Our Fall Seminar Series on Marketing For Small Business has been awesome! We’ve met such great people and gotten to know some fabulous companies! This week’s class covered, The Two Mails: Direct Mail | e-mail. 100% of the attendees submitted a survey and 100% rated the class EXCELLENT! Thank you! See you next week for our Search Engine Optimization class hosted by our partners at Siteboxpro.
The New York Times reports that the compromise spending bill introduced in the House last night requires the USPS to continue Saturday mail delivery. Read more here.
This week is National Postal Customer Council (PCC) week! Our local chapter (HPCC) celebrated with a great event today at the Bayou City Event Center from 10am – 2pm and featured an “all star” line up of speakers, special sessions and a vendor show case.
The conference included a presentation on the USPS Incentives and Promotions for the balance of year and special guest Pritha Mehra spoke about acceptance, payment and delivery using iMB. US Postmaster General, Pat Donahoe addressed all PCC participants nationwide via satellite, and discussed the five-year USPS business plan.
Recently I had the pleasure of hearing our current US Postmaster General & CEO of the US Postal Service, Pat Donahoe, give an update on the state of the Postal Service. He noted that the shrinkage of First-Class Mail is driving the continuing trend of operating losses, and even though the USPS shipping & packages segment is growing, it’s not sufficient to replace the previous First-Class profits. Additional operational cuts, efficiency improvements and legislative action are needed to help shrink the gap between expenses and revenue. $19.7 billion in savings from proposed operations and workforce incentives, along with aggressive benefit changes, are on the table to combat the 79% of the total USPS cost base dedicated to labor today.
$11.1 billion of the proposed savings require legislative action that will give the Postal Service authority to generate new revenue and adapt to changing business conditions.
A key legislative point is allowing the USPS to manage their own health care plan which is facing resistance as people on the hill are concerned that health care costs to all other government employees will significantly rise as a result of the USPS’ departure. Items such as refunding the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) overpayment and controversial 5-day delivery debate are also crucial to the USPS Business Plan financial projections that show a debt-free entity by fiscal year-end, 2017.
Getting the current group in Washington to act on these points will be a challenge to say the least. The economic and structural hurdles that the USPS faces can be cleared with action from Washington. All of our businesses rely on the USPS’ mission to provide secure, reliable and affordable universal delivery services, and our Representatives must stop stonewalling this imperative legislation and take action now.
By Joy Zerbach – Vice President, Marketing
Joy Zerbach, VP
I’m a fan of our current US Postmaster General Pat Donahoe. It’s not often that a USPS ‘guy’ is willing to think out of the box or make bold moves, especially if those moves may be unpopular or painful. I’ve heard some say that he lacks long-term vision. However, Donahoe has some big and immediate problems to solve before he can communicate in detail, what he foresees as the sustainable USPS of the future. I worry that he will grow tired of constant push back from Congress about the most basic, common sense and simplistic changes and surrender his noble fight for reform by resigning.
From L-R Karen DeWolfe (InterlinkOne), USPMG Patrick Donahoe and Joy Z
Rumors are already buzzing in Washington that the 57-year old Donahoe will retire this summer and speculation is that Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman will step into Donahoe’s spot. Let’s hope that Mr. Donahoe keeps the boxing gloves on and continues to fight for the needed changes to our current postal service. He is well-spoken, has the ability to communicate clearly to the masses and he certainly has more patience that I could (ever) hope! He’s also getting the word out to the public and is leading the charge for change. I hope he stays around a while longer!
The US Postal Service Board of Governors met yesterday to discuss the Continuing Resolution recently passed by Congress to fund government operations. Congress included restrictive language as it pertains to 5-Day Delivery which specifically prohibits a new national delivery schedule for mail the US PMG Pat Donahoe wanted to implement the week of August 5, 2013.
The statement released by the Board said; “Although disappointed with this Congressional action, the Board will follow the law and has directed the Postal Service to delay implementation of its new delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule.”
We are already at the start of the second quarter of 2013…that is hard to believe. January has brought our semi-annual BEB Summit meeting where the executives of BEB meet to plan a strategy for the future. We examine where the marketplace is going five-years out, review technology changes that impact our business and conduct a client review to determined how we can better serve our existing clients and where to find new business. Our plan to add a second digital press in the first quarter has already come to pass. Other items for the coming year include expansion and upgrade of our 15,000 square ft facility, Postal Reform and the enhancement to direct mail with online interaction.
