Tag Archives: Business Extension Bureau

Run for Rama Details

WHEN:

Saturday, May 5, 2018

WHERE:

MD Anderson Mays Clinic | 1220 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030

TIME:

6:00AM : Event Opens

6:30AM – 7:00AM : Team BEB Meets for pictures near registration and starting line.  We will have signs so it should be easy to find us

7:30AM : 5K Run/Walk Begins

8:30AM – 9:00AM : Presentation and Award Ceremony

9:00AM – 10:00AM : Post-Race Party

10:00AM : Event Closes

PARKING:

FREE PARKING AT MID CAMPUS GARAGE

7007 BERTNER AVENUE, HOUSTON, TX 77030

PACKET PICK UP:

Starting on Wednesday, May 2 thru Friday, May 4, 2018

From 8:30AM to 5:30PM

AT Business Extension Bureau | 4802 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002

COURSE:

CLICK HERE FOR COURSE MAP

WHAT I NEED TO BRING:

  1. Have race packet in your possession PRIOR to the Saturday event
  2. Pin your bib onto the white & purple Run for Rama T-Shirt
  3. Wear comfortable, loose clothing and walking or running shoes
  4. Wear the Run for Rama T-Shirt with your bib
  5. Arrive between 6:30 and 7am, Saturday, May 5, 2018
  6. FREE PARKING at Mid Campus Garage – 7007 Bertner Avenue
  7. You’ll see all of us near the starting line and registration area (we’ll have signs)
  8. HAVE A GREAT TIME!

DONATE TO THE CAUSE:

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

See You There to Celebrate the Life of Our Rama Moore!

Super Charged Informed Delivery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUPER CHARGED INFORMED DELIVERY

Informed Delivery allows users to see images of their mail in the form of an email.  The USPS is hoping that marketers will Super Charge those images by bringing them to life through interactive Informed Delivery campaigns.   Interactive campaigns allow you to create a custom image that can be linked to a URL within the recipients email.

Each unique set of customized supplemental content is associated with an individual mail campaign.  Multiple campaigns can be conducted at one time for a single mailing. Each campaign is triggered by and mapped to a single Mailer ID (MID) that is used on the mail piece and can be customized to be active during a defined date range.

The USPS is very excited about this program and hope that marketers take advantage of this new digital channel that ties hardcopy mail to digital content. Because multiple people within a single household can sign up; you get an extra bang for your mail as additional digital impressions will be fed to the other  household members when they open their email. So far, the USPS is experiencing high email open rates, up to 72% daily as of March.

Informed Delivery interactive campaigns provide additional benefits, allowing mailers to enhance the presentation of the scanned mail piece images that consumers are already receiving.

It gives the mail recipient or other household members the opportunity to take action immediately on the     mail piece by clicking on a campaign image/website link –regardless of whether or not they retrieve mail from the physical mailbox.

You can coordinate multi-channel campaigns, and collect information on campaign reach and results (e.g., open rates, click-through rates) through data analytics too.

Virtually any mailer can conduct an Informed Delivery campaign if the following criteria are met:

  • Mail pieces must be automation compatible
  • Mail pieces must contain a valid IMb
  • Mailer or MSP must be IMb certified

At this time, there are no fees associated with conducting  an Informed Delivery campaign.

There are a couple of drawbacks to the program though.  Not everybody is jumping on the bandwagon to opt-in yet.  So far, 50,000 users in the Houston metropolitan area have signed up and 12 million have opted-in to the program nationwide.

Also, packages and flats are not available yet; but should be coming online very soon.

The USPS is leading a huge push to get people signed up and are courting marketers across the nation to experiment with this technology.

Ironically, after signing up some people have reported that they have stopped going to the mailbox every day.  Instead they are using the email to determine the priority of the contents and visiting the mailbox less frequently.

A lot of people are really excited about this program and believe it will “deliver” the post office into a healthy state.  At least it is good to see the USPS  heading in the right direction to try and make mail and digital a powerful and sustaining combination.

