Category Archives: News

The Magic of (USPS) MERLIN is Gone

For over 10-years, the USPS Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup INstrument, also known as MERLIN, has been used by acceptance clerks to test and verify mailings.  When first rolled out, it created quite a stir within industry surrounding measuring mail quality at the point of mail acceptance.

Full-Service mailers have moved to Seamless Acceptance and   enjoy the benefit of standardized acceptance and verification         processes thereby eliminating the need to have mailings tested on MERLIN.

MERLIN is also used to ensure that addresses were updated within 95-days of the mailing date with customer filed COA (Change of Address) orders.  The USPS announced that on January 21, 2018, the method for ensuring compliance with Move Update              requirements will change from the MERLIN Method to a new Census Method.    The new method checks compliance on all mail pieces (unlike MERLIN that verified samplings), and reduces the current 30% threshold to .5%.

This marks the end of the MERLIN era, and the start of greater efficiency in measuring postal compliant mail.

 

The Nonprofit Postal Rate Controversy

The PRC (Postal Regulatory Commission) has been petitioned for approval to amend its method of calculating Standard and Nonprofit (NP) prices.

Since 2000, the 60% rule applies to NP rates.  That means that the average NP revenue per piece should be 60% of the estimated average revenue per piece rate, class-wide.  The USPS wants to revert to using a methodology that was used prior to the passage of postal reform legislation where  regular and ECR (enhanced carrier route) rates are considered subclasses of mail.  The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers alerted members that by reverting to the prior methodology, prices could increase 3.3% to 6.9% over and above other increases that are proposed for implementation in January of 2018.

The PRC Public Representative recognized the potential “rate shock” facing nonprofit mailers, and urged the USPS to apply any corrective price adjustments (over the annual CPI cap increase) over more than two       price-adjustment cycles.

There isn’t a time constraint applicable for the PRC to issue a decision on the matter, and the comment period on the USPS proposal ended on September 18th.  Knowing the possibility of a legal challenge, the PRC may be more deliberate in issuing its ruling than usual.  We’ll keep you posted as this issue unfolds.

*from The Bureau-October 2017 issue

 

George Springer’s All Star Bowling for SAY.ORG

2016-06 George Springer with say.org kidsBEB was in full force for the 2nd annual George Springer’s All Star Bowling Event benefiting SAY.ORG (Stuttering Association for the Young).  All proceeds go to CAMP SAY, a life-changing summer camp for kids & teens who stutter.

2016-06-02 kathy and joy in Houston Style MagazineThis all star event was held at Lucky Strike in downtown Houston and raised over $40K.  It was a great way to raise money for an excellent cause and a chance to see a lot of “Who is Who” of Houston.

2016-06-02 AstrosThis is our 2nd year to volunteer and contribute.

On A ROLL, From The Bureau

2013-03 WE WONWe have been on a roll and are so excited to have been honored six times in the past month!

April brought us an Award of Excellence from the Printing Industries of the Gulf Coast for our bi-monthly newsletter, The Bureau, and two Awards of Merit for our 2012 interactive company holiday cards.  

Our President, Ron Royall, received the President’s Award from the Southwest Chapter of the Association of Marketing Service Providers for his planning, execution and hosting of the annual industry conference held in Houston this year.2013 HERMES GOLD AWARD GRAPHIC FOR PS

In May, our Twitter campaign (@BEB_BOB) wasbob crystal awards honored (twice), with a Gold Hermes from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, (AMCP) and a Crystal Awards Certificate of Excellence from AMA Houston.

AMCP also awarded us with an Honorable Mention for The Bureau.

June brought us the distinguished honor of winning First Place for the National Association of Marketing Service Providers, Ed Sisk Excellence in Education Award for our PRC (Postal Regulation Certification) class; an internal postal training class for sales, client services and operations staff.

We were named in the Houston Business Journal’s 2013 Top Houston Printers for the first time, and were published 3 times in national publications!

