience is the interaction between an organization and a customer. Customers form opinions and base their long-term buying behavior on these interactions. Customer experience was once the domain of only “direct” contact between customer and company. A phone call with a short wait time and an immediate resolution to a problem is one example. Today, CX encompasses many “indirect” interactions including postal mail, email, texts, website activity, and small parcel shipments. Why the Customer Experience Matters A customer’s interpretation of how your brand or organization values them can make or break a purchasing decision. Does your company use information about past customer interactions to direct future engagements? Do you recognize loyalty? Customers in the digital marketplace can afford to be demanding. A less than stellar

customer experience could damage your brand, but superior CX creates a competitive advantage. Three benefits of a superior customer experience include:  Higher engagement and conversion rates  Better brand perception and loyalty  Success in renewal, cross-sell, and up-sell efforts Show You Care Customer experience excellence is often achieved at the margins where seemingly “little things” can make a large and lasting impression on the customer, both positively and negatively. Bad data creeping into customer interactions can tarnish your brand and degrade CX. Here are three examples. 1. Using the wrong gender in a salutation — While you may encounter unisex names, “Mr. Mary Sally Smith” is probably wrong most of the time. As you work to distinguish genders in your customer base, your gender identification software should assign a confidence score, indicating the probability of its gender assignment in each case. Avoid assigning gender IDs to a customer record with a low confidence score. 2. Postal address inaccuracies — Not only does this look bad when printed, it delays or stops mail and parcel delivery, affecting CX. If you send a letter or a package to “123 Peachtree, Atlanta, GA” it won’t get there. There are 71 streets in Atlanta with variants of “Peachtree” in their name. A complete address includes a directional and/or designator such as

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! ST, AVE, BLVD, S, NW, and so on. Good postal address standardization software will always flag addresses missing details the USPS requires for accurate delivery so you can correct them before mailing or shipping. 3. Sending duplicate mail — Duplicate mail remains one of the most visible problems in postal and email communication. It irritates customers, organizations waste resources fixing it, and marketing is hindered. Customers view non-profits sending duplicate donation requests as wasteful, and the resulting impression of poor management can affect contributions. Common customer data duplication problems occur when customer names differ, depending on the data source. General merge/purge software may not realize that Robert Jones, Bob Jones, and R.T. Jones are one and the same — especially if their mailing addresses are different because Mr. Jones moves frequently. How Data Degrades Customer data degrades at a rate of two percent a month. If you do nothing to keep current, a year from now what you think you know about a quarter of your custom-

ers will be wrong. Fifteen percent of the US population moves each year. Neglecting to use a move update method such as National Change of Address will result in volumes of undelivered mail. The Postal Service also realigns ZIP Codes as population shifts, so sometimes addresses change even if customers do not move. Other data quality issues include name changes, incarceration, and customers who have passed away. The latter is of special concern for others in a household continuing to receive postal and email for a deceased family member. Use suppression lists to purge unwanted customer data from your files. Single 360 Customer View Software tools help you accumulate, review, update, and de-duplicate data from all sources so you can merge them and create a single customer record. This 360° view of the customer consolidates marketing and communication efforts, lowering costs and decreasing customer irritation. By performing continuous data quality measures, customer information remains current, and your company can present each customer with relevant offers. Each

piece of new data increases marketing intelligence. The more a company knows their customers, the better the experience — but only if the data is correct. Gartner estimates that inferior data can cost firms $9.7 million per year. The damage encompasses more than money alone. Bad data and the poor customer experience that results from it creates a tarnished reputation and missed opportunities. The starting point for any CX initiative should be a comprehensive data quality assessment and remediation. An investment in software tools and services that keeps customer data current and customer experience positive is a smart move.  Ken Kucera is the managing principal of Firstlogic Solutions delivering world-class address and data quality software to data-driven companies across the USA. With 38 years of industry experience, Ken leads the team that innovates and delivers address correction, data cleansing, data enhancement, and data matching/consolidation software at Firstlogic. He has been an active member of the National Postal Forum (NPF) and the National Etailing & Mailing Organization of America (NEMOA). Reach Ken at or follow him on LinkedIn. | MARCH-APRIL 2022




Just a few years ago, many marketers were struggling to justify the cost of full-color direct mail. Even with the onset of digital presses, four-color click charges made many projects cost-prohibitive. On top of that, it was nearly impossible to add specialty features like gold, silver, neon colors, or textures at a price that brand owners were willing to pay. Today’s ongoing technological innovations are changing all of that. —KAREN KIMERER

Reality, as we know, is that “life happens” in both our personal lives and in our business lives and worlds. When unexpected things happen (like a once-a-century global pandemic!), we need to be flexible in both our objectives and our related performance measures. — WES FRIESEN

Nothing says “pay attention” like a personalized handwritten note. No one flips past or does not see a handwritten envelope in their mailbox. These stand out from everything else that was delivered. — DAVID WACHS 24



Obviously, America in 2022 isn’t as it was in 1789 — or even in 1989 — and the biggest difference that’s impacted the USPS is changes in communication.