 

 

The Bureau – Letter from Ron

The first quarter of 2018 has been a wild ride.  The S&P 500 Index looks like a Swiss mountain range with  dramatic ups and downs, and the US Postal Service is focused on some pretty exciting programs that could give a lift to direct mail marketing.  However, at the same time, the USPS is also considering implementing a new rate increase structure that threatens the very livelihood of the industry.  It is as nerve racking as a super fast roller coaster, and makes for exciting times.  Especially because our client base is using direct mail more today than they did 5-years ago.  We continue to see increases in print and mail, and our digital media clients have started to experiment with smaller, very targeted and personalized mailings and getting excellent returns.

A large portion of this issue of The Bureau is dedicated to bringing you up to speed with the latest happenings in Washington surrounding postal topics.  We will define informed Delivery and introduce you to the interactive campaigns available.  We will outline Geo Framing, a cutting edge technology that tracks latitude and longitude from electronic devices and we will highlight IOT, The Internet of Things. 

We have included a schedule of our award winning Marketing for Local Business classes for the balance of 2018.  We have several guest lecturers this year and our previous four series have sold out.  We  update content  prior to each class to keep it fresh and relevant and as a result, I’ve noticed that several of our past graduates have attended classes on multiple occasions.

We are working on an educational series that is dedicated specifically to nonprofits; if you or your staff have an interest, please let us know as we can bring the seminar to you as well.  Click here for more information.

We are joining MD Anderson’s Sprint for Life 5K on May 5, 2018 as we are walking to honor the memory of our beloved Rama Moore who fought and lost a valiant battle with ovarian cancer this past Christmas.  We are trying to raise $1,500 and every dollar counts.  If you would like to donate please go to runforrama.com            Employees and their families from every department within the company will be there.  It will be a great time and is supporting an excellent cause.

We hope that  you find the content of this newsletter informative and helpful, and if you have questions about anything contained within, please don’t  hesitate to contact us.

Thank you for your business and partnership.

 

 

Ron Royall, President

PRC Next Steps

As you have already heard, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has issued a proposed change to the rate setting process that would authorize a series of over -Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases that could sharply increase postal rates over the next five years.  (For details see our blog; The PRC is Threatening Your Livelihood)

March 1, 2018 marked the deadline to receive comments about the proposed changes, and the PRC got plenty.  The comments received had a consistent theme from industry associations, individual mailing companies and direct mail organizations.

The American Mail Alliance represents associations and individual signers that have come together for the sole and limited purpose of showing unanimity in asking the PRC to reconsider its proposed solution.  The AMA is by far, the largest ad hoc group submitting comments.  They criticized the prefunding burden and noted that the PRC was placing too much focus on the financial health of the USPS as impacted by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), stating that most stakeholders in the industry, predictability, rate stability, and transparency have been achieved.  In turn, the group argued that the commission over zealously sought ways to pay the accumulated debts caused by the unnecessary prefunding requirement.

Another rally against the proposed plan came from three groups commenting jointly; (the National Postal Policy Council, Major Mailers Association, and the National Association of Presort Mailers).  They not only argued against the higher prices but questioned whether the PRC has the authority to advance changes to the CPI-based rate setting system.

Other powerhouse organizations that “chimed in” questioning the PRC’s authority to move forward included the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, the American Catalog Mailers Association, the Association for Postal Commerce (PostComm), Idealliance, and the Association of Magazine Media.

So, what’s next?  March 1st marked the first phase of comments; reply comments in which commenters critique each other, are due by the end of the month.

After that, the PRC faces the task of digesting the input it has received and developing responses to comments.  They can produce a revised proposed rule (presumable acknowledging the industry’s concerns); or they can issue a final rule presenting the changes it plans to implement.

A second proposed rule would repeat the comment and, perhaps, reply comment periods, while a final rule would set a timeline on which it would be implemented.

