Mailing Systems Technology May/June 2019

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MAY - JUNE 2019



Could your choice of envelopes improve




DEPARTMENTS 05 Editor's Note

Data, Data, Everywhere By Amanda Armendariz

06 Real-Life Management

The Power of Positive Teams By Wes Friesen



08 Software Byte

Preparing for the Informed Delivery Promotion By Jeff Peoples

10 Direct Mail Evolution

Proving Direct Mail Attribution: Fact or Fiction? By Brad Kugler

12 Inkjet Info



Mailers have one main goal when it comes to their mail pieces: Get the customer to respond. Your choices in envelopes have more to do with achieving that goal than you may think. By Rob Hanks

18 The Journey of Many Miles Begins with One Step

As we envision the Postal Service of the future, it’s crucial to examine our industry’s role in the overall supply chain.

By Kathleen Siviter

20 Addressing Best Practices: Ensuring Your Data Is Clean and UAA Mail Is Reduced We all know that UAA mail 4

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By Karen Kimerer

14 The Trenches

FEATURES 16 Impactful Envelopes Can Make All the Difference

Handling Objections: It’s About Preparation and Identification!

The Real Cost of Undelivered Mail costs mailers more than they’d like to admit. Here’s how to make sure your data is a help, not a hinderance.

By Mike Porter


By Adam Collinson

22 How Informed Delivery Can Improve Omnichannel Campaigns

Mail works best when combined with other channels, and Informed Delivery can help make your campaigns truly omnichannel.

By Kurt Ruppel

28 It’s a Draw: Postage Meter vs. PC Postage

More and more often, these two options are working together as mailers strive to cut postage costs and improve their operations. By Adam Lewenberg

09 Data Quality 201: Beyond NCOALink® 11 Put Some “Wow!” into Your Direct Mail Envelope 25 Tritek Technologies Celebrates 35 Years 26 What to See at NPF

EDITOR’S NOTE VOLUME 32, ISSUE 3 MAGAZINE STAFF President Chad Griepentrog Publisher Ken Waddell Editor Amanda Armendariz Editorial Director Allison Lloyd Contributing Writers Adam Collinson, Wes Friesen, Rob Hanks, Karen Kimerer, Brad Kugler, Adam Lewenberg, Jeff Peoples, Mike Porter, Kurt Ruppel, Kathleen Siviter Audience Development Manager Rachel Chapman Advertising Ken Waddell 608.235.2212


Design Kelli Cooke RB Publishing Inc. 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 ©2019 by RB Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any correspondence sent to Mailing Systems Technology, RB Publishing Inc. or its staff becomes property of RB Publishing Inc. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of RB Publishing Inc. or Mailing Systems Technology. RB Publishing Inc. and/or Mailing Systems Technology expressly disclaim any liability for the products or services sold or otherwise endorsed by advertisers or authors included in this magazine. MAILING SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY (ISSN 1088-2677) [Volume 32 Issue 3] is published seven times per year (January/February, Annual Industry Buyer’s Guide, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December) by RB Publishing Inc.,PO Box 259098 Madison WI 537259098, 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


he digital revolution has changed our everyday lives, often in ways that were inconceivable even 20 years ago. With these changes have come numerous benefits that have eased our day-to-day workloads in both our personal and professional lives, but that’s not to say there aren’t some drawbacks to this digital age, as well. One noticeable change since the advent of electronic communication channels is that since these efforts can provide immediate tracking results, those in the mail industry may expect physical mail to do the same. Some marketers may even think that mail is no longer as viable a channel, since it can’t provide the instant results of its digital counterparts. But to abandon hard copy mail as a communications effort would be a mistake, as many in our industry valiantly argue (especially when the industry is moving closer and closer to that goal of providing real-time results from physical mail pieces). Mail is consistently proven to be one of the most trusted, most opened, and most acted-upon communications channel, especially when it’s combined with electronic efforts. So, marketers should take advantage of the instant reach that digital communication provides and combine these efforts with physical mail. We have the

data to reach our customers in the most effective way possible; why not use it to our advantage? By drilling down into the data we have on our customers, we can create relevant, personalized, multichannel communication efforts that will trigger higher response rates. Don’t view it as digital vs. physical any longer: Embrace this avalanche of data we now have access to, and utilize it to improve your marketing campaigns, no matter how your message ultimately reaches your customer. A word of caution, however; it doesn’t matter how much data you have if that data isn’t clean and up to date. Be sure you utilize all the tools and best practices at your disposal to ensure your data is accurate. After all, it doesn’t matter how quickly your message reaches an address if your desired customer no longer resides there. I’m looking forward to discussing with our readers all of the issues affecting our industry in Indianapolis this year at the National Postal Forum, so please stop by our booth to say hello. As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology. | MAY-JUNE 2019





ll of us in leadership roles would like our teams to continually perform at a higher and higher level, and positivity plays a large role in this. Recent research by Kim Cameron and his colleagues at the University of Michigan found that teams who institute positive practices achieve significantly higher levels of productivity, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and profitability. This begs the question, how can we develop more positive teams? We don’t need to guess at the answer. From research by Cameron, Jon Gordon, and others, we can learn and apply the steps we need to follow. Provide Positive Leadership. Positivity starts at the top; leaders create a “shadow” and set an example with their words and actions. As leaders, we need to ensure we are happy, emotionally healthy, and positive! Positive psychologist Martin Seligman has developed the PERMA model to highlight the five essential elements we need to be happy, which are: Positive emotion Engagement Relationships (positive) Meaning Accomplishments/achievement We also need to work on our emotional intelligence. It is important to be aware of our own emotions and how they affect other people to avoid passing on these negative emotions to our team. Understand and Apply the “Pygmalion Effect.” In a nutshell, the Pygmalion Effect is a self-fulfilling prophecy where 6

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the performance we expect from an individual (or team) becomes a reality. One of my sayings is, “People tend to live up, or live down, to the expectations placed on them.” Leaders get the performance we expect, so we need to have higher expectations from our teams and build their confidence that they can meet those expectations. Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS, summarizes the approach by counseling, “Treat employees like they will make a difference, and they will.” Create a Positive Culture. Cameron found that workplaces characterized by the following positive and virtuous practices did have positive cultures that helped the team excel: } Caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends. } Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling. } Avoiding blame and forgiving mistakes. } Inspiring one another at work. } Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work. } Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust, and integrity. These practices benefit the company by increasing positive emotions, buffering against negative events, and attracting and bolstering employees, which makes them more loyal and likely to exert their best effort. Remove Obstacles to Positivity. To really boost positivity on our teams, we need to remove things that stand in the way. Dr. Frederick Herzberg and other researchers have found work environments contain

“hygiene” factors that, if not done well, lead to job dissatisfaction. Two key points are 1) not doing well on these hygiene factors will contribute to job dissatisfaction and 2) doing well on these factors will NOT lead to job satisfaction — but will keep motivation neutral. The primary dissatisfiers are company policy and administration; supervision; relationship with supervisor; work conditions; and salary. The key here is to participatively engage with employees and develop policies, practices, and work conditions that are viewed as fair and positive. We may not be contributing much to the satisfaction and motivation of our employees, but we will avoid fueling dissatisfaction and demotivating them. Herzberg also discovered a set of factors that are considered satisfiers or motivators. Assuming the hygiene factors are being satisfactorily met, these factors are what truly inspire and motivate employees. These six major motivators are achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility, advancement, and growth. Encourage Connection Within the Team. Google recently completed a five-year study called Project Aristotle, which revealed the keys to their most productive and inventive teams. Surprisingly, the top teams were not the A-teams composed of their top scientists, but B-teams that contained people not necessarily considered the smartest or most knowledgeable. However, the top-performing teams had the best sense of connection between team members (fostered by interest in teammates’ ideas, empathy, and emotional intelligence) and also a feeling of emotional safety. Team members’ feeling safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other was “far and away the most important dynamic that set successful teams apart.”  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. His book, Your Team Can Soar! has 42 valuable lessons that will inspire you. Wes can be contacted at or at 971.806.0812.




