March 1, 2013

Confronting The End of USPS Saturday Delivery

Direct mail list brokers, and everyone engaged in direct marketing, are dealing with the consequences of the USPS proposal to end Saturday mail delivery beginning the first week of August. This is how things stand, and what the changes might mean for you if your business uses direct mail.

You’ve probably heard plenty of criticism of the announcement, but many people believe that these changes are inevitable as the USPS tries to deal with financial losses. Those losses totaled $16 billion in fiscal 2012, with about 70 percent of that related to defaults on prepayments for retiree healthcare. Objections are coming in from direct marketers, rural areas, postal workers and members of Congress. Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.) have written a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe questioning the legal authority of the decision. They cite the authorization process through which lawmakers have traditionally mandated 6-day delivery. Postal officials claim that the fact that the government is now funded through a continuing resolution through March 27 gives them the necessary authority to act.

In any case, cutting off Saturday delivery has been discussed for years and may take effect with little or no delay. The question is how to deal with it. On the one hand, Saturday delivery is valuable. Some businesses prefer to have their mail arrive on the weekend, and advertisers often pay more for ads that will run in weekend issues of publications. On the other hand, the USPS never guaranteed delivery of non-express mail on any specific day. These days, it’s advantageous to use a multi-channel approach whenever possible so direct mail reinforces communications that can be timed more precisely like email and text messages. Any big change like this also makes careful tracking and analysis more important to keep up with new developments.

Let us help you with all your direct marketing list needs. Our knowledgeable staff can help you adapt to industry changes, and we’ve got a giant selection of lists to fit your business. Contact us to learn more.


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