Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

February 11 2013

What the USPS News Means for Meeting Marketing

By David McMillin, Staff Writer

usps_newsLate last year, I wrote about why your meeting marketing strategy shouldn’t go totally paperless. It’s an approach that deserves revisiting now that the United States Postal Service has announced it will no longer deliver mail on Saturdays beginning in August. While your promotional postcards, registration brochures and other marketing materials will still find their way into mailboxes, they will have one less day each week to do so.

Here’s a look at how the continuing financial struggles of the USPS may impact your meeting marketing in the future.

1)  Postage Costs May Increase.

Can mail continue to be so cheap? Probably not.

“By moving forward with the accelerated cost-cutting actions directed by our Board of Governors, we will continue to become more efficient and come closer to achieving long-term financial stability,” Patrick Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO, USPS, said in a statement.

The USPS may continue to cut costs, but it seems clear that the organization will need to consider raising rates, too. Reaching that goal of long-term financial stability with 46-cent stamps for letters and 33-cent stamps for postcards seems like a real challenge. Be sure to be on the lookout for potential rate increases. While an increase of a few cents may seem small, those adjustments can have a big impact on a mass mailing.

2)   Mailboxes Will Be More Clogged.

A reduction in delivery days translates to overstuffed mailboxes.

In the existing delivery model, your prospective attendees receive an average of 2 direct mail pieces each day. Without Saturday on the schedule, your piece may be competing with more messages. That increase in competition puts extra pressure on your creative team to ensure that direct mail from your organization has a must-read appeal that increases brand recognition.

3) Delivery May Slow Down.

While the Postal Service prides itself on delivering in rain or snow, it’s important to recognize that cost-cutting measures may impact the organization’s ability to deliver your meeting materials on time - - regardless of the weather. As the USPS continues to identify ways to reduce some of its overhead expenses, what used to take a few days may take even longer. Translation: you may want to consider putting those save-the-date postcards in the mail a bit sooner this year.

4) Data is More Valuable Than Ever.

As your marketing strategy continues to leverage direct mail, email, social media and print advertising, it’s crucial that you track how each channel is performing.

“With promotional codes for printed pieces and click rates for online messages, data is your best friend,” Mary Reynolds Kane, director, online marketing, PCMA says. “Meeting marketers can track which subject lines and messages are opened and clicked on and which codes are entered online in the registration process.”

 “Direct mail can be a huge item in your marketing budget, so you have to understand whether those high costs are truly paying off with higher registration numbers,” Reynolds Kane adds.

For tips on how to make direct mail inspire your audience, click here for advice from the USPS.

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