The USPS Might Just Be Onto Something - A Postage Sale!
Last week, word quickly spread that the USPS is looking to offer a "summer sale" on postage for large volume mailers of Standard mail, pending Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approval. Friends and readers, if this is true, I'd have to say that for the first time in my career in direct marketing, the people running the USPS may be thinking like businesspeople and not as a bureaucracy.
Having gotten the following details from a mailing industry source closely involved in the negotiations with the USPS, here's the major takeaway point: The idea is to reduce postage pricing for standard and letter mailers who increase their mail volumes during the third calendar quarter of 2009 (July through September).
The idea for this "mail sale" came through Mailing Industry CEO Council meetings with Postmaster General Jack Potter. Last Friday, the postmaster general convened a smaller group of CEOs from the printing and paper industries to discuss the reactions of mailers surveyed about discounted pricing for incrementally increased volumes above an established baseline. The meeting was very productive, ending with a concept on how to stimulate mail volume during off-peak times.
To qualify for the reduced postage rate, a calculation would be performed to determine the change in a mailer’s applicable USPS volume in two specific time periods, and the variance in the number of pieces mailed between Period A and Period B would be the baseline for determining the minimum required mail volume to qualify for the discount.
Again, the program would apply to all standard mailers and letter mailers of any size — even those who may already have increased their volumes.
The USPS is going to recommend a discount ranging somewhere between 20 percent and 30 percent for this program, but we won’t know the final percentage until the time of the filing. The proposed "test pricing" will be presented to the PRC within the next three weeks. The PRC then has 45 days to rule on the proposal. If it passes, the reduced rates are anticipated to be in effect July 1 through Sept. 30. It's possible, however, that these dates will change before implementation.
There have also been discussions about possibly repeating this "mail sale" pricing in other off-peak times in the future, perhaps in early 2010.
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. You can e-mail him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gilbertdirect, or read his blog at gilbertdirectmarketing.wordpress.com/.
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.