new offering in the United States Postal Service (USPS) 2019 promotion and incentives program is the Informed Delivery Promotion, which runs from September 1 through November 30 of this year. Registration for this promotion starts on July 15, 2019 and runs through the end date of the promotion period. The goal of this promotion is to increase the adoption rate of Informed Delivery by offering a two percent discount on postage to mailers who leverage Informed Delivery to reach their target audience through the Informed Delivery digital channel. Preparation You may be thinking that this promotion is months away, so why do anything about it now? This thinking is misguided; mailers definitely need to be investigating this promotion now, as it involves advance planning of mail pieces and campaigns. Also, if you have not yet submitted an Informed Delivery campaign, you need to become familiar with that process, determine which submission method best meets your needs, and try submitting some campaigns to get some experience under your belt. Campaign Planning Mailers should take a look at their planned mailings for 2019 and determine which mailings may be candidates for Informed Delivery campaigns. From a business mailer perspective, the goal of Informed Delivery is to increase the reach and touchpoints of your physical mail pieces by offering Informed Delivery participants


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the opportunity to interact digitally in their delivery notification emails. To optimize the effectiveness of these campaigns, mailers should carefully plan the design of their mail piece and what web content they want to offer to the recipients. The mail piece design is important, regardless of whether you plan to use the grayscale USPS scanned images of your mail piece or use color replacement images for your campaigns. In either case, pay special attention to how the mail piece will appear to the recipient in their email notifications. The goal is to attract attention and encourage recipients to click through to your digital message. If the addressed side of your mail piece is not particularly attention-getting, you may wish to use a color replacement image, change the design of the addressed side of the piece, or perhaps do both. You will also want to spend some time working on the design of your ride-along image for the campaign. This is the image that the recipient clicks on to access your digital content. Again, this should be designed to grab attention and encourage recipients to click through. You’ll also want to plan ahead for your digital content so you can create new content or modify existing content as appropriate. Consider what the goal of your physical mail piece is and offer the same calls to action in your digital content.

Dip Your Toe in the Water If you have not previously submitted an Informed Delivery campaign, you will want to educate yourself on the process and determine which campaign submission method best suits your needs. For more basic campaigns, using the Informed Delivery portal on the Business Customer Gateway is definitely the easiest method. However, if you have more complex campaigns, such as multiple URLs for different segments of your mailing list, then submitting the campaign to PostalOne! using a Mail.dat file may be more appropriate. Keep in mind that the latter method does require advance testing with the USPS in the Customer Acceptance Testing (CAT) environment of PostalOne! In either case, we encourage you to test some campaigns before the promotion period. This will get you accustomed to the process and work out any kinks before the postage discount is at stake. Keep in mind that USPS resources for campaign assistance may be tied up in the timeframe close to the promotion, so the earlier you start implementing campaigns and getting assistance, the better. Our advice: start with simple campaigns until you become more comfortable with the process and see what your campaign results are. Resources The USPS has many resources available to business mailers to become familiar with Informed Delivery campaigns. The best place to start is the USPS Informed Delivery for Business Mailers website. This site has links to many guides, FAQs, and other valuable resource. You may also contact the USPS at or 1.877.329.7206. Many mail service providers and mailing software providers also provide assistance with submission of Informed Delivery campaigns, so check with your providers to take advantage of this help.  Jeff Peoples is President, Founder, and CEO, Window Book, Inc. He has presented at industry events, GraphExpo, MAILCOM, the National Postal Forum, Postal Customer Council meetings, Harvard Business Expert Forum, and other industry and direct marketing events.

Curious how Informed Delivery could improve the performance of your omnichannel campaign? Turn to page 22 for more information.


unsolicited mail. DMA Suppression identifies those individuals in your list and removes them from the mailing. Not only does suppressing these individuals reduce cost, but it also saves a brand from making a potentially impactful mistake by marketing to people who have already indicated their disinterest.

DATA QUALITY 201: BEYOND NCOALINK® The USPS®’s Move Update standard means all mailers understand the need to keep their address records accurate in order to receive discounted postage rates. For many mailers, remaining Move Update compliant equals running address lists through NCOALink® to match and update addresses on a regular basis. Data quality, however, doesn’t need to end after updating a list with NCOALink. Depending on the purpose of the mailing, it may make sense for a mailer to run a list through additional, industry-sourced services to simultaneously increase delivery rates and improve a campaign’s ROI. Proprietary Change of Address (PCOA) Over 6,500 people move every hour in the United States — and approximately 40% of those movers do not file a Change of Address with the Postal Service. That means that even if a mailer runs a list through NCOALink with each mailing, those recipients will never be reached without additional intervention on the part of the mailer. Put yourself in the mindset of someone who does not file a Change of Address notification. Even if you don’t tell the Postal Service® where you are heading, who might you tell? Likely, you will let your credit card company know,

or your magazine subscriptions, or your utilities providers. Can those address changes be captured by mailers? Enter: PCOA, or Proprietary Change of Address. PCOA leverages a database of those industry sources to capture the moves that have not been captured through NCOALink. A mailer’s list gets compared to that database — which can look back up to 60 months — and for each match the new, standardized address is provided for use in updating the record. Suppression Services Simply updating an address to make sure it’s accurate may not be the only data quality service that can be leveraged during a campaign, however. Depending on the type of mailing, it may be appropriate to suppress recipients. There are different types of suppression that are available to mailers, and each one can be useful on its own, and even more so when they are leveraged in conjunction with one another. DMA Suppression The Direct Marketing Association maintains a Mail Preference Service, where individuals can register to indicate that they do not wish to receive

Deceased Suppression Deceased suppression does exactly what the name implies. By utilizing a database derived from Social Security Administration records, this service looks back 15 years and removes individuals in your lists who have passed away. Beyond those two methods, there are also suppression services available that will identify records that match to common suppression files including Prison Addresses and Business Addresses. Using data quality services beyond NCOALink helps mailers produce better targeted campaigns while saving money by eliminating waste and minimizing risk — all of which have a positive impact on the campaign’s bottom line. BCC Software, the industry leader in postal software and data quality solutions, licenses more data than any other mailing software provider. This means that when you work with BCC Software, you get peace of mind knowing you have access to the most up-to-date data available. For more information about BCC Software and our suite of data quality solutions, visit or call 800.337.0442. 800.337.0442




irect mail, although pretty much considered the most effective form of direct marketing, is still plagued by the age-old question of proving attribution. In other words, people want to know how they can verify that the mail piece did, indeed, work. And this has become an even more common question in today’s digital marketing world, where almost everything is trackable. Yes, there have been personalized URLs (PURLs), landing pages, QR codes, coupon codes, and the like for years. However,there are problems with these things, namely the fact that the user has to do something he or she doesn’t naturally do, such as type in some strange URL landing page, enter some codes when he calls, or go to a specific website. These are barriers and diminish participation. The good news is that attribution can now be easily proven on direct mail. We have all heard rumblings of this, but let’s take a look at exactly what this means for mailers and the industry.


