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Postmaster General urges marketers not to give up on the US mail service



pr14_018-1It’s logical for online marketers to use email to contact their customers. It’s inexpensive compared to printing and mailing materials and changes can be made on the fly – something you can’t do very well with a direct mail piece.

But Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe wants to remind you all that the US post office is ready and willing to be a part of an integrated marketing campaign. Speaking to the National Postal Forum, he said,

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

One thing the U.S. Postal Service is doing is upgrading their old fashioned image with some trendy promotional tie-ins. Right now through May, Spider-man will be helping deliver the mail. The post office is working with Sony to promote “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ – I don’t know if this is the first campaign of its kind but I can’t think of another like it. Urban mail trucks will be rebranded with the new Spider-man graphics and you can mail your priority packages in Spider-man themed boxes (free from the post office!)

They also created this nifty commercial to drive the point home – Priority Mail and Spider-man share the same traits;  speed, agility and reliability.

The post office is also using the campaign to celebrate the courageous acts of more than 200 postal workers last year.

But let’s put the super hero world aside for a moment and look at how direct mail integrates with online campaigns.

Donahoe says marketers need to work with the post office to. . .

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

We’re talking augmented reality, QR codes and Personalized Uniform Resource Locators (PURLs), which are unique and personalized websites created especially for each recipient of a direct mail or email campaign.

Donahoe says if marketers put more thought into the message, they’ll get an even better response than running just an online campaign alone.

What do you think? Is there a place for printed matter in the online marketer’s arsenal? Or is direct mail a thing of the past?