Shipping

More Postal Pain-Relieving Tips Offered at DMALI Meeting
April 24, 2007

During its monthly luncheon in Plainview, N.Y., on April 19, the Direct Marketing Association of Long Island (DMALI) focused primarily on the catalog/multichannel business’s issue du jour: postal. Perry Fernandes, general manager of the PSI Group division of Pitney Bowes, and Vito Fortuna, a U.S. Postal Service marketing strategist, provided details on the upcoming postage increase and offered some less-recently-pubicized strategies for marketers to mitigate it. Fernandes offered the following tips to lessen the burden of the increase. * Consolidate mailings or mail streams when possible * Design letter-size pieces to avoid non-machinable surcharges * Change flat size pieces to meet letter size dimensions * Alter parcel size mail

Seven Tips to Stem Losses from Unaccounted Movers
April 10, 2007

Each year, direct mailers lose millions of dollars due to a seemingly uncontrollable problem: unaccounted for movers. The U.S. Postal Service reports that 14.2 percent of Americans move to a new address each year. Of these movers, approximately 10 percent to 20 percent never report their new address to the USPS. The losses add up quickly, even from one mailing. There’s the expense of printing and mailing an undeliverable piece as well as the lost sales from the relocated buyer. For a mailing of 1 million pieces that costs $0.55 each and nets $2.50 in revenue per piece, the losses can total more than

Postal Desperation: A Last Minute Call to Action to Protest the Pending Rate Hike
April 3, 2007

I’m going to interrupt my series on list selects for the issue that’s gotten under just about every cataloger’s skin lately: the pending postage increase. You have until April 12 to make your voice heard by protesting the USPS postal hike. As you may already know the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) is recommending ridiculously high postal increases that could severely damage many catalogers’ businesses.

I urge you before it is too late to make your voice heard! (See below if not clear how to go about doing this.)

The PRC has posted on its Web site a “Notice Of Request For Reconsideration And Order Establishing

Strategy: Should You Remail the Same Prospect Names Within a Season?
April 1, 2007

Remailing the same prospect lists or cooperative database segments in the same season is common. But should you remail the exact same names? This is a frequently asked question, and as you’ll see, the best mailing strategy might not be obvious. When a particular list is mailed, or cooperative database model segment is used, results are tracked by source code. If the results meet a predefined criteria — e.g., incremental breakeven, 20 percent less than incremental breakeven — you want to remail that same list or model. If 10,000 names initially were tested, it would make sense to mail 20,000 names next time, and

Understanding Postal: Biggest Rate Case Threat? Regulatory Changes
April 1, 2007

Usually when we talk about catalogs and postal rate cases, we tend to gloss over the many regulatory details that dictate how new rates will be implemented by the U.S. Postal Service. In many cases, these regulations can have an even greater impact on catalogers than the rates themselves. Regulations can add costs to mail preparation and can detail a host of reasons for not qualifying mail for entry at the most desirable rates. Although some mailers are smart enough to read the rules the USPS proposes as its regulatory implementation plan, many don’t. For some inexplicable reason, they leave attending such details to their

Cataloger Spotlight: Lillian Vernon
April 1, 2007

Having topped out at $287 million nearly six years ago, Lillian Vernon’s sales have been falling ever since; it’s expected to finish out its fiscal year at about $170 million. But the bleeding could stop soon. A public company until 2003, the general mer-chandise cataloger was sold to investment conglomerate Direct Holdings, led by media company Zelnick Media. But despite an aggressive game plan to broaden Lillian Vernon’s reach, Direct Holdings’ initiatives largely backfired. Direct Holdings bailed out in May 2006 and sold Lillian Vernon to investment firm Sun Capital Partners, which installed former Miles Kimball CEO Mike Muoio to turn the company

Postal Matters: NEMOA Town Hall Meeting Brings Out Cost-saving Ideas, Old & New
March 27, 2007

In a jam-packed emergency town hall meeting organized during last week’s NEMOA conference in Cambridge, Mass., to address the impending huge postage increases, catalogers and vendors present tossed out myriad ideas. Some are revolutionary, some revisit past practices, albeit in a modern way. Naturally, not many of them weren’t fully hashed out, but some could have merit for your company, some might be a little obvious (but watch for a new twist), some not so obvious. Take your pick. 1. Find ways to do more co-mailing. Find noncompetitive co-mailing candidates with your printer, pointed out the meeting’s leader, Russ Gaitskill, president of the Garnet Hill

Postal Governors ‘Protest’ Catalog Rates, But Set May 14 for Rate Hike
March 19, 2007

Although the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors today approved most of the rates recommended by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) last month, they asked the Commission to re-think the whopping catalog rates the PRC stunned the industry with, accepting them “under protest.” In making the announcement today in a teleconference, James Miller III, the chairman of the postal governors, said the Board asked that the Commission “reconsider certain issues” regarding Standard Mail flats as well as the First Class nonmachinable surcharge rate and the Priority Mail flat-rate box. Miller tempered any possible enthusiasm of a modification of the catalog rates, warning that the Commission could

Before the Postal Storm Hits...What to Do Now
March 9, 2007

Plenty of mailers got their letters in to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors by the March 8 deadline, some protesting the horrific catalog postal rate increases recommended by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). In fact, I checked with the Governors’ office this morning (March 9), and heard that the office received more than 1,000 letters — though not all necessarily concerning the killer catalog rates. That’s a nice big number indeed, but I’m taking a glass half empty approach to this edition of The Corner View. That is, let’s go on the assumption that these unfair rates will be accepted by

Before the Postal Storm Hits...What to Do Now
March 9, 2007

Plenty of mailers got their letters in to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors by the March 8 deadline, some protesting the horrific catalog postal rate increases recommended by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). In fact, I checked with the Governors’ office this morning (March 9), and heard that the office received more than 1,000 letters — though not all necessarily concerning the killer catalog rates. That’s a nice big number indeed, but I’m taking a glass half empty approach to this edition of The Corner View. That is, let’s go on the assumption that these unfair rates will be accepted by