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First of all, attribution is defined as, “to regard as resulting from a specified cause; consider as caused by something indicated.” From that point on, we need to ask ourselves what we are measuring. Are we looking for some kind of conversion? A signup? A purchase? In other words, what is the goal of the piece of mail? From there, we need a way to match the receiver of the mail piece to that measurable goal. This is where the difficulty comes in. In the past, we didn’t know if the person ever got the mail in the first place; however, this has been solved with today’s mail tracking. Most providers can (or should) provide this information to their print clients, at the very least. Then comes the more difficult task of getting the information of who specifically converted. Again, conversion could take several forms, such as someone coming into a store, filling out a form, or specifically buying something. Then (as if that weren’t enough), you throw time into the mix. It could be days, weeks, or even months from the time the mail

went out until that conversion occurred. This really throws a monkey wrench into the attribution tracking. Depending on the conversion being measured, you may need to actually get data back from the client or advertiser weeks or even months after the mailing to prove this conversion. Just trying asking your print clients some 90 days later if they want to share their customer sales list and history with you. Good luck! This right here is the main reason true attribution is not commonplace or widely used, regardless of the ability to actually do it. Many mailers simply view it as too protracted or too invasive. Luckily, some marketing technology vendors have simplified this process for the printer and the client. This is done through a more passive conversion tracking, which is a more simplified conversion for easier and quicker measurement, such as a provable website visit or a simple form that was filled out. That engagement can be easily tracked back to the mailing list and provided in almost real time. The client then takes the last steps to a final conversion more suited to their specific industry or business model (such as driving a sale or purchase). These passive engagements usually take place within hours or maybe days of the mail arrival, which makes them pretty good leads since they took some action from the mail piece. There are technology providers who can provide this attribution piece for the direct mail industry. Just as attribution in the digital world is now commonplace, so will be the case for attribution of direct mail in the near future. 

Brad Kugler is the CEO of DirectMail2.0, a fully integrated marketing solution for the clients of printers/mailers that combines the proven success of direct mail with in-demand features like online advertising and automated campaign tracking. Visit or call 800.956.4129 for more information.


PUT SOME “WOW!” INTO YOUR DIRECT MAIL ENVELOPE If your current direct mail isn’t getting the results you need, maybe your envelope is the culprit. Does it jump out from all those paper envelope look-alikes in your mailbox? Does it make the recipient want to open your envelope? If not, consider something refreshingly different. EnvyPak, based in Marysville, Ohio, manufactures clear mailing envelopes and clear specialty packaging and office

products. We’re trusted and known in the mailing industry for our innovative clear poly direct mail envelopes. EnvyPak has helped create customer success stories using this envelope with big brands in the automotive, banking, IT, and pharma industries. Our clear poly envelopes create “direct mail magic” because their interaction sparks curiosity and conversations — which drives results. Here’s how. Unlike our competitors, our clear

poly envelopes aren’t ordinary plastic sleeves or bags. EnvyPak envelopes are special because they’re sturdy 4.5 mil poly that’s precisely engineered and formatted. Because our poly envelopes are completely clear, the contents can peek through (and even interact) to spark the recipient’s curiosity. And if you’re looking to save money on postage, EnvyPak can help there, too. We are the only supplier of 100% clear poly Automation Letter Rate Envelopes that are approved by the USPS to mail at a letter rate. This means that EnvyPak ALR envelopes can mail at the exact same postage as traditional paper envelopes. Postage is typically reduced over 50%. Ready to start your own direct mail success story? Call 877.835.3052 to speak with EnvyPak or go to




ales objections can be daunting for even the most seasoned salespeople — merely hearing the word “objection” can create a feeling of disapproval or opposition. Objections can come in many forms, and it’s important for all salespeople, regardless of experience or tenure, to properly prepare for them. According to an informal survey of Mailing Systems Technology subscribers that took place in February, the top three objections that print service providers (PSPs) face when selling print are as follows: } “We currently use another vendor.” } “Your price is too high.” } “We don’t have the budget.” If you’re like most salespeople, you probably encounter these types of objections quite a bit. Perhaps even more troubling is that according to the same survey, 91% of respondents noted that they’ve lost business because their sales teams were unable to effectively address the objections they encountered (see Figure 1). When many salespeople hear an objection, their first impulse is often to offer a discount! In fact, 18% of those who responded to InfoTrends’ informal market inquiry shared that they have offered more than 10 discounts in the past 12 months in response to prospects’ objections. In 12

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In the past 12 months, how many jobs/orders have you lost because you/your team were unable to address the client’s objections?

11+ 18% 6-10 18%

0 9%

1-5 55%

Figure 1 N = 11 Respondents Source: Informal Market Outreach from Keypoint Intelligence - InfoTrends

today’s competitive landscape, providing too many discounts can dramatically cut into your profit margins. Discounting also intensifies the effects of commoditization within our industry at large. Responding to Objections So how do you respond to sales objections? Ask yourself — are “tricks or scripts” that guarantee to neutralize your customers’

and prospects’ objections really the best way to approach a business relationship? Although having a script handy to quickly manage customer objections may seem like a great idea on the surface, contrived and canned responses might make you seem disingenuous and inexperienced. The Objection-Handling Process Discounting is clearly not the solution, and relying on an “objection handling script” will quite frequently fall short of addressing the customer’s real concerns or barriers to purchase. Before you can effectively respond to an objection, you must first be able to identify what type of objection you’re dealing with. For the most part, objections will typically fall into one of three categories: Legitimate, Uninformed, or Avoidance. Each of these objection categories will generate a different response, yet the objection-handling process will remain the same in every case. As outlined in Figure 2, salespeople must listen, pause, clarify, solve, and confirm to deal with all objections. Listen While listening to your prospective client’s objection, remind yourself to hear what they’re actually saying instead of thinking about how you’re going to respond. Is the prospect saying they think your solution is great, but they don’t have much need for or interest in what you’re selling? On the other hand, maybe the value of your offering isn’t clear to them. Pause Once you’ve learned about your prospect’s objection, you may be tempted to instantly launch into a rebuttal — but it’s important to take a moment to pause. Have the patience to think clearly about the opposition. Do they have a legitimate concern, or do they simply need more information? Maybe they’re trying to avoid making a decision at all. Once you’ve taken the time to pause and think, you’ll be better positioned to clarify the objection. Clarify Clarifying the objection is important because it gives you the opportunity to demonstrate to your prospect that you’ve listened to what they’ve said and are genuinely interested in their concerns. Defining and clarifying the objection improves impulse control and can help curb the urge to blurt out a well-rehearsed response. During this stage, you can also request

additional details or a more thorough explanation to gain the insight you need to minimize or eliminate their concerns. Solve The next step in effectively managing a sales objection is to solve the problem and seek a resolution. During this step, take the opportunity to educate the prospect and clear up any misunderstandings. Bear in mind that he or she may be misinformed, or even more concerning, might have an incorrect perception of your company based on things they’ve heard from your competitors. By asking a series of well-thought-out questions during this stage, you can help the prospect grasp the importance of your solution and also begin to see your offerings in a more positive light. Confirm The final step in the objection-handling process is to confirm that you’ve addressed and resolved the objection as well as your prospect’s concerns. This stage of the process serves a number of purposes. For starters, it’s the best way to verify that

Figure 2

The Objection-Handling Process

you accurately understood the objection and then gain assurance that you can now move the sales process forward. It also enables you to establish your strength as a sales professional, shows that you care, demonstrates your attention to detail, and highlights your commitment to your customers’ happiness. Once you’ve solved the concern, don’t get so excited that you overlook this crucial step. Achieving Better Results The best approach for managing objections is to anticipate and minimize them before they occur. Focus on the value that your solution delivers and the business problems it can solve, not the mechanics of the job and merely putting ink on paper. To be successful, you must create and follow a sales process

that promotes and supports the advancement of the sale every step of the way and enables repeatable, predictable success. Objections are not something you can avoid; they are a natural part of the sales process. Handling them correctly takes practice, and the process involves active listening, discipline, and patience throughout all of your sales efforts. Transforming your approach to objections may require a bit of work as you break some old habits, but the results can be dramatic. Rather than being tempted to offer a discount on every difficult order, you can overcome objections and foster relationships with satisfied and profitable customers.  Karen Kimerer is Director Industry Services, Keypoint Intelligence — InfoTrends. | MAY-JUNE 2019





veryone has a different idea about the impact of undelivered mail. Most times, the estimates are way too low. The cost of paper, ink, and wasted postage is just the start, so I prefer to look at undelivered mail from a broader perspective. First, let’s define exactly what we mean by undelivered mail. For some, an item transported to the address on the piece counts as delivered, even if the person to whom marketers targeted the communication no longer lives there. That thinking is flawed. If the sender’s objective was getting their piece to random people in a neighborhood, they could use a service like Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) and forget about individual addresses entirely. When data drives direct mail campaigns, marketers compose variable messages on the fly. Documents may vary in offer, language, or appearance, depending on data points like age, income, credit history, or buying patterns. Any piece that fails to reach the person matching the profile is unlikely to generate a response. I’d consider mail like that as undelivered, even though the address data was correct. Next, we should think about what mailers lose when their mail isn’t delivered. With direct marketing, this calculation depends on the average purchase price of the advertised items. Only a fraction 14

