Are the USPS and the Internet Secretly Conspiring to Raise Your Catalog Costs?
If you don’t know it yet, the U.S. Postal Service, that wonderfully efficient government-sanctioned monopoly we all know and “love,” is planning to raise our postal rates again in 2008. Many still are trying to recover from the devastating blow it dealt us in May of this year. Now it wants to hit us again. To me, this is inconceivable and just plain deadly stupid. But then again, that’s what you get when you let big government run commerce.
I’m not here to bash our government, or even the USPS, but we need to scream, not whisper, for the next rate case to be killed.
For crying out loud, let us catch our breath. Does the USPS have a clue just how much work goes into figuring out how to revamp our mail plans? Does the USPS understand it’s driving us to use the Internet more and more (and spend less and less on postagage)? I really believe the postal bean counters do.
And I think there’s a reason behind it to which most of us catalog marketers aren’t privy. Consider this if you will: The federal government doesn’t profit from the USPS; it’s a losing proposition at best — inefficient, lumbering and not much better than the days of the pony express.
But the Internet, with its endless revenue-generating possibilities, is wide open. It’s wildly unregulated and prime “real estate” for our government to swoop in and impose all sorts of use taxes on.
So who wins and who loses? Ultimately we as catalogers lose. We won’t stop all of our catalog efforts. And in many cases we’ll just bite the bullet and figure out ways to absorb the extra postal costs. We’ll also have to move more budget dollars to the Internet.
E-mail, search, affiliate marketing, it’s all tax-ready! E-mail — postal taxes! Search — clickthrough taxes! etc.
And the winner is …?
Well, maybe it’s not the entire government that wins. The Internet was started as a government communications tool, right? And of course, former Vice President Al Gore claims he created the Internet, right?
So, who stands to gain? Draw your own conclusion but …
Note to readers: Of course, you know with this article that my tongue is firmly in cheek (sort of). However, the issue of the USPS and its unintelligible ability to bite the hand that feeds it is the focus of the article. I urge you to get involved. Make your voice heard. If all of us speak up en masse, maybe we can stop the next rate case before it’s too late.
Speak to you next week. Have comments? Post them below!
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing Inc., a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert , or you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.