To Think, You Rely on Them to Deliver Your Catalogs?
It's no secret by now that Postmaster General John Potter told Congress that in order for the USPS to survive, it needs to switch to a five-day-a-week delivery schedule.
Does anyone else think this is a disaster waiting to happen? And does anyone out there actually believe that five days will be enough for this bloated bureaucracy to survive? What's next, mail one day a week? Mail on alternate Tuesdays? Leap year mail, anyone?
C’mon USPS, what kind of joke are you perpetuating on our industry? We’ve already had to endure ridiculous rate increases way too often.
I wonder if it even gets the fact that it's helped fuel the growth of the Internet, search, e-mail, etc., as it's forced catalogers to use other channels to compensate for their higher mail costs per acquisition? Or how many of you have been forced to cut vital circulation? Every penny more in postage you have to pay affects your break-even point by roughly 2 cents.
Profitable lists become marginal; marginal lists become, well, y'know. What other industry's costs go up 20 percent-plus at a time? How many billions of dollars of revenue did that drive out of the channel?
Does the USPS realize it's driven direct marketers out of business?
Did it ever do any math on how many pure-play e-marketers stayed pure-play because of its idiocy? How many billions of dollars never even entered the mail channel because of that?
And then there are the people — many of them pure-play Internet marketers — who think the mail channel itself is dead. I’ve been doing some market research lately and you'd be surprised with some of my findings. (If you have a LinkedIn account, click here and here for answers to my research questions.)
It seems that back in the day, pure-play brand marketers used to look down on catalogers as direct mail people, their redheaded stepchild (apologies to any redheaded stepchildren out there). Now in a stunning turnaround of events, pure-play Internet marketers see us in the same manner, like we’re dinosaurs and their redheaded stepchildren.
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.