Teaching everyone how to deal with security incidents is only half the battle. To protect your mail center network from the kind of malicious attack that derailed Colonial Pipeline, you also need to perform regular risk assessments and update your incident response and contingency plans. — MIKE SANDERS

Customer data degrades at a rate of two percent a month. If you do nothing to keep current, a year from now what you think you know about a quarter of your customers will be wrong. — KEN KUCERA



Looking for new ideas to improve the quality and impact of your direct mail and customer communications? These 4 companies may have just what you are looking for. Take a moment to look at their inkjet solutions and then give them a call.

With over 30 years of experience in the mailing industry, Kao Collins offers pigment-based process (CMYK) ink formulations, 14 standard color dye-based formulations, and a variety of customized ink solutions for your specific application. We can also color match any Pantone Matching System (PMS) color. | | 513.948.9000

Kirk-Rudy has always been an innovator in using inkjet technology. Their current line-up consists of the NetJet, an HP thermal inkjet cartridge system. The UltraJet is a 2.1” piezo system that boasts increased production and low consumable costs. Their flagship Phoenix is a high speed piezo system capable of printing 4.25” wide image. Their newest 4 color CMYK printer, the FireJet 4C, is an affordable full-color printer with a 12.75” wide print width. Finally, their KolorJet, another 4-color CMYK high speed system, can print 500 envelopes in one minute. | | 770.427.4203

Quadient inkjet products are specifically designed for printing graphics and data onto mail pieces. Envelopes, postcards, mailers, & more. We offer color inkjet printing solutions for fast, high quality output as well as monochrome inkjet for high speed printing, material flexibility, and high volume with great quality. | | | 888.444.7362

RISO, Inc. in Woburn, MA is a provider of high-speed inkjet printers and accessories. Focusing on productivity, cost containment, and versatility, RISO provides compact, high-volume duplicators and printers that outperform much larger, more complex printing processes. RISO’s printers offer fast, affordable cut-sheet inkjet output at speeds of up to 320 IPM. RISO products set the standard for machines with the fastest output, the smallest footprint, and the most cost-effective operation in the industry. | | | 978.777.7377 | MARCH-APRIL 2022



By David Wachs




andwritten notes may seem like a historic memory, but more businesses are turning to them to improve communications with potential and existing customers, business partners, and even employees. While emails are inexpensive and the easiest to send, advances in email filtering programs that send messages directly to promotional folders where recipients are never likely to see them, not to mention digital burnout, render these messages less effective. Text messages and phone calls are effective for appointment reminders, surveys, and communication that needs to be executed with immediate recipient interaction; however, recipients may still ignore them, thinking they are spam. Inflation, supply chain shortages, labor problems: All the challenges businesses are facing today are making every customer even more valuable. But a new study has found that most businesses are failing at communicating with their customers. The



survey, conducted by Full Spectrum Insights on behalf of Handwrytten, found that emails and text messages are, unsurprisingly, the most common way for businesses to communicate with customers but that 45% of customers would feel more valued and be more likely to make repeat purchases if they received a handwritten note. Thirty percent of customers said handwritten notes are the most meaningful way a company could communicate with them and the least annoying, compared with the annoyance of receiving a phone call, email, or text. Nothing says “pay attention” like a personalized handwritten note. No one flips past or does not see a handwritten envelope in their mailbox. These stand out from everything else that was delivered. Recipients wonder what could be inside, and while envelopes that look like bills or advertisements and graphic postcards are set to the side, handwritten envelopes are usually opened immediately. The attention-grabbing nature of a handwrit-