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of the mail recipients will buy. For a true estimate of lost opportunity, multiply the number of undelivered pieces by the purchase price and expected conversion rate. That calculation will produce the lost revenue from a particular mailing. If a campaign history exists, use the conversion rate already established. If it’s a new campaign, you can rely on statistics compiled by recognized authorities like the Data and Marketing Association (DMA). In recent studies, the DMA pegged average direct mail conversion rates for prospect mailing lists at 2.9%. House lists converted at 5.1%. But we can’t stop there. Direct mail is a great channel for customer acquisition campaigns, even if the actual sale happens online. To completely understand the impact of undelivered mail, you must factor the revenue a new customer typically creates over time. When the lifetime value of customers not acquired because of undelivered mail is included in a campaign evaluation, it can change the way organizations think about investing in ways to improve the accuracy of their mailing lists. I put together a calculator for estimating the impact of undelivered mail. Input numbers from your own campaigns to see how improved deliverability can affect costs and revenue for you or your clients. You can visit to do the calculations.

Making a Difference Mailers can never guarantee 100% deliverability, but many tools can help you reduce the cost of wasted production and postage while simultaneously increasing sales opportunities for direct mail marketing. By the way, if you’re thinking transactional documents like bills and statements aren’t affected by the same statistics on deliverability, you’re right. The impacts can be even more severe! Mailers still miss out on advertising goods and services via pre-printed inserts and transpromo messaging, and they still waste production expenses and postage. But they also deal with issues like cash flow delays, customer complaints about late fees, and initiating collection actions. Just handling undelivered transactional mail can be expensive. Analysts have estimated each piece of returned mail costs organizations up to $3.00 to research, correct, and remail. In some regulated industries, companies are required to initiate processes to locate individuals whose mail has been returned. Prescribed actions can include contracting with outside vendors to do the work. Organizations must comply with such regulations when attempting to contact beneficiaries of life insurance policies, for example. Move Update You are probably using an approved method to update addresses of mail recipients who have moved. The USPS requires mailers to employ move update measures to qualify for discounted postage. Though Americans are not moving as often as in the past, the US Census says 11% of us moved in 2017. That means close to one percent of your mailing list goes out of date every month. The time between updating your list and mailing your project affects deliverability, costs, and revenue. Some people don’t file a change of address with the US Postal Service, or they’ve moved over 48 months ago and have dropped off the National Change of Address (NCOA) file. Consider augmenting your move update process by subscribing to additional databases compiled by magazine publishers, retailers, and others that may contain records of movers not included in NCOA.

Apartment Append If your list includes apartment-dwellers or businesses, missing apartment and suite numbers can put a dent in your campaign’s ROI. Consider implementing steps to add apartment numbers to your database before mailing. Several data quality vendors offer such services. An additional one or two percent of your material delivered as planned can make a difference in campaign performance. As a bonus, appending apartment numbers before composing variable-data documents helps you accurately identify the recipients. You can target your messages appropriately and improve conversion chances. Deceased/Incarcerated Suppression The response rate for mail sent to dead people is understandably low. While filtering deceased or incarcerated individuals from your list won’t improve revenue, it will lower your production and postage expense and make campaign statistics more favorable. The

impact of deceased or incarcerated suppression has on your project depends on the characteristics of your list, but you may be able to eliminate records with extremely low conversion rates and reduce production expenses by another one to four percent. DPV Delivery Point Validation (DPV) is another way to avoid sending mail that can’t be delivered. The DPV process differs from the Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) processing, which merely validates an address is within a defined range. With DPV, the USPS identifies individual problems such as a missing mail receptacle or a vacant lot. Like deceased/ incarcerated suppression, DPV reduces processing and postage costs, but won’t increase the revenue generated by the campaign. Making better mail means doing everything possible to ensure the people paying for the mail, whether in-house

customers or outside clients, realize the greatest benefit from their investments. Eliminating mail pieces that don’t have a chance of converting is painful when you’re getting paid based on the volume you create. But generating poorly performing mail campaigns will eventually force customers to reduce the number of campaigns or stop using the mail entirely. I recommend my clients become partners in their clients’ success, not just service vendors. Customers can easily replace print and mail companies if their mailing objectives are unmet. Optimizing mail list performance is one way mailing service providers can help customers get better returns on their mailing investments.  Mike Porter at Print/Mail Consultants helps his clients meet the challenges they encounter in document operations. Follow @PMCmike on Twitter, send a connection request on LinkedIn, or contact Mike directly at mporter@ | MAY-JUNE 2019


By Rob Hanks


Mailers have one main goal when it comes to their mail pieces: Get the customer to respond. Your choices in envelopes have more to do with achieving that goal than you may think.


e have all heard the tidbit that people decide to open a mail piece in less than two seconds. So, how do you ensure your envelope is opened while qualifying as an automation-compatible mail piece? Try going outside the standard #10 or 6” x 9” envelope, or using teaser copy, a personalized message, or a specialty coating to change the look and feel of your envelope. Ready? Let’s dive into these elements a bit more. Envelope Size Does Matter! Number 10 and 6” x 9” envelopes are the most common letter-size envelopes used in direct mail, but changing to a different size can help your mail piece stand out in a stack of mail, giving you a higher response rate. 16

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Using a #11, #12, or even a #14 envelope will allow your piece to stick out from the crowd while still providing you with the automated letter rate of postage. An A-10 envelope is 6” x 9.5” inches, giving you an additional ½” in width. The extra ½” allows for a thicker set of inserts and makes it easier for machine inserting. Additionally, using a 6” x 9” or A-10 envelope lets you half-fold 8.5” x 11” inch inserts rather than letter-fold as you would need to do with a #10 envelope. This allows you to place additional inserts into the envelope and still be less than 1/4” in thickness. A mail piece over 1/4” in thickness does not qualify as an automated letter, thereby adding additional postage. Another option is a showcase envelope, where one side of the envelope has an oversized window. A 6” x 9” showcase envelope will have a window size of 4”

x 7 3/8”, allowing you to show an attention-grabbing insert that can have a call to action or personalized message. Showcase window envelopes also come in various sizes, including a #10, a 6” x 9”, a 9” x 12”, and even a 10” x 13”. “A” series envelopes are another option that can give the look of an invitation. These can be purchased with a machineable flap to allow for machine inserting or printed on flat sheets and converted. This gives the look of a personalized or special event mail piece. A-5, A-6, and A-7 are the most common size of invitation style envelopes used. A 4-Bar (baronial) envelope is also commonly used when sending out a gift card in a holder. If you want to make a big statement, try using a larger, flat-size envelope such as a 9” x 12” or a 12” x 15” (the latter is the largest flat-size mail piece allowed by the

