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.
All of this doesn't bode well for the future of our industry. And don’t even get me started on the subject of “do-not-mail” legislation.
Well, that’s enough rant for one day. I have to send a letter to a friend and just bought a stamp for $5.50 (laugh now, but soon you’ll be paying that to send out your utility payment).
Frankly, I don’t have the answer to this problem. Maybe some of you out there do. Post your comments below, and let's get a discussion going on this.
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing, a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert or you can post a comment here or e-mail him at email@example.com. You can also follow Jim on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gilbertdirect.
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.