5 Tips to Minimize the Impact of USPS Rate Increases
Catalogers can’t afford a postal rate increase of any size in 2009, yet come May the USPS is raising rates at an average of 3.8 percent. This news comes on the heels of Postmaster General Jack Potter's warning that the USPS is staring at a possible $6 billion loss in fiscal year 2009. The USPS’ costs are unmanageable, and it simply doesn’t have enough Flats Sequencing Systems (FSS) equipment available today to generate savings based on automation. Catalogers don't have the luxury to wait for the USPS to pass along the savings generated from the FSS automation.
The Direct Marketing Association is urging the USPS for significant cost cutting that doesn’t stop at a degradation of service, and for the deferral of the increase itself. Beyond that, catalogers still must act now to ensure the viability of their businesses. So here are five ways to help you minimize the effects of any postage increase this year.
1. Maximize carrier route qualification. Carrier route qualified mail remains a highly effective way of minimizing mail costs despite recent disproportionate, USPS-proposed increases. Mailers with larger circulations will find it easier to have a higher percentage of mail qualify for carrier route discounts. Techniques such as add-a-name or co-mailing, however, allow mailers to raise qualification levels.
2. Test personalized URLs (PURLs) and mobile keywords on mailings, ads and package inserts. Do everything possible to engage with customers through all available channels for the sole purpose of broadening the means of communication. Further develop your digital relationship with consumers by using PURLs, or test mobile marketing using mobile keywords on all printed pieces.
Consumer response is traceable; once consumers have responded, you've established a new ability to communicate digitally. For ads or package inserts, where demand appeared lost in the fog of e-commerce, this could be an exciting reversal of what many viewed as a declining opportunity.