The commission’s deliberations could reasonably take at least sixty days, meaning a revised proposal or a final rule shouldn’t be expected until late May or early June at the earliest, with implementation (under a final rule) sometime later this year. If a second proposed rule were issued, that would add another sixty to ninety days, at least.

Whether a presumed late-2018 rate filing by the USPS would be impacted is unknown at this time but, regardless, nothing will change about how USPS rates are set until the PRC’s rule making is concluded.

Of course, it’s widely anticipated that a law suit in federal court against the PRC’s final rule – no matter what it is – particularly given the opinion of some commenters that the commission lacks the legal authority to do what it’s proposing. If there is litigation, the final outcome is anybody’s guess!  We will keep you posted as this important issue unfolds.

PRC is Threatening Your Livelihood

The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) dictated that the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) conduct a study of the past decade to determine if the current system for regulating rates and classes for Market Dominant Postal Products was achieving its objectives.

Those results were published on December 1, 2017 and the PRC concluded that the current system achieved some of its goals, but overall the system has failed.

The PRC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would give the USPS the authority to raise rates by at least 2% above the CPI for each market dominant rate class for five years.  It also allows for an additional 1% increase if they hit service and productivity standards, and will be required to raise prices for “underwater products” (Periodicals and Nonprofit mailings for example) by a minimum of an additional 2% above the price change authority to move prices toward full-cost coverage over time.  This could drive rate increases for standard letters (officially known as Marketing Mail Letters) up by 27% and flats by more than 40% over the next  five-years.

These proposed changes to the current postage rate ceilings are inflated and threaten the vitality and efficiencies of the postal service and our industry as a whole.

The PRC is an independent agency that has exercised regulatory oversight over the Postal Service since its creation by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970. It is composed of five Commissioners, each of whom is appointed by the President and subject to confirmation by the US Senate, for a term of six years. To ensure bipartisanship, not more than 3 of the Commissioners can belong to the same political party.

The PRC is tasked with ensuring transparency and accountability of the USPS and fostering a vital and efficient universal mail system.  They act as an independent regulator for engaging postal stakeholders to promote a robust mail system through objective regulatory analyses and decisions.  Normally, the PRC does not have the final say when it comes to postage rate increases.  That is for the USPS Board of Governors.  However, this is not a rate case.  This is a 10-year review of the system which the PRC reigns supreme.

The argument that the USPS has accumulated losses of $59.1 billion include the $54.8 billion needed to prefund their already financially healthy retiree health plan; even though no other entity is required to do the same.

The current regulations force the USPS to reduce costs and raise efficiencies which is needed now more than ever as many economists expect inflation to increase.

Thursday, March 1, 2018 marks the end of a 90-day comment period.  There is another 30-day (one month) period allowed for replies to comments before a ruling can be implemented.

We are very active with industry associations and sit on several industry boards.  Together we are  fighting to prevent this travesty from happening.  The industry will continue to stand united and push the USPS to focus on rate increases specifically tied to cost efficiencies only.  We will keep you abreast of the situation as it unfolds.

 

 

 

 

Content Myth No. 5

There is so much content available, you don’t have to always post original content.  Many bloggers will be happy to “guest blog” on your behalf.  Ask a colleague to pen a quick article on something happening in your industry.  Also, feel free to use another person’s blog or article, just be sure to recognize them and be extra courteous by adding a backlink to their article or site.  You will be (pleasantly) surprised at how many people will reciprocate.

Content Myth No. 4

Content marketing is a process that takes time. You can’t expect to see results overnight. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time, and it certainly doesn’t mean it can’t be measured. Use metrics that will help you measure activity. Pay attention to things like page views, downloads, time on site, subscriptions, paid versus organic search traffic, repeat versus new visitors, social likes and shares and cost per lead.

Content marketing is an extremely powerful tool and is an excellent resource for organic SEO. It allows you to develop long-lasting relationships with your clients and prospects and is critical at all stages of your customer journey.