Snail Mail Still Integral to Marketing Campaigns, Says USPS

    March 18, 2014
    Josh Wolford
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As traditional snail mail marketing campaigns continue to be replaced with email and social media campaigns, the US Postmaster General is trying to let businesses know that the USPS is still a valuable tool to keep in their marketing toolbox–and not just to keep, but to utilize.

“We’re seeing mail being used in some tremendous new ways—especially as part of integrated marketing campaigns,” said Postmaster Patrick R. Donahoe. “All of this is leading to a reappraisal of the role of mail in the marketing mix—and we’re starting to see the beginnings of that reappraisal.”

“Mail is the most effective channel for driving customers to a retail location and for driving customers to websites. You can use mail to launch a video on a smart phone, or to make quick purchases out of a catalog or a flyer. We’re now able to measure and analyze all of these interactions–that’s adding value for senders and causing marketers to give mail a fresh look.”

Of course, Donahoe is referencing QR codes and other integrated multimedia strategies. The remarks come from his Tuesday keynote address at the National Postal Forum.

Donahoe highlights specific goals he has in mind to accelerate the push by marketers to revive their mail campaigns:

Make mail more personally relevant and tailor mail pieces more to an individual; Accelerate the adoption of technologies that make mail more actionable, with emphasis on speeding the customer’s purchasing process; Expand the functionality of mail by embedding technologies and enabling interactions with devices, such as mobile phones and tablets; Invest more in industrywide creativity, such as mail pieces that use color, irregular sizes and novel construction.

It seems that Donahoe wants marketers to accept and integrate new technologies into the snail mail experience while staying true to what makes getting a letter more eternally interesting than getting an email. Of course, he’d probably want me to stop saying “snail mail” as well.

“All of these strategies are focused on creating a more valuable experience for the receiver of mail—making mail more valuable within the marketing mix,” said Donahoe. “That means getting very thoughtful about the receiver of mail and the mail experience.”

The USPS seems to be taking their own advice and at least attempting to spice up mail delivery. They’ve partnered with Sony Pictures for an integrated marketing campaign surrounding The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which will see the USPS deliver in special Spider-Man trucks. They’re also offering limited-edition Spider-Man priority mail flat rate boxes.

“Our industry needs to give all marketers a sense that mail can be used in new ways,” said Donahoe. “We need to drive a better understanding of the value mail brings to integrated marketing campaigns.”

Are you giving snail mail marketing a fresh look?

Image via USPS

  • Inspired Apps, Inc

    With our email boxes filling up with junk mail and much of it getting tossed right away, I see the value of personalized letter being physically mailed to a customer having a great impact.

  • http://www.mmprint.com Giovanni

    This is a bold and exciting move by the USPS.

    I think Direct Mail is here to stay too. With all of the advancements in technology within the printing industry, we will start to see more personalized mail similar to how you get personalized emails now…the USPS knows this and is pushing the envelope (pun intended).

    Let’s just hope it doesn’t get out of hand and we start seeing these types of advertisements on school buses or firetrucks.