ten envelope provides an instant advantage that even the biggest and most prevalent marketers cannot overcome. Spending hours writing notes by hand can be prohibitive, especially for businesses that have been struggling to hire, so many have started hiring robots to pick up a pen and do the writing instead. Handwritten envelopes have been found to have a 300% greater open rate than standard envelopes. And handwritten marketing has response rates seven to 21 times greater than printed mail, with a return on investment three to seven times greater than print. Some companies have even found that retention rates are 50% higher for customers who receive a handwritten thank you note. As COVID restrictions are lifted, more people return to workplaces, and consumers are leaving home and engaging in the world again, there has never been a more important time for businesses to evaluate their marketing and find ways to capitalize during pandemic recovery. Throughout the pandemic, hardware, software, internet connectivity, and a digital presence were essential for communication and sales. However, all this time spent on devices led to burnout. A study by Deloitte found that “a third of US consumers (32%) say that, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, they have felt overwhelmed by the number of devices and subscriptions they need to manage. This figure — and the feelings of overwhelm — is higher among parents who have minor children at home (43%) and adults who were working from home at the time of data collection (40%).” Handwritten notes can be used in myriad of business operations. Doctors and medical offices use them for patient referrals, appointment reminders, and to thank patients for coming to their visit. Fashion, beauty, pet supply, and other consumer goods companies include handwritten notes in orders thanking customers and often incentivizing them to purchase again with a coupon code. Businesses such as cable companies, landscapers, pest companies, HVAC repair, home improvement, and other service providers will often send handwritten notes to customers in locations where they are looking to increase sales. Handwritten notes are even being used by realtors, sales teams, and business professionals as a networking tool. The power of the pen cannot be denied when one looks at how many different types of businesses can benefit from sending a handwritten note versus an email or printed flyer. The value of sending a handwritten note is enhanced by integrations with CRM systems that automate the process of when to send a note to a customer and what message to include. For example, a vehicle dealership can automate notes to send to customers on the anniversary of their purchase, when they need to make an appointment for maintenance, or on other special occasions like their birthdays. Handwritten notes are not only beneficial for businesses; they can — and are — increasing the mail stream, which is good for mailers and the postal industry alike. As more businesses discover the benefits of sending a handwritten note, especially as email and text message become less effective, the number of pieces sent out each year are expected to increase. Having an efficient and high-tech marketing communication program no longer means sending out an email or text message. Instead, robots penning notes so that businesses can send an old-fashioned handwritten note in the mail could now be the future of communication.  David Wachs is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Handwrytten, a company that is bringing back the lost art of letter writing through scalable, robot-based solutions that write your notes in pen.

Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Keeping your critical communications running so nothing comes between you and your customers • Paul J. DePaoli 203.572.3887 • | MARCH-APRIL 2022





verything you hear on the news seems to touch on how mail is going away and becoming less relevant as a means of communication. So it stands to reason that there may be some confusion about what is actually happening today and where mail will go in the future. Let’s take a look. The USPS breaks mail down into two mail categories: Market Dominant (mailers do not have any other options, such as letters



and flats) and Competitive (Parcels), where they can use other providers, like UPS and FedEx. We are going to focus this article on the Market Dominant mail classes. It is also important to note that the USPS processed 121,605,997 pieces of Market Dominant mail in FY2021, compared to the growing Competitive Parcel segment, which only processed 7,254,759 during that same time period. We are also

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! going to focus on the main mail classes, excluding Periodicals and Retail Package Services. First Class Mail – Single Piece Change in Volume: 1 Year -9.2%, 5 Year -29%, 10 Year -47% If there was one class of mail worthy of the negative press, it would be this category, which is made up of personal and business mail. We are all sending fewer personal letters and paying more bills electronically, and that is making an impact. There are also over 32 million businesses in the United States, and the majority will use the Postal Service at some point. The big issue is the main items that used to be sent have moved to electronic delivery, and this trend will very likely continue.  Invoices/Statements – This is the number one item that is mailed by businesses, and more are moving to email and web presentment. Larger organizations are getting smarter about consolidating or outsourcing this mail and moving to the FirstClass Mail Presort category due to its lower postage rates.  Checks – Many payments are moving to electronic ACH due to the speed and simplicity. Payroll checks and direct deposit statements have been eliminated at most companies, forcing employees to access data on the web.  Marketing Mailings – Many companies used to sit around a table and prepare promotional mailings, but this has been almost eliminated in the office environment. This mail has either converted to email marketing or has been sent to an outsource provider who has the proper equipment and staff to get the mail sent more efficiently at lower postage rates.  Day-to-Day Mail – This is the final category that makes up the miscellaneous items that need to be sent out. This volume will continue to decline as more items are accepted electronically. Future Predictions – Mail volumes will continue to decline at six to nine percent annually. The trends listed above will continue. Mailing Technology – As mail volumes decline, there is less of a need for larger equipment and there will be a continual migration to smaller postage meters and online postage solutions. The transition to work from home due to COVID-19 has pushed online solutions at faster rates. There is also a change in postal compliance, where approximately 70% of the nation’s postage meters will need to be updated by 2024. This will cause more clients to look for online solutions that are flexible and provide better postage discount opportunities. There will be a huge growth in enterprise-based online postage solutions where a company can control the postage spends for all its locations and users no matter where they are located.