United States Postal Service). A flat-size mail piece is perfect for multiple or thick inserts, and you have up to a maximum thickness of 3/4” of an inch. When choosing a letter-size envelope, remember that the aspect ratio (length divided by height) must be between 1.3 and 2.5 in order to qualify as an automated letter-size mail piece. The maximum thickness of a letter is 1/4” and a flat is 3/4”, and the maximum size of a letter-size envelope is 6.125” by 11.5”. TeaserYour Way to Higher Response Rates! Personalizing the outside of your envelope with a teaser line that includes the name

of the addressee allows you an instant connection. Add in a call to action on the outside of your envelope with direct language such as “See Inside,” “Special Offer,” “Limited Time,” or “Important Information — Open Immediately” to give a sense of urgency. Another draw is using human emotion to increase response rates. Direct marketing consultant Denny Hatch identified seven emotional drivers of fear, greed, guilt, anger, exclusivity, salvation, and flattery in his book, The Secrets of Emotional, Hot-Button Copywriting. Using one of these emotions can drive open rates and increase response rates. The backside of an envelope has a lot of real estate for placing graphics and text. Make sure the graphics and text relate to the offer inside the envelope; using a headline or graphic from one of the inserts is one way you can create the relationship. Don’t be afraid to be bold with your headlines. Touch – The Other Sense Marketers Should Be Using! The feel of your mail piece could be the attention grabber needed to get your envelope opened. Using a soft touch coating

will give your piece a velvety feel. Try using a UV gloss for graphics or text on your envelope along with a smooth or textured satin dispersion. This provides the glossy areas a pop of color while giving the rest of the envelope a smooth or textured feel, depending on the dispersion used. Mailing out a piece for a luxury item, such as a car or boat? Look at using a gloss stock with a gloss varnish that will make the pictures jump off the page. If asking for a large donation or sending out your annual report, use a linen paper and give the recipient a textured feel on the mail piece. The techniques discussed here can set your mail piece apart and drive response rates up. Just remember to stay compliant with postal regulations to keep your postage as low as possible.  Rob Hanks is a customer service representative at Suttle-Straus and has more than 24 years in direct mail. Rob is a Certified Mailpiece Design Professional and a Mail Design Professional with the United States Postal Service. Rob also serves as the Industry Co-Chairperson for the Greater Madison Area Postal Customer Council. Rob enjoys the challenges of mail piece design within postal regulations and helping clients save on postage costs. | MAY-JUNE 2019




n the words of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” There is one significant first step that those involved with shaping the vision of the future United States Postal Service need to take… and it has to do with how we look at the “miles” of the USPS’ operations. Let’s think of the main categories of the things the USPS does as if they were independent businesses. For example, there is the “first-mile” business the USPS operates, which includes its retail presence, business mail acceptance, mail collection, etc. Then there is what is often referred to as the USPS’ “middle-mile” business, which includes transportation of mail and parcels between postal facilities, processing/sortation of mail and parcels within postal facilities, etc. The USPS’ “last-mile” business, which many say is its core strength, involves delivery to every address in the US, six to seven days per week, of mail and parcels as well as collection of some items. Now, let’s take the critical step that is often missing in discussions about what the postal system of the future should look like in the US. That step is to broaden our thinking — stop looking at the USPS in isolation and instead look at the USPS as one 18

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piece of a larger, complex, and interdependent supply chain. The USPS Role in the Supply Chain It’s crucial that decision-makers step back and look at the entire industry supply chain and how it could be better optimized with lower costs, better service, improved sustainability, and increased profits. Looking at a few examples of how that could work will help drive home the concept, and for the purposes of this article, let’s look at examples in the “middle mile” of the USPS’ business, though similar opportunities exist in the first- and lastmile business operations. Today, the USPS transports mail and parcels between its facilities, in addition to picking up mail and parcels from customer plants. The USPS is often unable to optimize transportation, ending up with trucks that are less than full. By focusing on only the USPS transportation issues, a set of tactics could be developed that may lead to some improvements, but these won’t do anything to address the transportation challenges of our collective supply chain. The mailing industry has built strong logistics and transportation capabilities around dropship entry of mail and parcels. Industry trucks go to and between postal

facilities — the same facilities the USPS’ transportation moves between. Transportation costs are on the rise for everyone, USPS and industry alike. Driver shortages leading to higher prices, fuel cost increases, and increased demand for transportation mean that everyone’s expenses will continue to go up… yet, if you look at the larger industry supply chain as a whole (including the USPS), there is redundancy, duplication of routes, and less than full truck loads. If one were able to look at a map of the US and see all the transportation routes (USPS and industry) and when trucks were not optimized, the enormous opportunities for better transportation utilization would be clear. And what would happen if we took yet another step back and looked beyond just our mailing industry supply chain, to include other industries utilizing similar transportation/logistics networks? In my imagination, the epitome of this concept is that all industries utilizing truck transportation join together to use the same network, combining loads, optimizing trucks, reducing redundancy, lowering costs, increasing profits, and, at the same time, having a positive impact on sustainability. But for now, we can start with the mailing industry as one supply chain that could work together in this manner.

Reinventing the Concept of Partnership Similar opportunities exist in other parts of the “middle mile” of the USPS’ business. Today, the Postal Service operates hundreds of processing plants around the US. Yet there are thousands of mail service providers (MSPs) established across the US, and they have plants where they perform the same processing operations, often using the same equipment, as the USPS does. If you were to map out this MSP network compared to the USPS processing facility network, you would see considerable duplication in the locations of facilities, transportation between facilities, and capabilities. This MSP network not only has barcoding, sortation, processing, and transportation capabilities — it also represents a strong customer relations and sales force dedicated to keeping end customers using the mail for business purposes. For MSPs, keeping businesses using the mail is not just a sales goal; their livelihood and business existence depend on it. And MSPs have capabilities not yet being explored or fully utilized. For example, MSPs could sort mail differently for the USPS, reducing the number of sorta-

tions the USPS currently must perform in its plants to ready mail for delivery. While this article has focused on just a couple “middle-mile” opportunities within the larger supply chain, there are more, and there are similar types of opportunities in the “first mile” and “last mile” of the supply chain. But we need to step back and look at the larger total supply chain — not just the USPS portion of it — to see the opportunities that abound for public-private partnering or workshare. These solutions could allow us to reduce costs, optimize capabilities, improve service, and ultimately improve the mail user customer experience. In 2017, three of the major industry associations — the National Association of Presort Mailers (NAPM), Idealliance, and the Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) developed and published a 2018-2020 Mail Supply Chain Strategic Plan. These three associations regularly collaborate because they represent the network of US mail service providers, who are key entities within a very large and complex mailing industry supply chain. The total supply chain includes mail owners,

mail and print service providers, software and hardware suppliers, logistics suppliers, and many more types of businesses involved in the processes supporting mailing, as well as the Postal Service. The associations have met with USPS leadership about the collective strategic plan for the supply chain and are having discussions on how to integrate strategies to develop an optimized supply chain. They also plan to meet with those tasked with oversight and strategic direction of the Postal Service to share the message — that the journey of how we collectively look at these business “miles” in the future begins with the single step of broadening our view to encompass the total supply chain.  Kathleen J. Siviter is Asst. Executive Director of the National Association of Presort Mailers (NAPM) as well President of Postal Consulting Services Inc. (PCSi), and she has over 30 years’ experience in the postal industry. She has worked for the U.S. Postal Service, Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), and others, as well as providing consulting services to a diverse set of clients with interest in the postal industry. | MAY-JUNE 2019


Addressing Best Practices: Ensuring Your Data Is Clean and UAA Mail Is Reduced By Adam Collinson


hen it comes to addressing, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that for First-Class Mail, the average amount of Undeliverable-as-Addressed (UAA) mail is 3.7%, and that number jumps to 4.7% for Marketing Mail. Whether you’re mailing two or 20 million pieces per month, that is a lot of undeliverable mail. The good news is that one-third of those pieces likely could have been identified as undeliverable at the time of mailing. This means that by implementing addressing best practices, you can ensure your data is clean prior to mailing, significantly reducing UAA mail in the process. Before I get to these best practices, let me explain what I mean by “clean.” A clean address is one that:  has all necessary elements,  is a valid address,  represents the current address for the intended recipient,  reflects the current representation of that address, and  is correct for your intended business purposes. Best Practices for Postage Discounts vs. Best Practices for Your Business The first and most important thing you can do to ensure that your data is clean is to use the best practices tools and processes that