It’s our customers and partners who give us the fuel to continue to improve and dive into the new media that is giving direct mail a resurgence.  We are honored to be the recipient of these distinguished awards and thank your for your patronage!

 

August PostScripts Magazine

2013-08 Postscripts - BEB We were thrilled to see that we were included in this month’s National Association of Marketing Service Providers (AMSP) publication, PostScripts!

The August edition features the year’s winners from the Awards of Excellence program.  Each year the AMSP holds a gala, celebrating excellence and innovation in the marketing service provider industry,  Companies across the nation compete within eight categories and are measured by an independent panel of judges.  Winners are revealed and awards distributed during the association’s annual conference in June.

PRC LOGOBEB (Business Extension Bureau) took home the top prize as we accepted a first place win for the Ed Sisk Excellence in Education Award for our internal PRC (Postal Certification Certification) program.  The program’s purpose is to raise competence of postal compliance with our staff.  Required participants include sales, client service representatives, operations managers and company executives.  We encourage all BEB employees to enroll in the class, which is available to staff twice a year.

2012-PRC Kristin with her CertificateRecent graduate Kristin Howell (DP) shows off her framed PRC certificate.  Kristin participated in the inaugural class and scored the highest within her class on the final exam!

The course covers 12 modules and classes are conducted in 10, 90-minute intervals over a period of 8 weeks.  The course is completed after participants pass a 100 question written test, and an 80% accuracy rate must be met to earn a diploma.

PRC CERTIFICATIONCreation and execution of this program has brought a level of postal knowledge confidence throughout the company.  Because the course is comprehensive and participants must make a significant amount of commitment time, we have a high success rate.  Also, we must use the program as a means to recognize and praise our employees.  Certificates are awarded in a ceremonial setting in front of the entire company and each certificate is personalized, framed, and presented by the president of the company (who also earned his certification)!

Graduates overall confidence level and comprehension of postal regulations has increased significantly.  They are able to identify when to ask questions, and are comfortable with how and where to find answers.  Through our increased postal expertise, our clients use us an information source more often, and we’re included earlier in the planning stages of programs.

Calendar QR Code – August

Have you scanned this months calendar QR Code?  The landing page has a link to a funny video of a father-daughter moment amusement park ride that gets colorful to say the least.

Hope you’re having a great summer!

AUGUST QR CALENDAR QR CODE

You can also click here to access the August landing page from the BEB 2013 Calendar!

 

You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby (e-mails)

We studied results reviewing our marketing via e-mail and found some interesting facts.  Our Bankruptcy data and list compilation division, known as BEBdata, has generated 11 e-mail blasts over the past 9 months.  Over that period of time, we’ve reduced bounced a staggering 63.1% and earned an average open rate of 36.7%.  Silverpops, Mail Chimp and Constant Contact report the average opening rate is around 19%.

We also studied a graph comparing the time of day we sent an e-mail blast to the number of opens received.  The results are inconclusive but fascinating none-the-less, and begs the question, “Does the time of day that you send an e-mail matter?”  What do you think?

does the time of day you send an email matter

Multi-channel Marketing that includes e-mail works!

2013-04-03 email last call STATSWe’re compiling date from our marketing efforts to drive attendance to an industry association annual conference held in April.  The campaign included direct mail, e-mail, social media and networking.  The first group of data we are gathering is the e-mail returns.  This e-mail was sent 60-days prior to the event and focused on the golf tournament and offered links to the other aspects of the conference.  We achieved a 27.3% Open Rate, 16.3% click rate, 0.4% opt out and registered 6 people within 24-hours of it being sent.

That’s success!

7% of attendees respond to an e-mail request

2013-04-03 email last callAs we continue to research results from our e-mail portion of the multi-channel marketing campaign for an industry association annual conference, we see that this e-mail is driving people to book their hotel room to ensure they receive the conference discounted rate.  We launched a full attack using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn AND e-mail as the hotel’s cut-off date neared.  This email (left) received a 30% open rate and netted 7 additional room reservations within a 72-hour period.