First Class Mail Presort Change in Volume: 1 Year -1.8%, 5 Year -11%, 10 Year -20% The presort class is used because it offers postal discounts over the single piece class discussed above. There are two main segments of this mail class.  In-House Produced Mail – Companies will either have automation software in-house that can qualify the mail for this class, or, more commonly, they will use a third-party presort service that will pick up their mail and split the discounts.  Outsourced Mail – Mail is sent to an organization that specializes in mail production to get the piece sent out more efficiently. The slowest declines have been in this segment, with volumes only going down 20% (vs. 47% for single piece) over the last 10 years. The reason for this is there has been a slower than expected | MARCH-APRIL 2022



adoption for accepting bills and statements electronically. Also, specific industries are required to send hardcopy items unless the client accepts electronic substitution. Examples include financial, insurance, healthcare, and government pieces, which make up a huge percentage of this volume. Future Predictions – This space will see similar declines unless there are new laws passed that allow businesses to migrate clients to electronic without consent. There have been different attempts at digital mailboxes, and all have failed and we do not expect any breakthrough technologies over the next five years that would change this. There is new technology that allows smaller mailings to be sent electronically to production facilities to be created in automated workflows. This will further reduce single piece quantities and move volumes to Presort. It will also make it easier for smaller mailings to be sent along with production volumes. Marketing Mail Change in Volume: 1 Year .1%, 5 Year -18%, 10 Year -22% This is the largest single class of mail and is used because it is the least expensive way to send a document. The criteria are that mailings need to be uniform (in other words, everyone is getting the same message) and lack any significant personalization that would require it to be sent at the more expensive First-Class rates. The fact that this is the largest category should not be surprising; when most people open their mailboxes, the majority of items are solicitations and catalogs. Changes in the economy create huge impacts in this category. With the recession in 2009, we saw a 14.8% decline, and when COVID-19 hit in 2020, we saw an 11.9% reduction. When we have these large corrections, people expect volumes to increase in future years, but this has not occurred and the volume resets to the new normal. Over the years, people have expected Marketing Mail to drop off in favor of electronic mediums. This has not happened because of the unique ways mail can get a message to its desired recipient. Digital mediums can all be blocked by spam filters and 30


do-not-subscribe lists. People are not watching commercials on TV thanks to DVRs and subscription streaming services. We do not listen to radio as much due to audio streaming services, and no one wants to be called by solicitors while having dinner. Mail is still a trusted medium where we can get targeted messages and has been proven effective by marketers. Future Predictions – We will see annual declines at similar rates. Mail will become more targeted with smaller volumes and higher levels of segmentation with improved data and analytics. Marketing Mail will become more accessible to small businesses with new web-based submission platforms that will make it easier to create mailings at lower costs. What Does This Mean for Mailers? When you look at business mail, we are seeing a few main themes:  Essential mail is moving electronic, but at a slow rate.  Mail is becoming more efficient, moving away from single piece to other discount mail classes.  Promotional targeted mail is still an effective means to reach clients, but generic content like newsletters and announcements are moving to email.  Technology is moving to the cloud, where mail can be generated either physically with online postage or can be moved to production facilities where it can be sent in the most efficient ways. All these changes are designed to reduce the cost to the mailers and have the messages received in the most efficient manner.  Adam Lewenberg, CMDSS, MDC, President/CEO of Postal Advocate Inc., runs the largest Mail Audit and Recovery firm in the United States and Canada. They manage the biggest shipping & mail equipment fleet in the world and their mission is to help organizations with multi-locations reduce mail and parcel related expenses, recover lost postage funds, and simplify visibility and oversight. Since 2011, they have helped their clients save an average of 58% and over $68 million on equipment, presort, avoidable fees, and lost postage. He can be reached at 617.372.6853 or