Nothing is forever, and politicians are using this sentiment to their advantage. As degrees of economic uncertainty and political turmoil continue to fluctuate, the success of candidates vying for control of the White House hinges on platforms advocating change. Currently, direct mail is a key industry particularly affected by change—with no immediate end in sight.
In accordance with The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, the costs of mailing services will be adjusted each May. The price for a one-ounce First-Class stamp will increase from $0.41 to $0.42 on May 12, for instance. Furthermore, within the last year, practices and products such as shape-based pricing and Intelligent Mail barcodes have penetrated the mailing circuits. At first glance, these initiatives may seem cumbersome; however, companies willing to stay knowledgeable are helping both themselves and their clients to obtain a higher ROI.
Birmingham, Alabama-based Mail Enterprises is one company faring well in its quest to assist targeted industries—including nonprofits and publishing companies—with mailer campaigns. “Our clients are still mailing, just doing it smarter,” observed Scott Swedenburg, partner. “The postage increases, environmental concerns and consumer demand have all been drivers for us to help clients become more targeted in their direct marketing efforts.”
Headquartered in Stamford, Conn., Pitney Bowes is finding similar success. Clint Dally, vice president of product line management, document messaging technologies, said, “Postal changes typically drive operational changes, and we provide a consultative service for our customers.” He noted that customers are reevaluating their mailings and, in turn, developing ROI vehicles. If mailing less isn’t an option for marketing strategies, companies will have to change their operational cost structures—consequently opening the door for businesses such as Pitney Bowes, he said.
For example, last year’s introduction of shape-based pricing came with consequences for customers processing flats. In simple terms, the act of processing flats is often “laborious and expensive” for the United States Postal Service (USPS), Dally explained. Therefore, by implementing a system to penalize flats, the USPS aimed to optimize its profitability. In assisting his customers, Dally initially questioned their decision to process flats, only to learn that the reason could be attributed to routine.