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allow your mail to qualify for postage discounts. Then, work or suppress the addresses that fail. These best practices tools and processes are:  Coding Accuracy Support System, or CASS (with Delivery Point Validation, or DPV; Locatable Address Conversion System, or LACSLink; and SuiteLink)  National Change of Address system, or NCOALink  Address Change Service (ACS) Use these tools to verify that the address you are using is one that the USPS considers to be the current, valid address for the intended recipient and, therefore, qualifies for postage discounts. Many organizations initially implement address quality best practices primarily to maximize postage discounts, but these same tools and services can provide additional information that lets you optimize your entire business. To do this, you must leverage all the data from (and across) every tool and process to make more intelligent decisions impacting your business operations. Let’s look at an example that is currently getting a lot of talk in the mailing industry. A Valid Address Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Delivered Mail There are addresses that fully validate for postage discounts, meaning, there are no immediate indicators of any deficiencies.

Recipients can file changes of address both into and out of these valid, physical addresses. However, there’s one problem: The USPS does not actually deliver mail to these addresses. And, the Postal Service has been making recent efforts to add over a million more of these records into their database. From a postage discount perspective, sure, you can mail to these addresses. From a business perspective, however, not only do you not mail to these, but you record this physical address and request the correct mailing address to which you then send communications. I have seen cases where as much as one percent of the records fell into this scenario. While these pieces qualify for postage discounts, they are a waste when used in a mailing because they are not deliverable. The bottom line: If you’re only implementing best practices for postage discounts, you’re missing out. You must use all the data from all the tools to ensure your data is clean, reduce your UAA mail, and improve your business operations by deepening customer relationships and reducing risks. Don’t Overlook These Other Scenarios There are many other instances regarding addresses with special characteristics. For example, there are addresses that are valid solely for package delivery, while some addresses have restrictions on who can deliver to them. Identifying these and other special types of addresses and then using the best practices tools (along with additional processes) to find alternate, deliverable addresses for the intended recipient is what enables mailers to make smart business decisions and have return mail rates well under one percent (some under 0.5%). This is what address quality best practices is all about. There are two additional best practices that can reduce UAA mail, but these are often overlooked. The first is one of the biggest missed opportunities: learning from the past. Many of the tools provide indicators of whether a mail piece may be deliverable or not. However, learning from actual mailings as to whether or not an address is valid for mail delivery is often overlooked. Don’t make this mistake. The second practice is failing to revisit prior bad addresses. Just because a name and address was bad, does not mean that it will stay bad. A common example: A person moved and forgot to file a COA with the USPS. By using NCOALink, you can continue to process that address to see if a COA gets filed, in which case you can get the new address and re-establish contact. When it comes to addresses, knowledge is power. The more you know, the smarter decisions you can make for your business — not just your mailing operations. By not implementing address quality best practices, including using all the tools and data available to clean your data and reduce your UAA mail, you may not lose discounts, but you do waste mail production costs and pay additional return mail handling costs. You delay payments, and you lose opportunities to make a sale or promote customer relationships. You increase the risk of fraud and privacy violations, to mention paying fines and penalties. And, worst case, you put your company’s reputation at risk.  Adam Collinson is Director of Research and Development, GrayHair Software. Adam has utilized 6-Sigma processes and techniques for over two decades. In his current role, he uses his experience and knowledge to analyze, research, design, and implement new solutions to meet the needs of the ever-changing mailing industry. He is constantly involved in leading postal initiatives, associations, and workgroups and is a key speaker at such venues as PCC events, the National Postal Forum, and MAILCOM. | MAY-JUNE 2019


By Kurt Ruppel



irect mail has long been the workhorse of direct marketing, but in our mobile-centric world, digital marketing channels often take center stage. Choosing the correct marketing channel for your campaign doesn’t have to be an either/or selection, and, in fact, it shouldn’t be. Integrating direct mail with digital marketing channels can result in a substantial increase in customer response and conversion rates. For example, an insurance


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company saw a 34% lift in conversion rates when integrating direct mail and digital channels compared to a direct mail-only control. That particular organization also saw a 12% decrease in cost per acquisition and a 26% increase in total conversions. With both mail and digital as a part of your omnichannel marketing campaigns, you can generate improved response rates and increase return on marketing investment (ROMI).

What Tools Are Available? There are many ways to integrate digital channels into your next direct mail campaign. The simplest may be printing a Quick Response (QR) barcode on the mail piece. QR codes are easily scanned with a mobile phone and can take mail piece recipients to a personalized landing page that allows them to learn more about your offer and begin the purchase or application process. Mail can also be combined with augmented or virtual reality, which can build

engagement and involvement with the mail piece by allowing the recipient to connect with your brand or offer through a digital interaction. The retailer IKEA has used augmented reality with great success by allowing recipients of its catalogs to scan an image of a furniture item and see how that item would look in their homes using the camera in their smartphones or tablets. To reach the same prospects multiple times via various channels, direct mail can be combined with email campaigns or messages on social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Coordinating campaigns across multiple channels has never been easier. The USPS Informed Visibility platform provides the ability to track mail pieces across the postal processing network, and with GPS-enabled carrier tracking, we can know when our mail pieces reach our recipients’ homes more precisely than ever before. This allows marketers to send an email or post to social media shortly after an offer has been received in the mail. Each of the touches in the different channels reinforces the other touches, adding familiarity and cred-

ibility to your message, thereby driving higher response. Informed Delivery Adds a Mail-Based Option to the Toolbox A newer option for combining a digital interaction with a physical mail piece is marketing programs linked to the Postal Service’s Informed Delivery program. Informed Delivery is a subscription program offered to postal customers that provides them with a daily email (or appbased view) showing what will be in their mailbox that day. This program leverages black and white images pulled from mail processing equipment during sorting to illustrate the daily mailbox content. Marketers can take advantage of the Informed Delivery program by creating a campaign linked to this daily feed. An Informed Delivery marketing campaign consists of providing the Postal Service with a replacement image (optional and usually in color) to use as a substitute for the black and white image pulled from the sorter, a ride-along image with a strong call to action (CTA), and a destination

URL. These elements, along with information about the mailing (including IMb range), will be used by the Postal Service to provide enhanced information about your offer rather than just a scan of the mail piece in the email content. Why Consider Informed Delivery? Mailers should consider Informed Delivery as one of the tools to connect a physical direct mail effort to digital channels for several reasons. One is that you will be connecting to a mail-centric audience. The people who subscribe to Informed Delivery have a strong interest in what is arriving in their mailbox and can be expected to view physical mail as credible and respond accordingly — especially with Informed Delivery making the connection to your offer easy and efficient. Another benefit of Informed Delivery is its ability to attract attention to your offer. Mail pieces with an associated marketing campaign are listed first in the daily email, increasing their visibility to subscribers. In addition, the open rate for the daily email (64.4% in January 2019) is well above | MAY-JUNE 2019


industry averages for other types of email campaigns, and the click-through rate when the email is opened is consistently above six percent, again well above industry standards. Through the end of January 2019, there have been 8,517 Informed Delivery campaigns conducted by 1,589 brands. By the end of February, there were more than 15.5 million registered subscribers, representing an average of more than 9.9% of national deliveries across the United States, and subscribers are being added at a rate of more than 166,000 each week. Oh, and did I mention postage discounts? The Postal Service has a mailing promotion scheduled for September 1 through November 30, targeting use of Informed Delivery (see the Software Byte column on page 8 for more information). Any mailing with an associated Informed Delivery campaign is eligible for a two percent postage discount on the entire mailing! Challenges Using Informed Delivery One item to keep in mind when considering Informed Delivery is the fact that only

