THE BLOG

USPS: New Service May Not Be Beneficial to Marketers or Consumers

09/24/2012 11:36 am ET | Updated Nov 24, 2012

The Challenge: The United States Post Office has introduced a new direct mail service for businesses. But the program could prove to be more detrimental than beneficial.

Earlier this year, the USPS unveiled a new service for direct mailers known as EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail). In an era of declining mail volume, the service was intended to increase use of direct mail. Up to 5000 mail pieces can be distributed to any mail route in America for as low as $ .14 per piece.

How Will This Impact Consumers?

As we reported earlier this year, direct mail is an essential element of any effective multichannel marketing mix. And any service that streamlines the process of creating and distributing mail should theoretically be a good thing. The key word here is "theoretically."

However, it appears that EDDM is a "Spray and Pray" mailing process that saturates entire mailing routes without any targeting and without allowing consumers the chance to opt-in. In addition to this, all EDDM mail is emblazoned with the generic title "Postal Customer" in lieu of actual recipient names.

With so many recent developments in preference-driven marketing, this type of generic mass mailing appears contrary to today's consumer demands. As we've written previously, marketers know that relevance means sending the right message to the right person at the right time. And, today's empowered consumers want messages delivered per their individual media preferences.

Response, revenue, and customer retention don't exist in a vacuum. They're created by enriching customer experiences across the media mix. That will not be achieved by bombarding customers and prospects with junk mail.

KEY TAKEAWAYS FOR MARKETERS

1. Keep long-term objectives in mind.
As tempting as cheap mailings might be, "spray and pray" blasts are a turn-off to consumers. Long-term customer relationships are built through targeted, personalized, and relevant communications. This applies to new customer acquisition and retention.

2. Consider the impact of EDDM on your customer base.
Customer loyalty needs to be nurtured over time. EDDM may "simplify your mailing process", but only per the same convoluted logic that eliminating call centers "helps automate customer service".

3. Don't associate your brand with junk mail.
You work hard to develop your brand equity. Your brand should be used with communications of value. Targeted, personalized, direct mail will enhance your brand. Junk mail will hurt it.

About Ernan Roman Direct Marketing Corp., (ERDM):
ERDM provides Voice of Customer-driven Customer Experience Marketing consulting services for companies such as IBM, MassMutual, QVC, NBC Universal, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Symantec Corp. They have conducted over 9000 hours of in-depth interviews with customers and prospects of these clients to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for a high value customer experience.
Ernan Roman, President, is recognized as an industry pioneer and was recently inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame for creating three transformational methodologies: Integrated Direct Marketing, Opt-in Marketing, and Voice of Customer Relationship Research.
He was also named by Crain's B to B Magazine as one of the "100 most influential people in Business Marketing".
His latest book on marketing best practices is titled, "Voice of the Customer Marketing: A Proven 5-Step Process to Create Customers Who Care, Spend, and Stay." 2010-12-08-ernan.jpg
Ernan is also the author of the widely read blog, "Ernan's Insights on Marketing Best Practices", (www.erdm.com), and author of "Opt-in Marketing" and "Integrated Direct Marketing".
www.erdm.com
ernan@erdm.com