This year’s summit was very informative and we look forward to the coming year as we find better ways to serve our clients by planning for the future. Our first ever BEB Calendar has been a big hit with customers and vendors alike! Don’t forget, in addition to the beautiful photos (featuring our great state), we highlighted events unique to Texas and added a QR Code for each month. The QR Code will take you to a landing page that has fun videos or photos specific to the month. We hope you enjoy the interactive experience throughout the year.
January and February brought appointments with our clients as we were invited to conduct our POSTAL 101 class several times. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we’ve managed to keep the presentation down to 30-minutes! We cover the new postal regulations surrounding the FSM (Folded Sel-Mailer), review the new rates and want to expect in Washing with Postal Reform. We’ve created several classes with content geared specifically toward individual companies and provided “cheat sheets” branded with their logos that will allow our customers to distribute the reference materials as their own. Business Extension Bureau “hit the road” in February too. Joy Zehrbach, our VP of Marketing traveled to Florida for the annual AMSP (Association of Marketing Service Providers) Mid-Winter Conference. She participated on a panel discussion covering the emergence of cross media marketing, conducted a round-table on self-promotion and even though she is a newly elected Director on the nation Board, was invited to join the Government Affairs Committee. Our sister company, BEBdata (one of the largest bankruptcy data compilers in the nation) was in Florida last month attending the National Automobile Dealers Association’s annual conference. We mixed and mingled with several of our valued clients and got a chance to meet some new ones too! We are always looking for ways to connect with you clients in a face-to-face manner and we managed close a deal with a new client just a few days after the show. It was a great success and we look forward to participating again next year!
US PMG Patrick Donahoe was a key-note speaker at this year’s National Postal Forum in San Francisco. He (as usual) delivered his message addressing Congressional hurdles with gusto, vision and without fear.
In a written outline of his opening speech, Donahoe noted the current leaders of the USPS are pushing the Congress to enact comprehensive reform legislation and referred to the journey as a long and winding road. He reiterated that the Congress must allow a new USPS business model that will keep mail relevant and affordable and noted that we are starting to see the end of the continued reservation to move on controversial but essential issues such as retiree health benefit obligations, streamlining operations and governance, transference of ownership to the USPS health plan, and 5-Day delivery.
Donahoe went on to say;
We simply must get these issues resolved.
This industry needs clarity.
This industry needs certainty.
It needs Congress to make some decisions and then get out of the way.
(go to about.usps.com/news/national-releases/ for details)
Five-day delivery is not a threat to the direct mail marketing industry. The real hazard is an unhealthy, money losing and restricted US Postal Service.
Online services continue to permeate our day-to-day activities and are responsible for new trends. Over the past two years, letter mail delivery continues to decline while package delivery has increased by 14%. A huge contributor to the decline of letter mail is due to online bill payment while the package delivery increase is predominantly due to online merchandise purchases.
integrated online service is a chief contributor to the resurgence of direct mail marketing. Highly targeted and interactive mail is topping the charts for customer acquisition, client interaction and retention with high returns.
The 5-day delivery plan will result in a projected savings of $2 Billion. That savings coupled with the bold move last year to default on payments to subsidize the future retiree fund (mandated solely on the USPS by Washington) would bring the entity very close to operating in the black or at least at a break even.
Post Offices will remain open, box mail will be available and packages will continue to deliver on Saturday.
The decision to end Saturday delivery could still be stopped by Congress. However, the announcement moves postal reform to the forefront. removing the restrictions surrounding our USPS and returning it to a healthy and profitable state are the only ways we can retain the power direct mail contains to drive online traffic and revenue in the future.
As submitted upon request by Mail Magazine – February 2013
Will Congress move on postal reform now that US PMG Pat Donahoe has announced 5-day delivery? After seeing yesterday’s hearing on solutions to the crisis facing the Postal Service, we’re not so sure. Rural delivery and legality of reduced delivery schedule were hot topics in Washington DC yesterday morning.