about 10% of your recipients are Informed Delivery subscribers, but that percentage is growing daily. In addition, the Postal Service is still building out the Informed Delivery platform. True one-to-one campaigns — in which each recipient receives their own personalized message, which would be the ideal for Informed Delivery — are still under development, but now is a good time to test the possibilities of Informed Delivery. If you see good results now, when your campaign is one of few, think how much better the response will be when it is truly one-to-one. Informed Delivery Best Practices If you choose to try Informed Delivery as a way of linking your physical mail piece to a digital experience, you’ll need to consider best practices to get the most out of this tool. When considering whether to replace the USPS’ black and white image with a color image of your own, be sure the replacement image has a strong tie to the original mail piece. Many mailers use a color image of the mail piece with the

address and postage markings removed, or if they are using a postcard, they use the colorful face of the postcard in place of the address side of the piece. That said, many mailers are seeing success using the black and white image of the mail piece, which provides the recipient with a strong connection with what they’ll see in the mail. The most effective best practice with Informed Delivery is to ensure your ridealong image includes a strong CTA. Just like most marketing best practices, no matter the channel, the stronger the CTA, the better the response. So be sure tell your recipients what you want them to do: “Click here to get 20% savings,” or whatever your best offer is. Be sure to test Informed Delivery as an element of your next omnichannel campaign. You may just find it to be a winner.  Kurt Ruppel, Director Postal Policy and Marketing Communications at IWCO Direct, will be co-presenting more information on Informed Delivery on May 5th at the 2019 National Postal Forum. He can be reached at

ARE YOUR COLLEAGUES MISSING OUT? There are undoubtedly people in your organization who need this information as much as you do. So if they are not already a subscriber, have them sign up for a FREE subscription today! 24

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TRITEK TECHNOLOGIES CELEBRATES 35 YEARS Tritek Technologies, under the direction of its president, founder, and inventor Jim Malatesta, has been evolving and providing unparalleled, field proven mail processing solutions since 1984. Following Tritek’s development of the 88-5 Optical Character Reader, US and European patent offices have awarded the company numerous patents for advanced technologies that make the equipment manufactured by Tritek the best in the industry. This year the company celebrates its 35th anniversary. Throughout its history, Tritek Technologies has designed and custombuilt machines and software to meet the unique application needs and objectives of every customer. Tritek configures machines to fit small areas when necessary and builds expanded designs to accommodate large-scale sorting operations with multi-tier bins. Tritek also offers portable units customers can wheel about the facility. Continuous, Customer-Driven Innovation Tritek is proud of its accomplishments in adaptability. “We work with companies to provide technologies that will enhance the operations they already have in place,” says Malatesta. Knowledge developed from running their own document scanning operation since 1995 enabled Malatesta and his associates to augment their scanning

and optical recognition technology to meet new challenges. Tritek offers solutions that process mail items and documents using proprietary imaging systems that capture images on one or both sides of the material automatically, in a single pass. With Tritek’s solutions, operators are not required to face the material before it is processed. The equipment reads address information in any orientation. One Machine for Everything “One of many features that distinguish us from most other mail processing equipment is our ability to handle a wide variety of mail types,” said Malatesta. A single machine from Tritek can accurately feed, read, and transport letters, flats, magazines, postcards, polywrapped materials, and newspapers. A single machine can process all these different types of mail simultaneously on the same transport. See for a demonstration video. Return Mail, Parcel Handling, and Customizable Sorting Rules Tritek’s return mail processing is an efficient and cost-saving application. Experts estimate the cost to handle and process returned mail at up to $3.00 per piece. Tritek’s return mail solution interfaces with a database

that automatically updates mailing addresses for delivery. Tritek’s Ace Work Station offers companies that send or receive parcels and mail items a way to automate laborintensive processes. This compact unit determines mail or package weight and dimension, looks up addresses, and creates labels with a unique barcode ID for mail delivery tracking. Tritek’s “Rule Editor Software” is a unique, customized database that enables accurate delivery to a mail recipient’s location automatically. Customers can make any adjustments necessary to handle situations such as industry specific abbreviations and acronyms, relocation of employees, mail forwarding, mail tracking, and email delivery. Over the last 35 years, Tritek Technologies has solved mail processing challenges for customers in a wide variety of industries. Tritek’s dedicated and experienced field service technicians and a talented, innovative group of engineers serve Fortune 100 and 500 companies, government organizations (including vote-by-mail), financial corporations, insurance companies, universities, mail presorters, and facility management companies. Tritek is an international enterprise with installations throughout the world.

“The Tritek company continues to expand with new, leading-edge technology and products,” says Jim Malatesta.

To find out how solutions from Tritek Technologies can make your organization more productive, please visit the company website.



Expanded Technology, Personal Support


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BCC Software’s products balance industry compliance with the needs of successful direct communication leaders. We offer the industry’s widest range of solutions — including data enhancement services, postal preparation software, and mailpiece tracking. Working with BCC Software adds a reliable expert to your team, positioning your organization for future growth. BCC Software 800.337.0442

Nothing I Can Do About it


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Unprocessed returned mail stored in a closet somewhere is costing your business way more than you could imagine. “But,” you say, “there’s just no easy way to clean out the closet and recoup all those wasted dollars.” With the Returned Mail Solution from CPT Intelligent Technologies, there is something you can do about it. CPT Intelligent Technologies, Inc. 908.284.0900

Save Money on Certified Mail

OKI’s next-generation ProColor™ C942DP+ Digital Envelope Print System provides the capability to go beyond traditional, full-color printing by integrating white toner technology to deliver cost-effective, color-rich text and graphics for envelopes of any size. Trust OKI’s line of ProColor™ LED envelope printing solutions for your business. OKI Data


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ConfirmDelivery specializes in helping organizations produce their certified mail with an efficient, fast, postage saving program. Our program saves substantial time by eliminating the need to fill out green cards associated with Certified Mail. With our web-based system, you can process one mail piece at a time or a batch of thousands. ConfirmDeliery

Transcend Your Envelope Printing Experience


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OO The Ultimate Mailing Solution 200 TH

Kirk-Rudy will be demonstrating variable data inkjet addressing and inline tabbing. The UltraJet v21 is their newest high speed 2.12” piezo inkjet printing system that produces consistent 600 dpi quality at high speeds. Together inline with their famous KR545D Tabber, which applies tabs to 3 sides of a mail piece in one pass to meet the USPS regulations for self-mailers, you will see Kirk-Rudy is the leader in production mailing equipment. Kirk-Rudy, Inc. 770.427.4203

Firstlogic® Data Quality 10


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SAP® Data Services 4.2


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Firstlogic® Data Quality (DQ) 10 is Firstlogic’s premier U.S. Data Quality platform built on 30-years of proven SAP Postalsoft® address and data quality technology: • FIRSTPREP® > File Analysis & Preparation • ACE® > Address Correction CASS™, NCOALink® & DSF2® • DATARIGHT IQ® > Data Cleansing & Geocoding • MATCH/CONSOLIDATE® > Data Matching & Deduplication • PAF MANAGER® > NCOALink® PAF Management Available as On-Premise/Virtual-Cloud software and Workflow APIs on Windows® & Linux® platforms.

SAP® Data Services 4.2 is SAP’s premier Global Data Quality Management (DQM) and Data Integrator (DI) platform built on 30-years of proven address and data quality technology: • DATA PROFILING > Global Address & Data Quality • ADDRESS CLEANSE > CASS™, NCOALink® & DSF2® • DATA CLEANSE > Data Cleansing & Enhancement • MATCH > Data Matching & Deduplication • INTEGRATION > Extract, Transform & Load (ETL) Available as On-Premise software on Windows®, Linux®, Solaris® & AIX® platforms.

Get Firstlogic’s new eBook on Address Quality at

Get Firstlogic’s new eBook on Address Quality at



Great Performance Through Thick or Thin


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The Digital Mail Revolution

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Print faster than ever before with the Neopost MACH 6 Digital Color Printer. With innovative Memjet® technology, attain the lowest cost per piece and the fastest ROI while producing exceptional full color text and images on a wide range of materials, including media up to 3/8” thick!

Incoming paper mail… It’s costly, cumbersome, and slow. In addition, you have little to no visibility into what your business is actually receiving daily. What if that paperbased mail could be efficiently turned into “Digital Mail”? Come visit OPEX in booth 121 to learn more!

Neopost 888.444.7362

OPEX Corporation


Smart Automated Locker System

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Kern is excited to be exhibiting at NPF and along with the core part of business, the production mail inserting, Kern has brought an automated parcel locker to NPF. Come by the booth for a live demo of the Smart Terminal 24/7 and see why Kern is the “Smart Solution”. Kern

Award-winning Avanti Slingshot® Direct Mail Management

Avanti & BCC software work together for end-to-end automation, saving mailers countless hours. A 2-way integration ties the production data of the order to the mailing list, allowing for seamless communication of the mailing and production requirements for a job -virtually eliminating the need to wait for data processing. Avanti


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More and more often, these two options are working together as mailers strive to cut postage costs and improve their operations. By Adam Lewenberg


wice previously, I have written about the epic battle between postage meters and PC postage, and both times, I concluded that the battle ended in a draw, based on the needs of your organization. So why am I writing on this topic again? It’s simple. Today, we are finding that these two platforms often work together in a complementary manner instead of a competitive one. Let’s explore the advances in technology, the situations in which each solution shines, and how these offerings are used together to optimize your mailing needs. There are several trends that are apparent in the industry today, most notably:  There are new postage savings available using both types of mailing solutions.  There is an increase in USPS parcels and Priority Mail, which is forcing clients to look for automation and cost reductions.  Large-volume mail is being centrally produced wherever possible instead of being 28

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scattered at multiple locations, creating the need for productive mailing solutions.  People need to generate convenience mail from home offices, while travelling, and in small-volume offices that do not always justify having postage meters. Many may be using higher-priced stamps or overnight services even if they are not the optimal solution.  Web access to information has dominated new developments in the mailing solutions market. As of January 27, there is a $.05 savings per letter for using a postage meter or PC postage. This is an increase from $.03 prior, and the significance of this increase lies in the fact that it is a nine percent savings. Based on these figures, mailing systems can pay for themselves if you are doing as little as 300 letters per month. The big difference in rates comes when you want to do any electronic services for Certified, Parcel, or Priority Mail, as this can

reduce costs by up to 55%. As you can see from the chart in Figure 1, PC postage gives you commercial/electronic rates that are lower than those you can get through a postage meter or at the retail counter at the USPS. To combat this, all the mail equipment manufacturers have add-on optional subscription services that will give you the PC postage tools to qualify for these rates. The meter manufacturers may also be able to provide you the details of your parcel and Priority Mail spends to quantify any potential savings prior to signing up. Cost Savings vs. Production PC postage solutions are very reasonable and typically cost between $15-30 per month, while postage meters can range from $20-1,000 per month based on the size and speed. The decision of which system is right for you has a lot to do with your mail volumes and production needs. PC postage will print to sheets of stamps (most common), dedicated label

Figure 1

printers, or directly onto the envelope. In most cases, the labels will need to be peeled off and applied to your envelopes manually. Postage meters, meanwhile, will have the mail pieces be fed through the system at speeds of 18-310 per minute (based on system type), and many meters will also seal the envelope as they are being processed. Larger systems have automatic feeding and internal weighing to streamline production.

We are seeing that those mailers who are spending less than around $400 per month on letter mail must analyze a variety of factors when determining which system is best for them. Larger volumes will typically defer to postage meters with automatic feeding and sealing systems. If users are heavier on packages and Priority Mail, they will lean more toward PC postage, or at least add it as a secondary service connected to their mailing system.

Ease of Use Both types of systems are very easy to use. The bigger item we find is change management. If a location has multiple people that share a current postage meter and everyone walks up to run their own mail, they might find it easier than needing to log in to a PC postage tool and send stamp sheets to their shared printer. If only a few people are responsible for the mail, this is less of an issue. Very few mailers have had issues | MAY-JUNE 2019


providing an easier way to distribute postage funds and control expenses. Postage meters do not have this level of flexibility and require management and infrastructure to maintain larger fleets. New Technology Developments Since we have highlighted the differences in systems, it is important to inform you about the latest technologies that will change the industry as we go forward. All the major developments drive the solutions to the web, as you will see below.

or complaints once they are used to the PC postage system, but there are a few more steps than just walking up to the meter and running it through the feeder.

Postage Meter Constant Connection – The newest meters require network connections to the meter vendors that continually update in real time. This allows for better accounting and visibility to your mailing spends.

Most organizations will need a blended approach regarding which solution makes sense, and it will be determined by the specific location’s mail volume, class of mail processed, number of users, and reporting and visibility requirements. Accounting and Visibility This is where PC postage shines because it tracks every piece of mail to the department, mail class, and user, and all information can be accessed in real time. Low-end postage meters will typically not be able to provide this level of detail, and higher-end systems require additional accounting packages to come close to the same level of visibility. Flexibility and Scalability Because PC postage is web-based, it is easy to expand to all the users in your office or at locations throughout the United States. Home offices and travelling users can share the same system. It’s not uncommon that a company has thousands of locations and users on one platform where everything can be controlled through a central dashboard, 30

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PC Postage Integration – Many newer meter models will have options for PC postage functionality that can be accessed through the user interface on the meter, from a PC connected to your mailing system, or through the web on your local PC. Additional Web-Connected Applications – There is a large expansion in meter tools, such as apps, that can order supplies, place service calls, track packages, and enhance the client experience directly from the mailing system. PC Postage Multi-Carrier – Many of the providers have tools to view, compare, and process packages from UPS and FedEx along with your

current USPS rates. This allows your users to make the best decision on a package by package basis. It is key to note that they have an application program interface (API) direct to the carriers and can display your discounted rates. Web-Based vs. Installed – The newest PC postage tools are accessed through the cloud instead of needing to be downloaded and installed on your local PC. Enterprise Functionality – The biggest growth area has been expanding the platform across a network. Connecting users at offices throughout the US on one consolidated platform makes it easy to control expenses. Inside this enterprise function, these are the newest trends:  Single Sign-On (SSO): Instead of needing to manage the user login rights to the software, this connects directly to your employee directory for automatic rights control. It is now easy to make sure only active staff have access to the tools, and there is no longer a need to manage passwords.  Improved Reporting: There have been huge strides is the visibility tools available through the enterprise space of the market that will make it easy to manage spends. Consumers have never had better options and tools to process and control their mailing expenses, and it can all be done at lower equipment costs and with significant postage discounts. Most organizations will need a blended approach regarding which solution makes sense, and it will be determined by the specific location’s mail volume, class of mail processed, number of users, and reporting and visibility requirements. We are calling the duel between PC postage and postage meters a draw, with the only winner being the client.  Adam Lewenberg, CMDSS, MDC, President of Postal Advocate Inc., runs the largest mail audit and recovery firm in the United States and Canada. They manage the biggest mail equipment fleet in the world and their mission is to help organizations with multiple locations reduce mail related expenses, recover lost postage funds, and simplify visibility and oversight. Since 2013, they have helped their clients save an average of 60% and over $50 million on equipment, presort, avoidable fees, and lost postage. He can be reached at 617.372.6853 or adam.

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